Kendall Marshall is free.
One of the rare pure passers in the league, the 22-year-old point guard is free from the purgatory known as the Los Angeles Lakers after the team waived him to free up cap space, per the team's Twitter account.
Since being selected with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2012 draft by Phoenix, the North Carolina product has been tossed around and landed in only unfavorable situations.
With the Suns, he was only permitted 14.6 minutes per game before being shipped off to Washington in exchange for the crumbling remains of Emeka Okafor. Three days after the transaction, the Wizards proved impatient with his development and cut him.
After floating around in the D-League with the Delaware 87ers, Marshall landed with Los Angeles and blossomed, to say the least.
There, he was allowed to grow through tough love in what proved to be one of the worst seasons in franchise history. The fact he was able to post sound numbers at such a young age with minimal help around him speaks volumes to his stage of development:
For those counting, Marshall tallied 477 assists on the year—good for No. 10 overall in the league. Every player on the list in front of him appeared in more games.
Suddenly, the kid brought on only to soak up minutes while Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar were injured became a hot commodity on the waiver wire.
According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Milwaukee Bucks were quick to jump on him:
It's a favorable situation, if true. Backup Nate Wolters averaged just 7.2 points and 3.2 assists in 22.6 minutes per game. Even better, Marshall could supplant Brandon Knight, who could move to the 2-guard spot and benefit from his court vision.
Marshall seemed pleased with the report, too, as any point guard would be when pondering the prospects of dishing to players such as Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo—unless he was really playing Bingo:
Regardless, locale is not the primary focus for Marshall.
The focus is the rapid development of his skill set, which was under plenty of criticism when he entered the league, as can be gleaned from this post-draft review of the Suns' selection via Chad Ford of ESPN (subscription required):
I think Marshall will be a solid NBA player. He might be the best passer in the draft, but his lack of lateral quickness might limit him to role player duty in the pros. If Steve Nash stays, he'll be a nice backup. If he leaves, the Suns will still need to find a starting point guard on the free-agent market.
Now maturing as a person and a player after two years in the league and a trip to the developmental scene after franchises prematurely threw in the towel, it's not such a bad thing that Marshall is a pass-first point.
Many considered Marshall's success in Los Angeles something that was not sustainable, but it lasted throughout his tenure. He even scored on 46.5 percent of his drives, per SportVU, making his oft-critiqued jump shot somewhat nullified given his ability to slash and score or find an open teammate.
CSN Houston's Adam Wexler pointed out his obvious potency from behind the arc:
Simply put, a young player made the most of a horrible situation and has since been gifted a chance to land somewhere new and build something for himself as he continues to develop.
Even better, he won't be stuck in a backcourt rotation with Nash and Jeremy Lin.
No matter where Marshall ends up this time around, there is a difference—he'll be desired by that franchise, which will have a plan in place for his skills. In a cultivating environment like that, paired with what we have seen from him in full capacity, the sky is the limit for his young career.
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