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Why the Los Angeles Lakers Will Regret Waiving Kendall Marshall

Los Angeles Lakers' Kendall Marshall, right, dribbles the ball past Utah Jazz's Diante Garrett, left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. The Jazz won 96-79. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)
Danny Moloshok/Associated Press
Joseph ZapataContributor IIIJuly 24, 2014

On July 18, the Los Angeles Lakers decided to waive young point guard Kendall Marshall. This came as a surprise to many, and the Lakers will eventually regret their questionable decision.  

In 2013, Marshall averaged eight points and 8.8 assists per game. His most notable stretch came in January, when he collected at least 10 assists and 10 points in five consecutive games.

Adam Wexler, Houston Rockets insider for CSN Houston, tweeted on the subject:

Only 2 NBA players avg'd 8+ assists/gm & made 39% or better on 3's. Steph Curry & Kendall Marshall. One of them got waived today.

AdamWexlerCSN (@awexler) July 18, 2014

Marshall showed glimpses of his passing ability when he was a rookie for the Phoenix Suns. That season, he averaged 7.3 points and 7.3 assists per 36 minutes.  

  

With the acquisition of Jeremy Lin, and Steve Nash on the bench, there was clearly not enough room in La La Land for Marshall. However, a 22-year-old point guard who ranked third in assists per game is not easy to come by.

Nash only played in 15 games last season, and with his inability to stay healthy, the Lakers are going to need a backup behind Lin. Nash is 40 years old and has spent most of his Lakers career hurt.

Lin will most likely become the starting point guard in Los Angeles even though he struggled over his last two seasons with the Houston Rockets. Lin has been inconsistent as a facilitator and perimeter shooter throughout his career. Marshall excelled in both areas at last year.

Of course, there is a chance that Marshall only succeeded because he was in Mike D'Antoni's system, which is known for being fast-paced and allowing point guards to thrive.

Several point guards have excelled in his system over the past decade. Even Raymond Felton averaged nine assists per game when D'Antoni coached the New York Knicks.

It's also worth noting that Lin's best season came while being coached by D'Antoni in New York.

It's possible that Marshall would not have played as well under a new coach, but the Lakers should have given him a chance to prove himself.

At 22 years old, he has plenty of time to develop both physically and mentally. At worst, he's a pure passer who can occasionally score from beyond the arc.

Fortunately for Marshall, ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports the Milwaukee Bucks are set to claim him off waivers:

ESPN sources say Bucks will be clamining Kendall Marshall off waivers as soon as possible, foiling Lakers' plans of re-signing @KButter5

— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 19, 2014

Marshall will now be surrounded by young talent and coached by all-time great Jason Kidd.  The switch to Milwaukee will also allow Marshall to reunite with with former North Carolina teammate John Henson.

Marshall will have the chance to play alongside Jabari Parker, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brandon Knight and O.J. Mayo. This plethora of young talent gives Marshall enough weapons to succeed in his new setting.

While Marshall is in Milwaukee, the Lakers will be trying to spread the ball between three score-first guards: Kobe Bryant, Lin, and Nick Young.

If Marshall continues to improve, the Lakers will forever regret letting him go.

 

Statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.   

Follow me on Twitter: @SupermanJZ

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