Saturday, 4 January 2014
COURTSIDE COLUMN-Marshall's Law
Now tweet this! It's funny how quickly trends change by the minute and social media. I bet you didn't think the hash tag 'Kendall Marshall' would be among the new year resolutions, Miley Cyrus' and other 'first world problems', especially in a positive light. Still, after D'Antoni's 'Marshall Plan' became the sixth Point Guard to start this season for the Lakers and ended up with classic career highs of 20 points and 15 assists in 40 minutes to go along with Pau Gasol's own critical writing off double, double of 23 and 17, the tweets went from mocking how he was starting for the Lakers because they had no on else to unbelievably putting him in the same sentence as Magic Johnson. OK, OK so maybe we need to calm down the Linsanity a little bit, but it is that time of year and when the Lakers needed Kobe or someone to come pack and lift them from a six game bum note, Kendall Marshall played it perfectly against the Utah Jazz.
It's not like the Lakers don't have a wealth of options at the point...when they're healthy that is. Steve Nash is one of the greatest players of all-time, while Steve Blake is one of the leagues best albeit streakiest three-ball shooters and old Laker favorite Jordan Farmar has returned to new form. Still, they're all suiting up on the injured reserve end of the bench along with the return than re-burn of king Kobe who even tried his Earvin 'Magic' hand at playmaking. Great young guns like Nick Young and Jodie Meeks can swing but between the pirouetted free-wheeling play of Young and Meeks shooting space the Lakers needed more options than experiments. This is a team so injury and critic riddled that Pau Gasol has to play through the pain of being cast off and ruled out while even one of the Lakers, healthiest, freshest and best talents of the year professor Xavier Henry is taking a seat.
This is where they need a Marshall and his Mathers like amplifying, noise making play to be a guy who can fill it up like Kendall Gill used to do. The Lakers must have seen something in this D-League star that once graced the cover of SLAM magazine, albeit behind Harrison Barnes and the tar heel blue of a North Carolina jersey. The former 13th pick of an NBA draft coming across an ACC record breaking 311 assist season. How did people pass up on this skillful, Bob Cousy award winning kid? From the Delaware 87ers to the STAPLES Centre, called up to the Lakers post-Christmas hymn-sheet like R.Kelly (first name Ryan) this kid is now gracing every newspaper broadsheet as this number 12 is lifting the crowd like old friend Shannon Brown used to (Marshall along with Brown was traded by Phoenix and then released by Orlando). This one time Sun (who had an uniquely amazing but under-appreciated 37 assists in three games during his terrific tenure) is truly rising like a Phoenix showing us that he shouldn't have been counted out and that you can count on the oft-ignored but critically crucial D-League for player development and perfection. They say the Lakers had no choice but to start him, but after his coming out part gave the sliding, snaking Lakers more than just a ladder what do you think they'll choose and go with now?
"I've got to give all the thanks to my teammates. They did a great job of helping me out, as well as the coaches," says an ever humble man given an outstanding opportunity now earned to everyone's learning. His game did the confidence talking however from luscious lay-ups to quarterbacking assists and even the deepest three to really drive the dolly dagger down. He had it all looking like the hot hand on a computer game with highlight worthy play to go with the substance skill behind the style. How about another soundbite of humility for this cocky unsportsmanlike age? "Everything happens for a reason, so I'm thankful for the position I'm in right now and I want to make the most of it with this team," Special K adds and boy did he make the most. The Lakers are thankful for him now and they have a new reason to stay hopeful after all that's happened. Now they're wondering and taking bets on how many points and assists he'll have next game. The league loves stories like this. In this everyman to superstar Jeremy Lin age everyone is getting carried away but the head-down hard working Marshall and that's why he looks to carry the ball further for some time down the court and line of scrimmage. He's proved himself in one game, now it's truly time for Ken to make his Point. Right now check the spread for K. Butter, smoothly as he goes. TIM DAVID HARVEY.