On December 3rd, the Delaware 87ers, Philadelphia's D-League affiliate, opted to pick up point guard Kendall Marshall off waivers. He seemed like a reclamation project for the team, after a dismal rookie year with the Phoenix Suns ended with him being traded to Washington, then waived, leaving him with few options to keep his NBA dream going.
So Rod Baker and company extended Marshall a hand, and the former UNC point guard used that opportunity to light Delaware on fire for two weeks. In five games with the team he averaged 18.2 points per game, shooting 41.4% from beyond the arc while also dishing out nine assists a game. Those were numbers worthy of another shot in the NBA, and no team seemed like more of a perfect fit than the Sixers, who had Lorenzo Brown keep the meter running as the demoted and promoted enough for six round trips.
But the Sixers stuck with 'Zo (until they cut him in March), and Marshall went on to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers for the rest of the season on December 20th.
The 22-year-old performed admirably in his two-thirds of a season with the Lakers, averaging eight points per game on 40.3% shooting and 39.9% from three (7th best among point guards), as well as nearly nine dimes a contest. He seemed to really turn the corner in his sophomore season, and looked like he'd be a staple of LA's backcourt in 2014-15.
But on Friday, the Lakers were forced to waive Marshall, trying to free up some cap space. When you sign
Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James Nick Young and Jordan Hill, it's no surprise that the money gets a little tight. Los Angeles reportedly has interest in bringing him back if he can clear waivers, but I see no reason he should get past any of those teams, especially Philadelphia.
Not only would it give Mike Levin heart palpatations, but Marshall fits the mold of everything the Sixers are currently trying to build on their roster. They have all the cap space in the world but no apparent willingness to use it on bigger free agents, which is fine because as the way this team is currently formed there's no real reason for them to lock themselves into multi-year deals.
Their criteria for this team seems to be similar to that of last year: young, cheap, and talented enough to where the coaching staff may be able to mold them into a semi-decent player over the course of the next season. That screams a guy like Marshall.
He'd run the second unit behind Michael Carter-Williams really well as a pass first point guard, and could probably play alongside him because of his knack of shooting the three ball. He really excels at getting to the basket, and his big frame makes it easy for him to finish through contact. His on ball defense is poor and he could learn to develop a mid-range game, but this is the type of project player the coaching staff should be dying to get their hands on.
Tony Wroten is great, as well as Casper Ware and Casper Ware's biceps (two different people), but Marshall has the highest pro potential of that group.
Second chances happen all the time in the NBA, and in this case the Sixers have the opportunity to snatch up KButter before he slips through their fingers again. They may be wise to do so.