Coming into the league, Kendall Marshall was known as a pass-first point guard. That sentiment has been largely evident during his stint in L.A. thus far.
In his first start with the Lakers, Marshall finished with career highs of 20 points and 15 assists to help L.A. snap a six-game skid with a 110-99 win over Utah on Jan. 3. In the following home game vs. Denver, Marshall registered a new career high with 17 dimes. The 32 assists over his first two starts were most by a Laker since at least 1970-71 when stats were recorded.
“That’s my strength,” Marshall said postgame. “That’s what I try to do – to get guys involved every night.”
Over the next 13 games in January – all starts with Steve Nash (nerve root irritation), Steve Blake (elbow) and Jordan Farmar (hamstring) sidelined – Marshall reached double-digit assists in nine of those contests. That included a five-game stretch of at least 10 points and 10 dimes, a feat duplicated only by Chris Paul and Ty Lawson this season.
For the first five games in February, Marshall came off the bench with Nash assuming the starting role. Still, Marshall posted double-digit assist efforts at Philly (10 in 20 minutes) and vs. Chicago (11). With Nash out vs. Oklahoma City on Thursday, the North Carolina product again tied his career high with 17 helpers. Below is a shot chart of where Marshall set up his teammates, courtesy of NBA.com/stats.
*VIDEO: Watch all of Marshall’s 17 assists.
Should Marshall qualify* among the league leaders, he would rank second in the NBA in assists (9.5), behind only Chris Paul (11.1). Furthermore, per the new SportsVU tracking data, he trails only Paul (25.0) in points created by assist per game (21.5).
*For a player to qualify, a player must be on pace to play 70 games or distribute 400 assists.
Marshall is not only finding teammates, but he’s taking care of the ball. Marshall currently ranks fourth in assist to turnover ratio (3.5) among all guards, behind Paul (4.4), Dallas’s Jose Calderon (3.9) and Milwaukee’s Nate Wolters (3.8).