Bucks claim Kendall Marshall: What it means for his future


Yesterday, 22 year old former Tar Heel guard Kendall Marshall was claimed on waivers by the Milwaukee Bucks, ending his stay with the Lakers.

He went from playing with a former Tar Heel in Ed Davis in L.A. to playing with a former Tar Heel teammate in Milwaukee’s John Henson in a span of just a couple hours. Marc Stein outlines what the Bucks’s plans were in signing Marshall.

Marshall was happy to hear the news.

Marshall will be joining a Bucks team that should be much improved from their 2013-14 campaign in which the team lost 67 games. New coach Jason Kidd has a lot of young talent on the roster, starting with the “Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo. Other youngsters with talent include Larry Sanders, who should be much better from last season as long as he stays off of TMZ’s radar, John Henson, who showed some flashes of becoming an above average two way starter in the league and recent draft pick Jabari Parker, who should be good right away, even though he went to Duke.

Marshall could fit nicely into the Buck’s plan for the future as a distributor from the point guard position. Marshall averaged eight points and 8.8 assists per game last season for the Lakers. Those stats are obviously inflated because the Lakers struggled at times to throw a roster out on to the court that included more than a few quality NBA players, but regardless, KButter5 has some potential. Remember, he was the 13th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. While his career might not have gotten off to the best start so far, he hasn’t played his best basketball yet.

Jason Kidd will be a really good mentor for Marshall, showing him the little things that helped him become successful in the NBA. Like Marshall, Kidd struggled early in his career shooting the triple. In the 1997-98 season as a 24 year old, Kidd shot 31.3 percent from deep. Over time, however, Kidd developed that shot into one of his strengths on the court. In the 2009-10 season with Dallas, Kidd shot a remarkably better 42.5% from three point range. Kidd can show Marshall what he needs to work on and give him the opportunities to be successful in Kidd’s offense.

I’m not yet sure how Kidd will manage minutes for the guards for the 2014-15 season. Brandon Knight and Nate Wolters project as point guard and backup PG, with O.J. Mayo and the Greek Freak as the primary shooting guards. I think Knight fits better as a shooting guard and Antetokounmpo as a small forward, allowing Jabari Parker to play more small ball four. That leaves John Henson and Larry Sanders to man down the center position. Marshall could fit snugly into that starting lineup as a point guard.

His competition for the starting point guard spot doesn’t quite fit the bill. Wolters was serviceable last season, with 7.2 points and 3.2 assists for the Bucks, but he projects at best as a backup PG in the league. New signee Jerryd Bayless is more of a scorer like Knight, as his career high for assists in a season is four in 60 games for Toronto in 2010-11. I just don’t know how good a lineup of Knight, Bayless, Antetokounmpo, Parker and Sanders is- who distributes the ball and who spreads the floor with a reliable three point shot? The Bucks have a lot of interesting pieces, but putting them together into a playoff team in the Eastern Conference will be a tough job for first year coach Jason Kidd.

What it means for Marshall is unclear. Ever since coming into the league, Marshall hasn’t yet found the right fit for his skills. He needs to be on a talented team where he is asked to distribute the basketball to star players and make a big shot every now and then. A Lakers team with a healthy Kobe Bryant might have been one of the better fits for him, but now he finds himself with another fresh start in Milwaukee. John Henson will be a friendly face and the Bucks will offer a lot of minutes and chances for Marshall to play well. I think if Marshall can earn Kidd’s trust, he could develop into the Bucks starting point guard of the future with current young core Parker, Antetokounmpo and Sanders. Remember, he’s only 22.