Five Notes on Kendall Marshall


In his first career NBA start, he registered 13 assists. In his next four starts, he added 10, 14, 15, and 17.

This is not the story of Jason Kidd. This is the story of Kendall Dewan Marshall.

Not the entire story, but the essence.

It is not that he is one-dimensional. It is that one of his dimensions is so overwhelming. Maybe you recall his only professional visit to Milwaukee last season. At one point in the first quarter, he tossed five dimes in five minutes. Bonus points if you can name any of the recipients. That was a sad offensive (pun intended) roster of Lakers.

The Bucks just claimed Marshall off waivers from the Lakers.

Here are five more notes on Marshall.


The basics: He stands 6-4 and 195. (For the sake of comparison, Nate Wolters is 6-4 and 190)

He was the #13 overall draft pick in 2012, one spot in front of John Henson. More on that in a minute.

Last season, he signed with the Lakers, and in his first start with the team went for 20 points and 15 assists. He averaged roughly twice as many minutes (29.0) with the Lakers than he did as a rookie, and he played better as he played more. His efficiency numbers and per-minute numbers improved across the board, helping boost his PER from 7.6 to 12.6. Another increase like that, and we could be in a good place.

Before that, as a rookie with the Suns, he played 48 games (averaging 14.6 minutes), started three times, and spent some time in the D-League, debuting with the Delaware 87ers with a line of 31 points, 10 assists, nine rebounds and two steals.

Marshall is 22 years old, fitting right in among Parker (19), Antetokounmpo (19), Inglis (19), O’Bryant (21), Knight (22), Middleton (22), Wolters (23) and Henson (23).


Speaking of Henson. Back at North Carolina, Marshall played two seasons with Henson. The point man and the post man got along well, and played well. Henson was pleased to hear the news that the Bucks acquired Marshall. This is a fun little part of the story, but it could also be an important little part of the story.

Henson started last season on the threshold. On the threshold of what precisely, we never figured out. But he was close to something. He never got there. Sometimes he was everything. But he only reached 20 points four times. Marshall has a rapport with Henson, and he is a passer who finds open players who don’t even realize they are open.

If you have ever played a team sport, you know how you move off the ball just a little bit differently when you have a teammate that will absolutely get you the ball if you are in the right place, if only for a split-second. Marshall is that guy. He will make everyone more aware because he will find you. Hopefully he will help Henson turn the corner.

Note Three

Marshall is not a scorer. He averaged 8.0 points per game… in college. This is not his thing. But last season, he made a major step toward becoming an efficient (low-volume) scorer.

The biggest part of that progression was shooting threes more often and shooting threes with nice accuracy: 39.9 percent. That was a little better than Dirk Nowitzki and J.J. Redick and Damian Lillard. Again, he won’t take a lot of threes or shots in general, but keep that percentage up near the 40s, and he will be a plus on the court.


Good news for Nick Monroe and people of Milwaukee. There are multiple parts to a story called: Kendall Marshall owns Twitter. It is fun to have good basketball players on your home team and it is fun to have interesting personalities on your home team. Best to have both at once.

Pass Happy

Back to this. So very much of this.

Here was Hoop Speak reflecting on his Tar Heels days:

Of all the basketball statistics which are counted, Kendall Marshall did nothing quite so often as pass the ball to a teammate who scored. Marshall averaged 10.7 assists per 40 minutes, pace adjusted this past season. In the last 11 seasons no collegiate player has entered the NBA with a higher assist average. Marshall averaged 1.56 assists for every field goal attempt this past season, a number that is also unmatched over the past 11 years of brand new NBA players.

Quite simply, Marshall has passed more often, and to greater effect, than any player who has entered the NBA in more than a decade.

Since joining the NBA, it has been much of the same, as the graph above shows.

And something you will notice is that Marshall attempts a lot of what appear to be high-risk, high-reward passes. Yet he still managed to rank fifth in the NBA in assist-to-turnover percentage last season (Chris Paul, Josh McRoberts, Pablo Prigioni, Jose Calderon). Another reason this waiver claim is low-risk, potentially high-reward.


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