Fratello’s Fantasy Pick

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles LakersThe storied, ring-heavy Los Angeles Lakers are not accustomed to losing. And they don’t plan on getting used to it. After 34 contests and a slew of key injuries, the 14-20 Lake Show has been searching for players to come in and add a spark to the struggling squad.

With guards Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Jordan Farmar and Steve Blake all on the shelf with various ailments, GM Mitch Kupchak and coach Mike D’Antoni have been on the lookout for backcourt help.

On December 20th, they signed second-year PG Kendall Marshall. The 6’4” southpaw has played in six games for LA thus far and started two.

This past Friday, in a win at home against Utah, the former Tar Heel went for 20 points, 15 dimes, 6 boards and only a single TO in 41 minutes. Marshall followed up this stat-filled performance on Sunday in a loss at Staples versus Denver with 9 points, 17 assists, 6 boards and 2 steals in 39 minutes of action.

The Virginia native was selected 13th overall in the 2012 Draft after spending just two seasons in Chapel Hill, where he set Carolina’s single-season assist record as well as the ACC’s single-season assist mark.

The 2012 Bob Cousy Award winner and 3rd Team All-American played alongside future NBA ballers Harrsion Barnes, Tyler Zeller, John Henson and Reggie Bullock while in college.

In his bumpy rookie year with Phoenix, Marshall averaged only 3 points and 3 assists in 14.6 mpg. He spent significant time with the Suns’ D-League affiliate before being traded to and then released by the Wizards.

Up until this past week or so, Marshall’s adjustment to the pro game hindered his ability to stay on the court and produce any sort of Fantasy numbers. However, Fantasy GMs looking to add a 1-guard to their rosters should acquire Marshall sooner rather than later as his current situation with the Purple & Gold seems tailor-made for juicy stat lines.

Beyond the Lottery: Kendall Marshall

On March 29th, University of North Carolina sophomore point guard Kendall Marshall announced that he would enter the 2012 NBA Draft. This season Marshall finished second in the country in assists at 9.7 per game. In fact, he broke the UNC single season record for assists this past season as well as the ACC record set in 1988. Marshall was named a third team All-American and won the Bob Cousy Award for the nation’s top point guard.

Marshall played and thrived in the high-octane offense of Roy Williams at Chapel Hill. At 6’4″ he has great size for a 1-guard, can see the entire court at all times and is always looking to reward his teammates for running and cutting. In the 2011-2012 season, Marshall posted an amazing 3.51 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Marshall averaged 33 minutes per game and often played 38+ minutes in tight contests. He had season-highs of 16 dimes (2X), 22 points and 6 steals. In his final six games in Carolina Blue, he scored in double figures and averaged 10.3 apg.

Marshall is the definition of a natural lead-guard, controlling the pace and flow of the game while recognizing where to move the ball and when to take it to the rim himself. Marshall is equally comfortable running the break and setting up in the half court in settled situations. Many commentators noted this year that Marshall was the best long-passer they had ever seen collegiately. He has exceptional handle and rarely if ever over-dribbles.

The pride of Dumfries, Virginia has a level-10 basketball IQ, which enables him to play great one-on-one defense, help-side team D and break up plays as they develop even with his average speed.

Marshall is not a natural scorer and at times looks hesitant to shoot the ball. He definitely needs to improve his offensive output and shooting percentages in order to crack an NBA starting five. However, toward the end of his second season at Carolina, Marshall’s confidence on the offensive end grew as he hit some big shots and refined his repertoire at the rim.

Marshall played with and against multiple future NBA ballers during his two years in the ACC, so transitioning to the professional game should not be a problem for him. Look for a team to scoop him up between spots 15-18 on June 28th.