The Lakers are in a nice predicament. Not quite the predicament that’ll get them near-term success but surely one that requires the undivided attention of fantasy basketball owners.
Kendall Marshall, a stat-stuffer extraordinaire in the dimes department, has been one of the elite waiver wire options of the season, repeatedly averaging assists in the double-digits while shooting the three-ball, rebounding moderately well, and adding a nice heap of points. But he’s not quite the on-court presence his numbers suggest. Which would make the predicament of what to do with him once the backcourt brigade of Jordan Farmar, Steve Blake, and Steve Nash return a messy affair for the Lakers and his fantasy owners alike.
Except that Marshall’s fate turned out to be rather astoundingly clear. In yesterday’s game against the Wolves, Mike D’Antoni relegated him to the bench and had Nash and Blake take over the starting backcourt. While Marshall was averaging about 33 minutes before the Steves return, he only saw 21 last night. It isn’t quite the drop-off his measly stats (five points, three assists, and three rebounds on 40 percent shooting) suggest but it’s clear indication that the Kendall Marshall mini-era is over in Lakerland. Right?
To make matters worse for Marshall, Jordan Farmar is also just around the corner. Before going down with injury, Farmar was a nice second or third option point on most fantasy teams.
In light of D’Antoni’s quickfire decision to bench Marshall, the matter of Kobe’s return and Jodie Meek’s inactivity only buries Marshall’s worth even more. Think about it: a healthy Lakers roster can go five-deep at the 2 with Bryant, Meeks, Farmar and Blake filling in there ahead of Marshall and four-deep at the 1 with Farmar, Blake, and Nash taking the majority of Marshall’s minutes.
But it is worth noting that Marshall’s place in the Lakers squad and as a stellar fantasy option isn’t necessarily gone. Nash has failed to last more than a week on the court this season, Farmar has been Nash-like in how he continues to reaggravate his injuries even during recovery, Bryant is coming off two major injuries at an elevated age, and Blake is already dealing with a ruptured eardrum just one night into his return.
In the event that the Lakers are able to remain healthy from here on out, Steve Blake is your go-to fantasy option at the point but it certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility that the Kendall Marshall mini-era can resurface in the event of a string of injuries.