Kendall Marshall's rookie season didn't pan out as many expected. After a quiet 48 games with the Phoenix Suns and 8 disappointing games in the D-League with the Bakersfield Jam, he found himself thrown in with Shannon Brown in the trade that swapped Marcin Gortat for Emeka Okafor before the season kicked off. The Wizards made it pretty clear that Marshall wasn't in their long-term plans and waived him - as well as Brown and Malcolm Lee - on October 28th.
While no NBA team came knocking on his door, Marshall was presented with a handful of offers from teams overseas. However, after mulling over his options, the former Tar Heel decided to stay closer to home and penciled his name in the D-League Player Pool, where he was soon claimed by the Philadelphia 76ers' affiliate, the Delaware 87ers.
The 87ers have gotten their 2013-2014 campaign off to a rough start, losing their first three games by double-digits. While they have some promising prospects, they were thin at the point, with first year guard Mfon Udofia manning the ship and 5-foot-6 Aquille Carr backing him up.
With Marshall now on board, the 87ers were welcoming a former first round draft pick; someone who, despite having a disappointing rookie season, has shown signs of promise. But if there were any doubts about his game, they were silenced on Thursday when Marshall made his season debut against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
In 36 minutes, Marshall led the way for the 87ers, scoring 31 points, dishing out 10 assists and grabbing nine rebounds. He shot 10-for-18 from the field and an unexpected 5-for-9 from distance. His jump-shot still isn't as silky smooth as it could be, but he's clearly put in some work in the off-season and it showed on Thursday. The only knock against his performance is the seven turnovers he committed. While most of them came in the first quarter - which could just be a result of nerves and rust - it's still far too many for a point guard at any level.
Even before he slipped on his 87ers jersey, people were talking about how long it would be until Marshall got called back up to the NBA. While it's unlikely that a general manager like, say, Sam Hinkie will base his decision on just one game, it'll be hard for him not to dwell over his potential after he put his whole offensive repertoire on display against the D-League's hottest team. But if Thursday's game wasn't just an anomaly and instead an example of what the new-and-improved Kendall Marshall can do, well, then he may find himself back where he belongs soon.
Enjoy him while you have him, Delaware. It may not be for much longer.