Wizards fall short to Toronto
Leon Wood, a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic gold medal winning hoops team with Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing, was a first round pick of the Philadelphia 76ers that same year. The point guard, who is now an NBA referee, quickly fell out of favor. Midway through his second season, Wood was shipped to the Washington Bullets. In his first five games with his new team, Wood set four personal scoring highs. One article stated he had helped "pump new life" into the team.
This comes up because of what took place with the Lakers Friday night by a player whom the Wizards had for a hot second.
"Lakers mobilize behind Kendall Marshall in 110-99 victory over Utah," read the Los Angeles Times headline.
The entire second paragraph of the recap included only one line: "Marshall Mania, anybody?"
For a team ravaged by injuries at the point guard slot, the pass-first player apparently went from "eh" to "wow" in his first start with the Lakers. That's what 20 points and 15 assists will do. Of course, it would be the sixth player to start at point guard for Los Angeles this season to become the first player in the franchise since 2002 to reach those numbers.
Marshall put up those prodigious stats on the same night Eric Maynor didn't receive playing time for the Wizards for a third straight game. This scenario was not lost on the local fan base.
The LA Times about the Arlington native continues.
"Poker-faced assistant coach Kurt Rambis couldn't even hide a smile from the Lakers' bench after Marshall's three-pointer meant a 102-94 lead with 45.7 seconds left.
"There was also a grin from Kobe Bryant, who had 23 points and 15 assists in that 2002 game against Washington.
"A solitary fan tried to start a lonely if not sarcastic "M-V-P" chant when Marshall shot free throws in the first quarter. When Marshall drilled the late three-pointer, seemingly every Lakers fan erupted in the arena."
Kendall Marshall made Kobe Bryant grin. Apparently, there are no limits to his greatness.
Read this for a reminder about why the former University of North Carolina star isn't on the Wizards roster. Perhaps Marshall has time to impress Washington's decision makers if the Marcin Gortat deal with Phoenix went down early in the training camp process and not 10 seconds before the start of the season. Perhaps the organization will live to regret the waiving of the 2012 first round pick even if the Suns were willing to cut bait after one trying season.
Or perhaps Marshall is the next Leon Wood. Unable to keep up the torrid pace or apparently even an acceptable one, by the next season Wood was on another team. The vagabond trend continued throughout the remainder of his career.
We'll find out what Marshall is all about over the coming days, weeks and months. At least for one night he was a rock star for a team known for their headliners. At least for now, portions of another fan base already lamenting a certain free agent signing can stew about a what-if scenario that really never existed. Like that matters.