Basketball, sports in general, are business first, personal much later. In a world where personal feelings were taken into account, Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher, and Steve Blake would all be on the current roster. But basketball isn’t a personal relationship. It can be a cruel, cruel game.
Steve Blake was having his best season possibly of his career. The final 13 games prior to his injury saw him average 9.6 points and 9.4 assists with double digit assists in all but four of those games. But Blake went down on December 10, and 11 days later, Kendall Marshall played his first game in purple and gold. It wasn’t until his first start that Marshall exploded onto the scene. All we’ve seen since is Marshall average 11.6 points and 11.1 assists over the last 22 games, double digit assists in 16 of those.
All Marshall did was make Blake expendable. The Lakers weren’t going to trade Jordan Farmar, the youngster who returned home on a discount. No one wants Steve Nash’s albatross of a contract considering his physical state. Blake was on an expiring contract, has tons of experience, and could be vital part in a playoff contending team. Golden State jumped all over him and brought in Blake to do everything listed. The sometimes cruel world of basketball played one mean trick on Blake, who is leaving his family in L.A. for the remainder of the season. Even a superstar like Kobe Bryant, who has been in the league longer than he hasn’t, was left angry over Blake’s departure.
Fans debated whether Marshall was the point guard of the future, or if he was simply a decent player putting up good stats on a bad team. Well, it’s time to find out. Barring any more injury setbacks (a big if), the Lakers are going to rounding into full strength (or as full strength as they can be). Marshall has been handed the reigns, as has Jordan Farmar. Both would make sense as point guards of the future, but they’re about to get the opportunity to prove their worth.
We’re going to learn a lot about Marshall and Farmar over the final months of the season. With Marshall locked up through next year, we’ll learn if he’s fully capable. For Farmar, it’s a a final audition to see where he’ll fit into the future.
But no matter what happens, always remember, it’s business first.