For Lorenzo Brown, D-League offers path to NBA

For Lorenzo Brown, D-League offers path to NBA
February 8, 2014, 6:30 pm
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In 20 games with the Sixers this year, Lorenzo Brown has averaged 2.8 points and 1.7 assists. (USA Today Images)

The dynamic of the D-league is interesting. It is a place to develop talent. It is a place to help those coming back from injury to get re-acclimated. It is a place, if you throw your soul into it and have the skills, you can be discovered.

Arnett Moultrie, Lorenzo Brown and Kendall Marshall fit each one of those categories, and coincidentally, all three directly correlated to the Sixers-Lakers game Friday night. 

Moultrie is currently on roster with the 87ers as he recovers from September ankle surgery. He played in his second game with the Seveners, scoring 17 points and grabbing seven rebounds in a 106-104 loss to the Tulsa 66ers. 

Kendall Marshall was at the Wells Fargo Center wearing a Lakers uniform. He played 20 minutes, recording 10 assists and scoring seven points. 

Prior to suiting up for the Lakers, Marshall was wearing a Seveners jersey for seven games in December. He averaged better than 19 points and 9.6 assists. The Lakers took notice of his play and signed him to a multi-year deal. 

In 22 games played for Los Angeles, Marshall has tallied double-digit assists 12 times. He is second in the NBA with 9.2 assists per game -- behind only Chris Paul -- but because he has played just 22 games, you won’t find him listed among the league leaders. 

Some might say a good one got away. Brett Brown believes otherwise.

“At that stage Lorenzo [Brown] was with us,” Brown said. “We were excited about Lorenzo. You can always second-guess, but we are fine with where we ended up. Still I really respect what he [Marshall] has done since.”

Truth be told, Marshall was the 13th-overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft. He was selected by the Suns and later traded to the Wizards, who then waived him.

Marshall’s shooting was considered suspect and the assists he produced in college (9.8 per game in 2012) somehow flew under the radar screen.

“People would look at his shot and say it is extremely unorthodox and to a point it is,” Brett Brown said. “But look at the percentage that follows his style. He is 46 percent from three-point range and he does it with range. With his set-shot style, he catches you off guard and he can shoot that. He is a point guard for sure.

"Kendall navigates and has the ball and looks at floor spacing and knows how to sniff out rotations, too."

Brett Brown sounded like he knew Marshall all too well.

"He is a smart point guard who has contradicted a lot of critics in relation to he can't shoot, he can shoot," he said.

Marshall is shooting almost 48 percent from behind the arc. He has made 41 of 86 three-point attempts in 22 games.

And finally the guy the Sixers invested in instead of Marshall, Lorenzo Brown has appeared in 20 Sixers games and 12 games wearing a Seveners jersey.

Brown is a rookie and, despite the constant tug-of-war between the Sixers and 87ers, he carries on.

“He goes up and down all the time,” coach Brown said. “He moves all the time. He doesn’t complain once. I think the program has translated well because I see improvement. Where else do you go to get 30-plus minutes and score 30-plus points? “

The reality is if you are the 12th man on an NBA roster, playing time is next to none and practice time is at a minimal.

Lorenzo Brown is finding a way around those parameters, playing in the D-league hoping to one day be where Kendall Marshall is.