Wave those towels folks, because the Bucks training camp bench is about to see a marked improvement in their TWR (towel whipping rate) percentage with the announcement that the Milwaukee Bucks are signing Kendall Marshall to a training camp contract. This comes on the heels of their recent other training camp signees, Brandon Rush and James Young.
Many Bucks fans will remember Marshall fondly from the team’s 2014-15 campaign, where his lethargically paced game provided a fitting compliment to Brandon Knight’s herky-jerky fast-twitch gunner mentality. Marshall shot effectively from three that year, shoving his big booty into defenders as he meandered his way into the paint and made effective passes to fellow Bucks. What looked like a promising follow-up year to a brief revival of his career in Los Angeles, Marshall’s year was cut short with a torn ACL during their game against the Knicks in London.
It wasn’t much later that their bench leader was shipped off to Phoenix as part of the Brandon Knight trade that netted them Tyler Ennis, Michael Carter-Williams and Miles Plumlee. Marshall’s struggled to catch on with anyone since then, signing a cheap contract with the Sixers in 2015 before being relegated to playing in the D-League last year with the Reno Bighorns, where he averaged 15.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 9.0 assists. Marshall also started for Team USA in the FIBA AmeriCup this summer.
Marshall’s 3-point percentage that was near 40% for his two years with the Lakers and Bucks dipped down to 32.7% in his brief time with the Sixers and he would have to show it could remain near that 40% for him to be worth sticking around this upcoming season. His game has never relied on athleticism, so the ACL shouldn’t have sapped him of any flash elements, but whether he’s even an NBA player at this point remains an open question given the reticence of any other team to pick him up last year.
While the chances of training camp invitees making the final Bucks roster is always a difficult proposition, I must say that this year’s crop provides at least a little more excitement than the fledgling law firm of Orlando Johnson, J.J. O’Brien and Jaleel Roberts from last preseason. That they’re bringing in several veterans over no name guys seems to be sending at least some sort of message though. They may be looking for someone with a bit more veteran leadership to tag onto the end of the bench, a trait that would certainly mean Gary Payton II could be supplanted from that 15 spot.
It’s also likely a product of the new two-way contracts, which can generally take the place of searching for upside in random training camp invitees. With Bronson Koenig only filling one of those slots after the departure of Jalen Moore for personal reasons, Milwaukee still has an opportunity to take a chance on someone while those with NBA experience try to latch onto the fringes of the regular season roster. Regardless, I expect it won’t be long before we got a tweet from John Henson welcoming back his Tar Heel homie to Milwaukee.