Kendall Marshall thriving with outside shooting

Cleveland Cavaliers' Dion Waiters, right, tries to slap the ball away from Los Angeles Lakers' Kendall Marshall in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, in Cleveland. The Lakers won 119-108. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Dion Waiters, right, tries to slap the ball away from Los Angeles Lakers’ Kendall Marshall in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, in Cleveland. The Lakers won 119-108. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

The release in Kendall Marshall’s shot appears slow. His form looks awkward. And Marshall’s attempts come from considerably long range.

Yet, a perceived weakness in Marshall’s game has turned into a strength. Marshall leads the NBA in three-point shooting (49.4). In the four games since Steve Nash and Steve Blake returned to the lineup, Marshall has gone 9-of-12 from the perimeter. And Marshall’s ability to establish a niche role has left Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni pleasantly puzzled.

“It’s unbelievable, isn’t it?” D’Antoni said. “Kendall is shooting the ball extremely well. He’s playing well.”

Even if his strength features some unique characteristics.

Marshall doesn’t have much lift in his shot. He doesn’t square up with it, either. And his penchant for canning baskets from long-distance masks a self-admitted weakness.

“I know I have a slow release. I need time to get it off,” Marshall said. “If the defender has to close out farther, that’s to my advantage. With the way I shoot, I don’t have a lot of motion so I feel like I’m strong enough to shoot from there.”

So have any coaches implored Marshall to change his shot?

“Honestly every coach I’ve had has told me I have a good form,” Marshall said. “It’s just a matter of shooting with confidence.”

Marshall also added he has worked at “getting air underneath the ball” when he shoots, but that he’s mostly kept his same principles.

The Lakers certainly aren’t arguing with the results.

“He’s proven it thus far,” Lakers guard Steve Nash said. “He’s shot the ball well, especially for him. When he gets his feet set, he’s got great range and knocks down the three. I think that’s been huge for him to kind of prove that he can shoot the outside shot, especially the 3s. It’s part of his evolving game that I think we’ve all seen has been great and is really coming along.”

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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