The Stephon Marbury SagaUnlike many people, I have a high opinion of Isiah Thomas' ability as an NBA talent evaluator--with the exception of his acquisitions of Stephon Marbury and Steve Francis. Last summer, Thomas finally sent Francis packing. Now Thomas may be on the verge of following a suggestion that I made in my 2007-08 Eastern Conference Preview: "if Thomas finds a way to get rid of Marbury then the Knicks could grab the last playoff spot."
In an ongoing story that literally gets stranger by the minute, Marbury has gone AWOL from the Knicks. That's right, New York's starting point guard is not traveling with the team and no one from the team seems to know exactly where he is. The latest Marbury drama apparently began after Thomas threatened to bench Marbury due to Marbury's deficiencies as a leader and as a defensive player (to which I say, "What's new?"). Not surprisingly, Marbury reacted very poorly. All of the gory details have not yet been confirmed but what is leaking out in drips and drabs is not pretty. Recently, Marbury has not just been an erratic player but he has acted and spoken erratically away from the court as well. People act like this is funny but has it occurred to anyone that maybe there is really something wrong with him? Perhaps his problems go deeper than just being an overdribbling, non-defending point guard; I don't know the answer to that, so I will not try to practice psychiatry without a license.
What I do know is that Marbury has put up some of the emptiest career statistics in NBA history. The numbers say that Marbury has averaged 19.9 ppg and 7.9 apg, a dual feat that few point guards in history can match--and that just graphically proves the limitations inherent in relying too heavily on statistics to evaluate players; Marbury's me-first approach to offense combined with his disinterest in playing defense make it easy to understand why every team he leaves gets better and every team that acquires him becomes worse. Put simply and bluntly, Marbury is the "anti-Jason Kidd."
posted by David Friedman @ 8:33 AM