Monday, November 3, 2008

The New Hope/Prodigal Son/Banish-ed/Born Again/Banish-ed Again

Marbury's career has been absolutely nuts. These things tend to manifest that way, spiraling out of the psyche of the players who claim them. But can any current player boast the track record of acceptance and rejection that Steph can? He's been selfish, he's been stupid, he's been talented, and he's been wasteful. And after ruining a few teams, pissing off a few coaches, losing a few people their jobs, and alienating himself from select fanbases, the guy actually has people cheering for him again. Myself included. In the off-season, I didn't think any team with hope for the present or the future should take a chance on him. But with Starbury exiled to the end of D'Antoni's bench, I feel like something is terribly, terribly wrong.

Nine times out of ten (okay, maybe more like seven or eight) I avidly support Pringles' decisions. He created the most memorable team of recent memory in terms of pure wonderment, and he completely blindsided us with it. In general, I can get behind an effort to change the face of the game, to challenge the status quo, and to introduce a new reality. D'Antoni did that, if only for a spell. They say that good teams and good players make their own luck, but you can only do so much when it seems as though you have some kind of cosmic disadvantage. But in this instance, in D'Antoni's decision to bench Marbury and subsequently deactivate him upon Steph's own request to maintain some semblance of self-respect, I can't say that I agree.

If Marbury showed up to camp sulking and wasn't ready to work, that's fine. If you plugged him into the game and he struggled to find his teammates or his own shot, that's fine. If he's snorting coke off of hookers in the locker room, that's fine. All of those are acceptable reasons to ditch the guy. But he was in great shape (reportedly) for camp, he actually played pretty damn well in the pre-season, and though he voiced some displeasure about his role, it's hard to blame him. He's been a starter and a "star" for so long, and with a new sheriff in town he's expected to fade quietly into the background? The Knicks should know that that's not Steph. They should know that that sh*t isn't going to fly. I don't think that he should be starting on this team, or on many teams at all. But I do think he deserves a chance. If the Knicks aren't going to give it to him, someone else should. Of course there's like a 50-50 chance that he'll piss off your superstar or shoot every time he touches the ball, but that's Steph. Teams know what they would be getting at this point, and you might be surprised at how many teams with point guard troubles (starting or backup) could be interested in an inspired Marbury...for the few months that he'll stay motivated and play with a chip on his shoulder, before gradually slipping into his former self. Whatever. I've got my fingers crossed for you, Starbury.

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