Stephon Marbury: No Longer a Team Cancer, Now He Just Stinks

Thomas CrismanContributor IApril 6, 2009

CHICAGO - MARCH 17: Stephon Marbury #8 of the Boston Celtics sits on the bench during a game against the Chicago Bulls on March 17, 2009 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Celtics 127-121. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agreees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Who doesn’t miss the days of Isiah Thomas and Stephon Marbury with the New York Knicks, other than the New York Knicks fans? 

It was one of the most expensive man-made disasters in the history of sports. How on earth did they let things get so out of hand there? 

The team was like a sinking ocean liner, with all the fans escaping in life boats and trying not to be dragged down with the entire franchise.

A terrible contract to an over-rated player here, a few draft picks for an over-weight center—these were just some of the team's problems.

Sprinkle in a feud between the coach and his star player, a sexual harassment lawsuit, the alleged sexual assault of an intern, an unnecessary season ending surgery, and a disastrous parting marked the end of the Isiah Thomas and Stephon Marbury era, one where Marbury was paid a small fortune to stay away from Madison Square Garden. 

The era represents everything that’s driving the decline in popularity of the NBA.

Spoiled players signed for their ability to sell jerseys, glorification of the individual over the team, and a disconnect from the mainstream fanbase is driving the decline of the league in general.

Why on earth would anyone, especially a championship contender like Boston, sign Stephon Marbury after seeing his legacy in New York?

They’re risking everything for someone they could do without. Boston still has a window to win a few more championships before Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen start to lose their abilities to old age.

I’m a Lakers fan, so I suppose I shouldn’t be complaining too much about this turn of events, but I actually like KG, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen. They’re great players who are finally getting their due. 

Garnett used to play with Marbury on the Timberwolves, and both played in the 1995 McDonald’s All-American Game with Paul Pierce before that. The guy is an albatross around their collective necks right now. Even if he’s turned over a new leaf and turns into the greatest team player in history, he’s still a year away from usefulness. 

To give you an idea of just how bad it is right now, he’s shooting 32 percent, two percent from the three-point line, and 50 percent from the free throw line.

The free throw line stat doesn’t mean much though, since he doesn’t get there very often. He’s playing 17 minutes a game—not exactly chump-change in the NBA. He ranks 416 out of the 442 players in NBA in field goal percentage, but No. 255 in minutes played. 

The only person with a lower efficiency rating than him in the NBA, playing at least his number of minutes, is Desmon Farmer of the Spurs, and he has only played in three games. They’re playing him like a solid No. 2 point guard when he should be down in the D-league working his issues out.

This brings me to the question I've been pondering: Is Stephon Marbury better for the team if he continues to shoot 32 percent, or is it better if he decides he’s "Starbury," and starts fights so he can get a larger role in the game?