When rumors about Stephon Marbury coming to the Celtics swirled during the early and middle parts of the season, I was at once excited and worried. I thought Marbury might be the jolt we needed to kick us into gear and turn our bench into a force rather than a liability.
On the other hand, Marbury is known as, for lack of a better term, a headcase. For the past few years, incredibly bizarre stories have followed him. There was the interview on MSG, when he spoke of kissing his sister, how Isiah Thomas "sees the light", and visions of averaging ten points, 12-13 assists, 2-3 dimes, and 4-5 rebounds.
Aside from that, there was the time he was sent home during the middle of the season after a team vote, and his being placed on the inactive roster this season and not being allowed to practice or travel with the Knicks. Needless to say, controversy has followed Stephon Marbury
One thing I never doubted while those rumors swirled was Marbury's talent level. While his statistics had declined over the past few years, he still possessed the explosive first step, terrific strength, and outstanding court vision that, for a while, made him one of the league's top point guards.
I felt that Marbury would be a great addition as long as his behavior remained exemplary.
So you can probably realize how shocked I was when it was Marbury's lack of production, rather than his seemingly whacky personality, that limited his impact on this Celtics team.
From day one, Marbury fit in with his teammates and the coaching staff on the court. He developed quite a rapport with Eddie House, and could be seen cracking jokes with the "Big Three" while on the bench, and was always willing to listen to Doc.
During the post-season, there were a couple games in which Marbury didn't play in the second half. Instead of causing commotion and making a stink about it, Marbury handled everything in a professional manner, and gained the respect of the Boston Celtics' organization and the fan base, as well.
On the court, though, Marbury struggled. Save for a huge fourth quarter in Game Five of the Magic series, Marbury never had a breakout game. He seemed very hesitant on the court, shooting a miserable 34.2 percent from the field. His play was always unselfish, but Marbury seemed unable to fit his individual talents into the Celtics' team game.
I still have hopes for Steph. If the Celtics choose to re-sign him, a full training camp might be all he needs to become more comfortable in the Celtics' system. He is still a great penetrator, a solid passer, and someone who can energize a game off the bench.
Stephon was a class act, but I wish he had played better.