This is not like me. Not at all. I don't like buying talent at the cost of chemistry and public relations.
But this just makes sense in some weird way.
The Wizards should make a play for Stephon Marbury.
Let's break it down.
First the bad. Off the court, Marbury has defended Michael Vick, testified to having sex with an intern, and rubbed elbows with countless celebrities (some of which may be questionable in character). On the court, he's a scorer, a passer, and is quick, but he's never been a proven winner.
Up until Eddie Jordan came around, the Wizards weren't proven winners, either. They still aren't, for the most part. But they can score and they're quick—which is enough in the East (for now). They don't, however, have a proven passer like Marbury.
Yes, his assists have been in decline since the 2004-05 season, when he averaged 8.1 dimes per game, but the Knicks have been a well-documented train wreck since then.
Yes, he has a larger-the-life persona that rubs some teammates the wrong way, but the Wizards, while not proven winners, have a team identity even Marbury won't be able to deconstruct.
Odds are the fun-loving Wizards rub off more on Marbury than he does on them. This team belongs to Ernie Grunfeld and Gilbert Arenas. It has minority stakeholders in Eddie Jordan, Caron Butler, Antwan Jamison and DeShawn Stevenson. Marbury will never run this ship, particularly since he'd be playing to re-establish himself as player and marketer for his Starbury shoe line.
Most importantly, he fits that need Arenas, Daniels, and the newly signed Juan Dixon don't—he passes the ball well. Throughout his career, his assist-to-turnover ratio is about 7.8 to 3.0 (not great, but he's been in some basketball wastelands where he's been forced to do too much).
Put him in a lineup with Arenas, Butler, Jamison, and Brendan Haywood, and we're talking explosive. (Heck, even Marbury off the bench as a super-sub could be useful if his ego complies—I'll take that.) Plus, that gets the ball out of Arenas' hand and frees him as a scorer. It creates defensive liabilities, but when has defense ever been this team's MO?
Now, we're not talking big contract here; what team would? Marbury's reputation isn't pristine, but for a team like Washington, a team missing a certain oomph in a still-fragile East, this move could help them pull away from the pack of mediocrity.
This is why Grunfeld built this team the way he did (with overpriced, high-character players), so when a person of questionable character comes along, he can be absorbed into the unit. It's what Jerry Jones has done with the Cowboys and the Red Sox were able to do with Manny Ramirez all those years.
You have to think Grunfeld knows he needs to do this, or at least something like this. Why? He's done it before.
Remember Latrell Sprewell's tenure in New York? Grunfeld brought him in, and the team was within three games of a title. This is that move, the one you build your core for.
Make it happen, Big Ern, before I awaken from this momentary bout of insanity.
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