Just what is going on in the Big Apple?
The New York Knicks have decided to bench, arguably, their best player, Stephon Marbury.
It’s only four games into the season, and I know this article may be a little premature, but c’mon!
Now, the Knicks have had their fair share of off-court media attention in the past, but it looks like management has sunk to a new low.
Benching your best player because he’s not a “team guy,” may be acceptable in most other team sports, but not in basketball.
In basketball it’s a common belief that you’re only as good as your best player, with some exceptions (the Detroit Pistons.) So, why not play the guy? You make both the team, and Stephon suffer by tying him to the pine.
We’re not talking cutting down on minutes either, he hasn’t played a single one of those all year.
And you can say all you want about his attitude, if the idea is to play the best players, Marbury starts (and plays) over Chris Duhon.
I don’t want to hear all the talk about Mike D’Antoni wanting to go with a younger line up—he just doesn’t like Steph or what he represents.
Everyone has their own opinion about players, but the numbers don’t lie. www.basketball-reference.com/players/m/marbust01.html
The argument that Marbury is too selfish, to me, holds no water.
Is he arrogant? Maybe. Does he love his money? Absolutely.
Selfish though? I just can’t look past those assists statistics and ask for much more, especially considering his numbers have dropped off in recent years. He averaged nearly eight points per game over his career, to me, that’s not selfish.
Give me a guard who averages eight assists and twenty points a night, and I’ll be satisfied.
Despite numbers, however, Mike D’Antoni will continue to bench Starbury, regardless of the thunderous chants, “We want Steph!” that rain at the Garden.
What should Marbury do now?
He should do what he’s been doing. Don’t bark your displeasure to the media and earn a perennial spot on, “The Best Damn Sports Show Period! Countdown best sound bites”. He needs to keep quiet, continue his private off-court training, and stay in shape, because one place or another, Marbury will play basketball this year.
What should the Knicks do?
Play the guy! There’s not much else they can do. His monster contract makes it almost impossible to deal him, and any value he has is diminishing every day. I’m sorry, but to have a $21.9 million guy who is healthy, and hasn’t seen a second of court time, is insane! Who knows, maybe he plays well and the Knicks get a decent offer at the deadline for him. They’re not getting any offers if he stays on the bench.
What happens now?
In all likelihood, Stephon approaches the Knicks with a buyout offer and they negotiate a price. It’s a win-win. Stephon gets paid and has his choice of contender to join, while Mike D’Antoni and the Knicks can move on to what seem to be, better days.
It will be interesting to see how this situation plays out. The job of both Mike D’Antoni and Donnie Walsh is to make sure this sideshow doesn’t distract a young Knicks team.
Either way a decision must be made, and it must be made fast.
I wonder how many different opinions are out there on this topic. If you asked for mine, I’d tell you.
“We want Steph!”