Marbury and Garnett to re-unite?
Over ten years ago now, Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury formed one of the best young tandems in NBA history for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Though it became infamous in its time, at the time they were one of the bigger wonders on the NBA world. And filled with potential.
ESPN has recently reported that if Marbury ever manages to escape the clutches of the Evil Empire, I mean the New York Knicks, then his most likely destination would be the reigning champion Boston Celtics. Once again pairing him with Kevin Garnett.
Let's look back...
After another losing season in 95-96, the Wolves were happy that rookie Kevin Garnett had showed promise and was growing and maturing quickly. The franchise became hopeful, after they drafted Ray Allen in '96 and then immediately swapped him for Stephon Marbury, the fourth overall pick.
Star player Tom Gugliotta gave the T-Wolves a strong base of players to build around, and the team's future looked bright.
Marbury and Garnett's first season together was a success on the court and off. Garnett and Gugliotta became the first franchise All-Stars while leading the team in scoring. The three star players lead the team to the playoffs for the first time ever, though they were quickly dispatched by the Houston Rockets in three games.
The media also helped to blow up the partnership of Kevin & Stephon. The two became stars very quickly, with their young exciting styles making them fan favorites and a sort of cultural icons.
In the '97 season, their success became even greater. KG averaged 18.5 ppg along with 9.5 rebounds, while Stephon averaged 17.7 ppg and 8.6 assists per game in just his sophomore season.
Again, the Timberwolves made the playoffs, and posted their first ever winning season with a 45-37 record, despite losing Tom Gugliotta for half of the season.
The Wolves again lost in the first round, but the fans were still hopeful as the team were at least competitive that year, taking the Seattle SuperSonics to five games.
Unfortunately, this was the last of the success for the years of KG & Marbury. The Timberwolves signed Garnett to an amazing 6-year, $126 Million deal. The league was shocked and the Wolves were reprimanded for this huge spending on one player.
This move was one of the keys leading up to the lockout of the 1999 season. The team was hit hard. Marbury's ego began to become a large factor, with Stephon stating he wanted to be the team's biggest star.
Gugliotta eventually had enough of Marbury, and this combined with the Wolves having to offer him less money than he was worth due to the KG deal. This resulted in Gugliotta signing elsewhere.
Marbury forced on an in-season trade with his refusal to sign a contract renewal. Eventually Stephon wound up in New Jersey, while Terrell Brandon arrived in Minnesota along with the sixth pick of the '99 draft. The Marbury & Garnett era in Minnesota was over.
We know the story since then. How Garnett became one of the best to ever play the game, an M.V.P, an NBA champion and a Defensive Player of The Year along with countless other highlights and accolades. He has always been a fan favorite and one of the best players of the decade.
Marbury did enjoy minor success in New Jersey and Phoenix, earning himself two All-Star berths and a spot on the All-NBA third team. But it has been noted that in two cases when Marbury leaves a team, that team gains immediate success afterwards.
Jason Kidd led New Jersey to back-to-back finals appearances. And in Phoenix Steve Nash won two MVP awards. He has been the face of one of the most popular teams in the last 10 years.
In 2004 Stephon got his ultimate NBA wish and was traded to his hometown Knicks. That was the last time the team made the playoffs. Stephon has not played since Jan. 11 of last year. And has been a huge story so far this season trying to leave the team along with his money.
So will Boston take the risk of reuniting the two stars?
-Marbury is in the best shape in years and has always been a skilled player when he actually tries.
-He can provide depth in the backcourt for Boston, allowing Eddie House to finally go back to backing up Ray Allen at the shooting guard spot.
-Stephon has been in the NBA for twelve years, and knows how to play the game. He can provide leadership to the younger players and relieve pressure from the older guys.
-Marbury has ruined team chemistry before, and although he seems to have turned over a new leaf, there is nothing to say he won't do it again.
-Can Marbury truly accept being a bench role player and not being even the fifth option on the offense?
-The Celtics are a true team. Will Marbury use his exceptional passing skills to take advantage of the offensive talent on the team?
-Will Marbury need to truly knuckle down and play some hard defense?
-Though he is in great shape, its been a long time since he has played in an actual NBA game.
If you were Danny Ainge, would you take the risk?