Bittersweet. That phrase right there summarizes the Washington Wizards offseason so far.
Ironically, the Clippers would receive the No. 1 pick on May 19, despite having lower odds than the league-worst Sacramento Kings and the Wizards. Each team ended up being in the worst possible scenario by picking fourth and fifth, respectively.
Later that week, it would be announced that three-time NBA champion and Baltimore native Sam Cassell would be joining the Wizards' coaching staff, along with Randy Wittman.
Cassell and Wittman have ties with head coach Flip Saunders dating back to their stints in Minnesota, one as a player and the other as an assistant coach.
Not bad, I guess. Cassell was always thought of as a coach on the floor when he played by many, so having his expertise and tough love as a former player on the bench will definitely be handy.
Wittman is close with Saunders and it is quite obvious that he will be the one that Saunders will look to first for a suggestion.
Reverting back to the lottery, the local media and fan base alike has wondered whether general manager Ernie Grunfeld will trade the pick to acquire a veteran and/or receive more picks or simply pick the best player available. Jordan Hill, Tyreke Evans, and James Harden would be some names to consider on the Wizards' draft board.
But what is the buzz circulating the nation's capital today?
Yes, "Starbury," the man who came out with his own shoe and sold them for only $15 so that the neighborhood kids in his hometown Brooklyn could afford a decent pair of basketball shoes.
The man who led many people to believe he downed some cough syrup right before he appeared on the New York City-based sports talk show, Mike'd Up.
The man who averaged at least 20 PPG six times in his 13 years in the league.
I hope that statement changed your tune.
People forget that Marbury used to be one of the better point guards in the NBA. They forget that he was named an All-Star twice, and he could have made more appearances to the All-Star Game had he been on winning teams earlier in his career.
They see that when Marbury was traded from New Jersey to Phoenix for Jason Kidd, the Nets immediately transformed into a title contender. Phoenix also got considerably better after Marbury's departure.
That does not mean he was not talented or that he could not hang with the top tier players in the league. It simply revealed that he was not a team player, and that his cocky and brash ways took a toll on the teams he played for.
But Marbury is seasoned now... as in 32 years old. After enduring a winning tradition with the Celtics, Marbury knows what it is like to compete. He now knows how to sacrifice his body, play within a a team concept and much more one would not dream of Marbury doing in his first couple years in the professional ranks.
Marbury is the veteran point guard that the Wizards have been looking for. That role used to be occupied by Antonio Daniels, but when Daniels was traded in December to New Orleans, the Wizards did not have any stability at the point guard position.
With Gilbert Arenas sidelined for most of the year, ball-hog in Mike James and a talented, yet erratic second-year pro in Javaris Crittenton manned the point guard spot for the Wizards. The quagmire at depth for the point guard position was one the many blisters that marred the Washington Wizards' 2008-2009 season.
If Marbury can be had for cheap, he could be a bargain for the Wizards. Saunders being able to call a name like Marbury off the bench to substitute in for Arenas would be a great luxury to have.
Who knows? If Marbury gets a full season under his belt, assuming he worked his ass off over the summer, maybe he could regain his killer instinct.
Pair his ability with the streakiness yet scary efficiency of Nick Young, the leaping sensation JaVale McGee (whose wingspan is unbelievable), the hustle and activity on defense of Dominic McGuire, the diligent Darius Songaila, and the aforementioned Javaris "Speedy Gonzales" Crittenton, and you have a solid NBA bench (Andray Blatche is left out because I really am not positive on whether he will be back next season).
This is all speculation, because all the shots are called by Grunfeld... but if a head coach with a résumé like Flip Saunders' really wants a proven commodity such as Marbury, Grunfeld should probably take it to heart.