Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Star-buried

According to a Frank Isola article in today's NEWS, the Marbury era could soon be coming to a close in New York. Thomas and Dolan could be preparing to offer the first big acquisition of the Thomas era as the sacrificial lamb for the myriad disasters of the past six months.

Forgetting what this says about either Dolan or Thomas (or that it could just be idle travel-day speculation) this could have a potentially huge affect on the team we see each night on the court. It could be good. It could be really good. It could be bad, which actually can't be that much worse.

Based on the PT being doled out so far the starting lineup could look like this:
PG Nate Robinson
SG Jamal Crawford
SF Quentin Richardson
PF Zach Randolph
C Eddy Curry

Um, no thanks. I enjoy Nate's passion, his hustle and his ability to jump over Spud Webb but he cannot be our starting point guard. He is too erratic and essentially a younger, smaller, more athletic but slightly less talented version of Marbury. If Steph gets shown the door then Mardy Colllins, the second-year point guard out of Temple who impressed down the stretch last year, has to leapfrog Nate into the starting lineup. He is bigger. He can be a physical presence on defense and seems mature enough to carry (and not in the Crawford sense of the word "carry") out a pass-first mandate and distribute the ball to the four other scorers on the floor with him.

The removal of Marbury would also remove another veteran presence from the team. However, in Marbury's case you would be removing a vet who is seemingly a malcontent and is too set in his ways to adapt his (exceptional) skillset to the team's current personnel. With Marbury gone this team would be a very young (but still experienced) team whose strength would be their frontcourt players: Curry, Randolph, Lee and Balkman. This foursome is young enough that they are still impressionable and can be hurt by having the wrong locker room influence just as much as they could still be helped by the right one. With Q and Malik Rose the only vets of note on the squad, there is no question that Marbury's presence is felt strongly. And, if he is not

As Isola notes in his story, Marbury has clashed with most vets paired with him on the roster since he is arrival. And, most of those players were shipped out in another of Isiah's far-fetched, cap-busting trades. And, that brings us to the most intriguing part of this news: it signals a repudiation of one of the two signature roster moves that Thomas has made during his stay. To release Marbury or to offer him for fifty cents on the dollar to another club will be an obvious admission of failure by our coach and general manager. It will also open the door to reevaluating all of the moves that Thomas made to placate Marbury, his star. To give up on Marbury-who has not been anything other than who he has always been-is to admit that most everything aside from the Curry and Randolph deals, all of the wheel-spinning and salary hikes, were for naught.

And, if we get to that point then maybe Isiah will soon be following his prized pupil out onto Seventh Avenue.

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