Not that he’s an expert, but he played in the NBA and in New York and Stephon Marbury has an opinion, like most, on the Knicks combination of forwards Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.
And it was not a good one.
Asked during a brief interview in New York by ESPN if he thought the Stoudemire-Anthony tandem could land New York a title, the former NBA all-star guard said, “Nope.”
Marbury has been playing in China and apparently enjoying it after a sometimes-sparkling NBA career. He led his Beijing team to the championship last year and said he is headed back there next week.
“Amare needs a point guard like Steve Nash (to thrive). He’s a pick-and-roll guy, a pick-and-pop guy. He can’t play in the half court where everything’s slowed down,” Marbury told ESPN.
Many have expressed the same concerns with the Knicks’ star duo. In their season and a half together, the Knicks have a sub-.500 record when both are in the starting lineup.
But Marbury brings a unique perspective to the debate. He played with Stoudemire in Phoenix during the 2002-03 season and for 34 games the next season before Marbury was dealt to the Knicks. He also spent five mostly rocky years with the Knicks.
In addition to his thoughts on Stoudemire, Marbury also questioned the Knicks’ motivation in obtaining Anthony. New York executed a three-team blockbuster deal to bring Anthony in from Denver in February 2011.
“I don’t know if (Knicks owner James) Dolan brought him in to win games or to make money,” Marbury said. “I think it was to make money.”
Marbury, though, says Anthony is the Knicks’ best player and the team should be built around his strengths. Anthony is a skilled passer but also thrives in isolation.
This style clashed at times with ex-Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni’s up-tempo system. Current Knicks coach Mike Woodson seemed more comfortable putting the ball in Anthony’s hands in the low and mid-post and letting him operate in isolation after he took over in late March.
“You knew what he was when you got him,” Marbury said of Anthony. “Let him do what he does.”
Marbury is 3½ years removed from his controversial tenure in New York. The Brooklyn native came home in a trade midway through the 2003-04 season and led the Knicks to the playoffs that season. But losing seasons and clashes with management, coaches and teammates followed. He and the team agreed to a buyout in the 2008-09 season.
As a Coney Island native, though, Marbury said he still remains a Knicks fan and will always root for the team.
“I think they have a good team,” Marbury said. “They could make the second round (of the playoffs).”