Around the NBA in 24 Seconds
by Robert Ferringo and Nolan Sinclair - 12/15/2008
The curious case of Stephon Marbury:
This is a man that was the No. 4 overall pick in 1996 by the Milwaukee Bucks and then traded shortly thereafter to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Steph had a good career with the Wolves as he joined with Kevin Garnett to lead the team to the playoffs in 1997 and 1999. After much bitching about the city of Minnesota, Marbury was then traded to the Nets and then on to the Phoenix Suns in 2003. Marbury was an All-Star with the Nets in 2001 and with the Suns in 2003 and was voted to the All-NBA Third Team in 2000 and 2003. He was able to take the Suns to the postseason in 2003, but once again couldn't get out of the first round. (No, he's not a cousin of Tracy McGrady.)
Marbury was then traded to the New York Knicks in January of 2004, and the Knicks were the team he had said he always dreamed of playing for. "Starbury," as he liked to be called, has career averages of 20 points and eight assists a game, and playoff averages of 19 points and seven assists. Taking those numbers, that career, and all of these accolades into consideration you would think he is one of the NBA's top players.
Au contraire mon fraire…
Marbury fell out with Wolves management because he disagreed with his coaches about his role in the offense. He got his agent to demand a trade during the 1999 season, which sent him to New Jersey. During his tenure with the Knicks, Stephon feuded openly with Larry Brown. During the 2005-2006 season his poor performance teamed with the clashes with the coaching staff earned Marbury the title of "The Most Reviled Athlete In New York." So he's got that going for him, which is nice.
One more thing, Stephon Marbury was one of the point guards on the 2004 Olympic Team. Do you remember that team? I do, it was the first Olympic men's basketball team that was comprised of NBA talent not to win gold. Oh, and it was one of the most selfish, awkward, aloof teams that I have ever had the displeasure to watch and it embarrassed USA basketball on a global scene. And Marbury was the point guard, and was given the honor of carrying the Olympic Torch through the Big Apple.
So Starbury has had one of the most star-crossed careers of the last 15 years. And there are still chapters to be written. He is currently estranged from the team that owns his contract and no one can be sure if he will be traded, bought out, or left on the shelf. On the one hand, I do think that Marbury still has some basketball left in him. But on the other hand he is the epitome of the scoring point guard - the one thing I would never want on my team. To be continued.
Now hold on to your seats as we go Around The NBA In 24 Seconds:
24. Manu Ginobili is back and the Spurs are playing great basketball. Since their 2-5 start to the season San Antonio has reeled off 13 wins in 16 games to improve their overall record to 15-8. I actually think that playing without Ginobili and Tony Parker has helped this team in the long run because it kept them from playing complacently through the first two months of the year.
23. With the loss to Atlanta on Friday Cleveland's streaks of 11 wins SU and ATS were snapped. Cleveland covered seven double-digit point spreads during their streak, which is incredible. The Cavs are still undefeated at home and 13-2 ATS at that venue. But look for the Cavs to be a decent fade over the next few weeks because I think the numbers will stay inflated and I think Cleveland's play will come down a notch.
22. Only four teams, the Cavs, Bucks, Nuggets and Magic, are at least four games over .500 ATS. Compare that to the six teams, Raptors, 76ers, Heat, Suns, Warriors and Mavericks, that are at least four games under .500 ATS.
21. The nearly 90 players who signed free agent contracts in the summer become eligible to be traded Monday. Ladies and gentlemen start your engines!
20. Don't look now, but the youngsters in Memphis have won four games in a row SU, and ATS. Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo are legit and these Grizzlies are fun to watch. They are starting to score some points, and I, for one, am stunned that two guys who I really had no respect for (mostly because of their attitudes) in college (Gay and Mayo) are turning out to be decent pros.
19. The Indiana Pacers shoot less than 45 percent from the floor but they score over 100 points a game. Think about that for a second. Man those Pacers love to run and gun. The exact opposite of that would be the Utah Jazz who shoot 48 percent from the floor and score less than 100 points a game. Utah is the model of the efficient offense.
18. Reggie Theus is out in Sacramento. I don't know if you can consider this scapegoating, considering that the Kings have had pathetic talent on this team over the past couple seasons. I said it before and I will say it again: I cannot believe that this team ever got rid of Rick Adelman. Were it not for blatantly biased officiating and a league conspiracy in a series against the Lakers, Adelman's Kings would have won at least one championship, and they were always among the NBA's elite.
Assistant coach Kenny Natt has been installed s the interim coach and will hold that post all season. Rumor has it that Eddie Jordan is the short list of potential replacements.
17. Weekly Syracuse Update: We the faithful fans of the Orange are sitting on pins and needles awaiting the appeal of Eric Devendorf. He was suspended for allegedly punching a woman, even though that is not even close to what happened. Devo is facing zero criminal charges for his actions (he apparently was just mouthing off to a girl at a bar; couldn't imagine him doing that, right?) and was essentially kicked out of school by a bunch of whiny, bitchy students on a review board. Those kids are idiots, and hopefully the adults restore some order. Suspend him for five games and call it a day.
16. The league just can't shake the away underdogs. They are still covering at a 56-percent clip. Even better, over the last seven days the away dogs are covering in over 58 percent of the games. On the same note, over the last seven days away teams in general are covering in over 57 percent of their games.
15. Don't be surprised to hear Antoine Walker's name later this winter or early spring. Walker is negotiating a buyout with Memphis right now. He was dealt there from Miami on draft day. And rather than, you know, honor his contract, he plays the usual NBA baby role and will sit out until he can find a place on a playoff team with some potential.
14. Zach Zarba is still an 'over' machine. He is 12-3 against the total. Monty McCutchen is doing his best to take the title as he is 13-6 versus the total even though his games score six points more on average than Zarba's. On the other hand Steve Javie is 4-10 against the total and his games only average a total of 186.6 points.
13. Steve Nash, Amare Stoudamire, and Leandro Barbosa are the only players currently on the Phoenix roster that played more than one season under Mike D'Antoni. I am really stunned at the way that the Suns have been able to completely rebuild their team, their roster, their bench, and their style of play in less than one calendar year. I mean, they went from fun-and-gun to defensive grinders in the span of 10 months. It takes teams YEARS to rebuild a roster - especially one that had as much success as the Suns had over the last four years - and Phoenix has done it in a single season. (Keep an eye on how long it takes the Pistons to rebuild.) Just incredible work by the Suns front office.
Now we'll see if it will work.
12. Since December of 2004 away dogs have won in over 54 percent of their games during the month of December. Santa likes to give the underdogs better presents!
11. The top third of the NBA (winning teams) are a combined 142-53 SU. They are also covering in over 57 percent of their games, collectively, which proves the simple maxim that winners find a way to get the cash.
10. The Orlando Magic are getting better and better. Last week they won games at Portland and at Utah. In both games they hit at least 14 threes. The Magic beat Utah without the services of Dwight Howard, which makes a serious statement that this team is finding its groove.
9. One loss to the Sacramento Kings and people are jumping off the L.A. Lakers bandwagon as a potential championship team? Not this guy. This is a team that is made up of the best player in the world and eight players averaging at least eight points a game. It's still the NBA, and teams can jump up and bite you on any given night. Especially in a regional rivalry like this.
8. The Boston Celtics will win 70 games. But I don't know if they will end up with a winning ATS record. In fact, I know the oddsmakers are going to do a lot more to slow this team down at the window than opponents can muster on the court. And I read an article that compared the Celtics and the Lakers chances of winning the NBA title. The author wrote that the Lakers are soft and the Celtics have the eye of the tiger. Example: When Paul Pierce goes out, he gets stabbed. When Sasha Vujacic goes out he gets his tips colored.
7. Monta Ellis is coming off the suspended list this week. But man o' man, is he coming back to a different team than the one he left at the start of the year.
6. The New Orleans Hornets shoot over 46 percent from the floor, over 40 percent from the three point line, and 82 percent from the foul line and they don't average 100 points. Maybe I should have considered them for the title of "most efficient offense."
5. San Antonio is currently ranked sixth in the NBA in total defense. Since 1997 they have been no lower than third at seasons end.
4. The Oklahoma City Thunder at 9-3 ATS when they are double-digit underdogs.
3. Thus far this season 171 games have gone over the total and 172 games have gone under the total. Phoenix is 16-8 against the total while Philadelphia is 7-14-2.
2. Add me to that list and the three of us are eagerly anticipating the Christmas Day games. On Dec. 25 we will see New Orleans/Orlando, Dallas/Portland, San Antonio/Phoenix, and the granddaddy of them all, Boston versus the Lakers!
1. Check back next week for more Around the NBA in 24 Seconds.