Stephon Marbury got a strong endorsement for his new bench role last week. While watching the Obama-McCain debate at, naturally, a homeless shelter on the Bowery, one of his fellow wonks said "I see you doing good in the sixth-man role.” Marbury demurred but it may turn out that he doesn't need to adapt to a bench role after all.
With two preseason games left and Jamal Crawford struggling to find his rhythm in Mike D'Antoni's offense, Marbury could see himself back on the floor as the starter at shooting guard. The New York Post reports that D'Antoni and the other coaches were mulling such a move after the Knicks beat the Nets 114-106 last night and it could come to fruition for tonight's game with the Celtics.
Marbury had a strong night against New Jersey. In 16 minutes, he scored nine points and delivered six assists in reserve of Chris Duhon and a scout told the Post that he looked "as quick as ever." Crawford, on the other hand, looks lost now that he's not called on to shoot the ball 15 or more times per game. Always a player who needed a lot of shots to get his points, Crawford has found it hard to get hot with limited touches. Given D'Antoni's reliance on ball movement and variegated offensive production, it's not going to be any easier on Crawford going forward.
Marbury, at any rate, may be a better fit playing more minutes. His quickness and strength enable him to push the ball in transition and get it to the rim in the half court, two things the Knicks can't have enough of in their new system. Yes, he's crazy and prone to selfish play but perhaps those problems will be mitigated with Duhon on the point. He's outplaying Crawford so it's worth a shot.