Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Uh Oh. Larry's Pissed.

Larry Brown raises the issue of credibility with Starbury.

"I've been coaching how many years, a long time," Brown said. "I never left a team in worse shape than when I got them. Not once. Think about that. Think about me and think about the guy who's talking. I never left a team in worse shape. Never asked anything of my players any different than I'm doing right now."

That response came to the question of whether he and Marbury can work this thing out. Brown, in seven prior NBA stops, has lifted all his clubs from the doldrums to the playoffs. Meanwhile, Marbury will miss the playoffs for the sixth time in 10 seasons and never has won a playoff round.

So I'm not the only one lobbying for a Marbury trade over the summer. Then again, Steve Francis would have to go as well, since I have zero confidence in him as the Knicks point guard. But think about this:

Larry Brown is known for making point guards. He has a mold he likes them to fit, and he trains them well to play that style. Look at Chauncey Billips, who could never catch on as a PG until Larry got his hands on him. Well, what about Jamal Crawford?

As for Marbury, Brown took another dig, saying Jamal Crawford's "becoming our best perimeter defender."

I've been an advocate of Crawford all season after deriding him in 2004-2005. He's really stepped up this year and become a much more consistent performer. But with the "deep" Knicks bench, he hasn't been able to get in for more than 20 minutes a game. But converting him to a point guard may be the best solution. It may not be easy, but hey, what else are the Knicks going to do this summer (other than blow their mid-level exception on another dud)?

As for Quentin Richardson, well, my opinion of him may have risen, just a bit.

"I'm not taking Quentin out," Brown said. "He's defending every play as hard as he possibly can."

Q was never hyped as a defensive player, mainly because of the environment he came from in Phoenix. They were a fast-break, move the ball around and see where the best shot is kinda team. Amare Stoudamire, Shawn Marion, and Steve Nash were such threats that Q and Joe Johnson could easily be lost in the mix, leaving them open for jumpers.

That's where Q created his value, but he's not in nearly the same situation with the Knicks. Instead of trying to play the same game he did in Phoenix, however, Q has helped out where he best can, on defense, rather than hovering by the three point line and firing up prayers.

And now that I look at it, the trade wasn't all that bad, save for the grave injury risk. Q and Kurt Thomas both have contracts that expire in 2009, so the Knicks didn't become any more cap-strapped by adding Q. Plus, he's about seven years younger than Thomas, AND the deal netted them Nate Robinson. So I take anything bad I said about the trade back. It may have been Isiah's best trade to date.