Still Crazy After All These Years?

Still Crazy After All These Years?

Today marks the official signing of Stephon Marbury by the Boston Celtics. While this acquisition has been the source of some controversy, it could be another step toward an 18th Celtics title. Some say that Marbury is a distraction and a cancer, but if there’s one team that would help him turn his act around, it’s this one. The question now, is how the Celtics will fit Marbury in to an already established team. While I could talk about locker room issues and chemistry here, I won’t. I have faith in the team culture and think that distractions tend to take a back seat when players finally get to play for a championship. Instead, I want to focus on how Stephon fits in where it matters most: The basketball court.

It is doubtful that Stephon will be competing with starting point guard Rajon Rondo. Rondo has established himself this season as the future of the team, and he shouldn’t see his minutes cut back. Rather, Marbury’s contributions will be off the bench, where they are most needed. An injury to Tony Allen and a Gabe Pruitt DUI have freed up some space in the backcourt, and Steph should be able to fit right in. While Eddie House has handled a lot of the ball handling duties, it’s no secret that he’s a shooter, and that the 2 spot is his more natural position. The Celtics have talked for a while about getting a backup point guard, and it seems now that we may have one.

One thing that many have noticed this season is the Celtics’ ability to run. While the team is still based on around defense, the C’s have gotten much better at pushing the break after getting a stop. Most of this has to do with Rondo, whose speed and court vision is unparalleled. However, it seems that without Rondo there to push the break, the C’s struggle. Even though Eddie House adds great 3 point shooting (a strong asset on the break), he doesn’t do the greatest job of getting the ball past half court. When opposing point guards apply some ball pressure, Eddie seems to struggle quite a bit. With Marbury, we have a backup point off the bench who deals well against pressure and can help maintain the pace when Rondo is forced to sit out.

Another possibility is playing Stephon with some of the starters as much as possible. While Rondo would start the game, Doc could bring him out early and let Marbury get in there with the Big 3. If he’s at the top of his game, this could be a deadly lineup on the floor. Rondo could then sub in with the bench and play some minutes alongside Eddie House, which Doc has done quite a bit this year. It would be very tough for Marbury to play selfishly if he’s on the court with Pierce, Garnett, and Allen. They just wouldn’t allow it.

One other question is Marbury’s defense. He has never been the strongest defender, and he’s now coming to a team that wins by eliminated scoring chances and forcing teams into bad shots. While Marbury isn’t known as an incredible on ball defender, neither are most of the Celtics. Our defense wins because it is a team defense. Guys like Ray Allen and Eddie House are not spectacular on ball defenders either, but become great team defenders when they buy into the overall team concept. It might take some adjustments, but I feel that once Stephon learns are defensive schemes, he will be able to step right in and contribute. Tom Thibideau has done a terrific job the past 2 seasons, and I don’t see why he wouldn’t be able to fit Marbury in.

Even though many Celtics fans aren’t huge on Stephon, I don’t think there will be an issue fitting him into the locker room and the offensive/defensive schemes. Marbury has been in a bad situation for quite some time, and now has the opportunity to finally win a championship. Many other players have been preceded by their reputation before, but playing for a title seems to change a lot of those attitudes.

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