Larry Brown can be real hard on his point guards, a fact that Chauncey Billups learned early after Brown's arrival in 2003. But, man, things between Brown and Smooth -- and even between Brown and Allen Iverson before he came to Detroit -- never got as bad as they have between Brown and Stephon Marbury in New York.
If you're a basketball fan that's been anywhere near a TV or newspaper lately, you've certainly heard about the two going at each other. The latest scuttlebutt coming out of New York is how Brown tried to reach out to Marbury after practice yesterday. From Newsday:
Marbury was pulled out of a videotape session before practice for a brief meeting with Brown. "He basically told me he could do whatever he wants with this franchise and that he doesn't want to trade me and that everything that went on throughout the last week is over with," Marbury said. "So, I said, 'OK,' and I left."
Hearing Brown out is one thing. Taking him at his word is another. Asked if he believes Brown really doesn't want to trade him and the remaining three years of a contract valued at $60.3 million, Marbury arched his eyebrows and said, "Do I believe him? I have no comment on that."
As for whether Brown has the power to do as he pleases, which would imply the backing of team president Isiah Thomas, Marbury shrugged and said, "I don't know. He flexed a real hard 'juice' card, I know that. He definitely made me aware of what he can do. But that doesn't scare me at all."
I'm not sure I'd ever want a guy like Stephon Marbury running the point for my favorite team, but I'm now more convinced than ever that I wouldn't want a coach like Larry Brown holding the keys to the franchise again.Yes, he guided the Pistons to one title and took them within a game of another, but after this season, I'm more convinced than ever that the team could have managed the same with any other coach. The man needs a perpetual back rub by the fans and media when things are going good, and he can be a flat-out finger-pointing jerk when things are going bad.
Oh well, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't taking at least a little joy in how things have worked out this year. If you just can't get enough of this New York soap opera, rest assured that with the Pistons playing in the Big Apple tonight, all of the local beat writers are chiming in:
- Detroit News: Knicks drama unfolds
- Detroit Free Press: N.Y. Knicks soap opera a sad sight
- The Ann Arbor News/Booth Newspapers: Brown-Marbury clash worse than what Pistons had with ex-coach
- Oakland Press: Billups feels Marbury's pain
My favorite description, though, comes from ESPN's Bill Simmons:
Well, it's official: The escalating Marbury-Brown feud has Sprewell/Carlesimo potential. I'm giddy. And didn't you love it when Marbury pulled the "I've gotta go back to being Starbury" routine? It's one thing to refer to yourself in the third person, it's another thing to refer to yourself in the fourth person (as your nickname). Just a tour de force all the way around.
(By the way, you can't do a worse job coaching an NBA team than Larry Brown did with the Knicks this year. It's impossible. Condescending, inexplicable, unfriendly, haphazard, rambling, incoherent, unprepared, overcritical, self-defeating, depressing, unrealistic ... really, pick any negative word or phrase for a coach and it probably fits. This current Knicks team was poorly conceived, but it also wasn't a 20-win team. Brown botched the 2004 Olympics beyond belief, he screwed up the 2005 Pistons with all the Cleveland rumors, and he's destroyed the 2006 Knicks to the point it's turning into a "24" episode. These are the facts.