Friday , Feb , 24 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Will Francis and Marbury work?

By Warren Blatt, Sports Network NBA Editor

(Sports Network) – The New York Knicks now have a talented backcourt of
Stephon Marbury and Steve Francis. Both players are former All-Stars, make a
lot of money and have multiple years left on their contracts.

When the Knicks acquired the 28-year-old Francis from Orlando for forward
Trevor Ariza and guard Anfernee Hardaway, who was waived by the Magic, they
simply received a player that looks good on paper and may cause more
distractions and problems than he is worth. The Magic were thrilled to rid
themselves of Francis and were happy to send the Maryland product to the Big
Apple.

There is no doubt that Francis is a skilled player. He is explosive on the
offensive end of the court and has the ability to be a decent defender.
However, the former Orlando guard seems to lack the hunger and dedication that
is needed to help the Knicks turn around an already difficult situation.

Marbury and Francis are basically the same type of player. They love to shoot
the ball and have proved to be selfish at the wrong time of the game. Head
coach Larry Brown will have his patience put to the test by his new backcourt.

Brown will have to figure out a way to get his high-priced backcourt to be
effective in a game that is won down low. Neither Marbury or Francis will be
happy having to decrease their amount of shots. However, the fact remains that
New York’s best players are guards. Brown will have to devise a way to
implement high-priced Jalen Rose into the scheme as well.

Rose is very talented, but may also have a difficult time adjusting to
playing with both Francis and Marbury. The 6-7 Rose also looks good on paper
with his talented teammates. Remember, there is only one ball on the court and
only one player can shoot at a time.

This is a team that has some impressive names, but will lack the chemistry and
balance that is needed to win in the NBA. Brown has always preached “play the
right way” and now he is going to have to convince himself and his players
that he has the formula for success.

Francis and the 6-2 Marbury will not work and the Knicks will spend the
offseason trying to move one of them and fill the huge void that already
exists in the low post.

If the feeling was that Francis and Marbury would increase their value because
they would be great together, Isiah Thomas and Larry Brown are probably going
to find themselves in the wrong.

This experiment has disaster written all over it. How can Francis and Marbury
help the Knicks get back to respectability? They won’t and they can’t.

The 6-3 Francis and Marbury both love to run the point and want the ball in
their hands at all times. These are not two players that are going to change
the way they play to help make their team better.

Brown will try and reason with the two and they may cooperate for a few games.
But, in the big picture any success that is enjoyed by the Knicks will be
short lived.

It would not be surprising if problems start to crop up with the other
players. Jamal Crawford and Quentin Richardson also like to have their share
of shots. Don’t forget about center Eddy Curry and rookie Channing Frye is
still trying to develop his game. How is Brown going to keep everyone happy?

This is a mess! New York is still headed in the wrong direction and should
have been trying to figure out a way to start over, instead of adding
expensive pieces to a club that has no direction..

The next question for the Knicks is: Will they trade Francis or Marbury
during the offseason?

NYK