Stephon Marbury believes the Knicks are in “a great space” with Phil Jackson running the team, and he’s a fan of the triangle offense. But the former Knicks point guard said you have to be able to mix the system with Carmelo Anthony’s strengths.
Marbury also said Anthony shouldn’t look to leave the Knicks this offseason, and that they should try to make things work.
“I don’t think that he should seek a new home,” Marbury said Sunday at the Garden, where the Knicks lost, 110-97, to the Raptors. “He should allow the situation to go the way the situation is going to go. I think from what he’s said and what I’ve read, that he wants to play basketball here. They have to continue to build around him, Derrick Rose.
“You have two key guys that are really talented players. They’re not old. They still have a lot inside of them. So I think if he felt like it was time for him to make a decision, I think he would have said that by now.”
It’s possible neither Anthony nor Rose will be back next season. Anthony could be traded this summer, and Rose will be a free agent.
Marbury sat courtside with his 12-year-old son. The Knicks showed highlights of the Brooklyn product on the Jumbotron and introduced him to a loud ovation. Marbury’s five-plus seasons with the Knicks were filled with controversy and ended unceremoniously with his release in 2009. But he said he appreciated the love Sunday.
“I’ve always been a Knicks fan since I was growing up,” Marbury said. “So that will never change. I’ve moved past the things that happened in the past in order to be able to have done all the things I’ve been able to do in China. That was the only way to move on. It’s great to be recognized in that light and it’s good to be back.”
Marbury, 40, has become a bit of a legend playing for the Beijing Ducks. He said next season will be his last. He wants to go into coaching, and said he possibly could coach the Chinese National team someday.
But he’s hoping the Knicks, who have missed the playoffs four straight years, can turn things around, and thinks they will with Jackson in charge.
“It can change, it’s just going to take some commitment and some time,” Marbury said. “It’s the culture, really. You got to continue to change the culture.
“When you get a guy like Phil Jackson, you expect the culture to change right away and things to change right away. But ultimately it takes a lot of time. But with him as the leader, him being the person that’s making the decision, I think they’re in a great space in having somebody like that.”
The Knicks (30-51) are 79-166 under Jackson and have lost at least 50 games all three seasons that he’s been team president. One of the things for which Jackson has been criticized is making the Knicks play the triangle. But Marbury thinks it could work, with some tweaks to fit the personnel.
“I actually like the triangle because it opens things up if you know how to move without the ball and you know how to cut,” Marbury said. “So it’s basically the fundamentals of basketball, which makes it extremely difficult to guard when you’re cutting hard and you’re making the ball move. It all depends.
“But you’ve got guys like Melo. He requires the ball in a certain position, in a certain spot. They knew this before they gave him all of the money that they gave him. So it’s not like you didn’t know this. You’re just trying to mix the two components together . . . Next year these guys will be a little more familiar with the system.”
That’s if Anthony is back. Marbury praised Anthony for how he’s handled everything from the losing to his relationship with Jackson.
“It’s New York, man,” Marbury said. “It comes with it. If you can’t deal with it, you leave. This is what’s going to happen. When you don’t win, they’re going to talk about you. When you win, they’re going to love you. Real New Yorkers know that. It’s what comes with it.
“He understands. He knows. This is the biggest market in the world as far as in the NBA playing basketball. He understands if he wins what it will be like here. Sometimes you’ve got to go through the tough times and all of the dark times in order to get to the light.”