Stephon Marbury had one unique night. (AP)
2000-2001 Stats: 67 GP, 38.2 MPG, 23.9 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 7.6 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 44.1 FG%, 32.8 3P%, 79.0 FT%
2000-2001 Advanced: 54.0 TS%, 48.4 eFG%, 22.7 PER, 110 ORtg, 109 DRtg, 7.8 WS
All-Star Team? Yes
Unpopular opinion alert coming: Stephon Marbury is an underrated player in Nets history.
Marbury was a sublimely talented individual saddled with a poor supporting cast. He gets accused of being selfish and a poor leader, which I won’t argue. But his talent and production should trump that.
There is no greater example of Marbury’s talent than his 50-point game against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in 2001. Instead of writing a long opus on why I believe Marbury to be worthy of Nets all-time all-star status, I’ve decided to retroactively look at this game and point out, in painstaking detail, the greatness that is Stephon Marbury.
But FIRST: Watch. And enjoy.
0:54 - A classic one-handed, look away pass by Stephon Marbury to assist a streaking Keith Van Horn. This is Marbury’s career-high scoring night, but you can’t overlook the fact that he also had 12 assists in this game, putting Marbury on the list of players who have scored 50 or more points and had at least 12 assists in the same game. The list? Marbury is the list.
The fact that he’s recorded one of the single greatest statistical outputs in NBA history should go a long way towards his case as a talent.
1:14 - Already the third powerful two-footed finish we’ve seen from Marbury. We're 74 seconds in!
Marbury’s modern day comparison is Derrick Rose, and that’s it. Nobody else can match Marbury’s combination of power and explosion. The scary part? Marbury was a better shooter.
He had the tools to be one of the game's greatest players, and he showed it in 2000-2001 -- specifically, in this game.
1:41 - That’s Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal “ICEing” the Marbury/Evan Eschmeyer (yikes) side pick and roll, only Marbury wisely pulled up before getting double-teamed.
2:19 - Marbury hits a pull-up three over Kobe, and for a brief moment, the atmosphere in East Rutherford was rarely electric. Marbury’s era with the Nets did not result in a lot of wins, but Marbury provided just enough individual acts of brilliance that have withstood time. Like this one.
3:00 - Ian Eagle...been killin’ it for 20 years now.
3:13 - There may not be a better example of the combination of speed, quickness and power that Marbury possessed than on this layup he converts right here. He goes full court, leaves two defenders on the ground, jumps around Kobe Bryant and gets a layup...in just five dribbles.
3:59 - The climax of the game and perhaps a perfect snapshot into Marbury’s career as a Net. His sheer talent was blinding, but he also possessed end-of-game gumption that allowed him to take and make both of those three-point shots. Say what you will about Stephon Marbury the basketball player, but he was not afraid of the moment.
Maybe nothing else shines a greater light on the state of the Nets during the Marbury era than this moment either. Here the Nets are, trying to take out the defending NBA champions, and they're finishing with a lineup that included Jamie Feick, Keith Van Horn, Lucious Harris, and a rookie Kenyon Martin. Yuck.
5:25 - Forgot that Marbury played primarily in And 1 Tai Chi’s. Such an underrated basketball shoe.
Maybe this is a fitting end to this game as it represents a microcosm of Marbury’s career: a great player, a rare talent...but just not great enough to lift his teams to victory.
Look, I don’t support Marbury’s attitude and actions as a leader, but there is a reason he famously wrote “All Alone” on his sneakers and that’s because he was... alone. The Nets had a severe lack of talent during Marbury’s three years in New Jersey and any analysis on his career has to be viewed through that prism.
So make sure he's not alone anymore. Vote for Marbury.
Next: Micheal Ray Richardson