That’s the only way to explain the fact that Isiah is trying to trade for Steve Francis. To Larry Brown, there’s only one thing worse than having a selfish shoot-first point guard… and that’s having two selfish score-first point guards.
We’re looking at a backcourt of Stephon Marbury, Steve Francis, and Jalen Rose. If you asked Larry Brown a year ago to design the least desirable starting backcourt that anyone could put together… and you might have gotten those three names. If the Knicks make any kind of a long-term commitment to Steve Francis, it’s hard to imagine Larry Brown wanting to come back next year, and I wouldn’t blame him.
In the short term, if you add a player like Francis to the Knicks line-up, they’ll become a little bit better. With two scorers like Marbury and Francis on the court, they’ll be harder to defend, and they might put up more points, but the ceiling is very low. You’re not going to establish any kind of an offense that moves the ball around, you’re not going to get everyone involved, you’re going to have defensive problems, you’re going to have guys fighting over the ball, and you’re going to have a coach trying to hang himself in the locker room with a pair of Eddy Curry’s shoelaces. That is not the blueprint for a winner.
Of course, this deal is kind of contingent on another deal which may or may not happen, one that probably deserves its own blog item… the near-fruition deal of Darko Milicic and Carlos Arroyo heading to Orlando for Kelvin Cato and a first-round pick. Ignoring the bigger picture of Darko’s legacy for a moment, this deal makes a lot of sense for a lot of teams.
In Carlos Arroyo, they get a very solid point guard who can score, but doesn’t necessarily need to. He’s a very good penetrator, he’ll play a little defense, and he can help a team. Darko Milicic is still young and big, if nothing else. I think he’s still worth taking a chance on if the price is right. The Magic have a lot of injuries and a lot of depth problems, and they could use the bodies. Darko Milicic, in my opinion, would be a great mentor for Dwight Howard… showing him how young players are supposed to play and act, etc.
The Pistons get Cato, a big man who (when healthy) can play defense and rebound, and they certainly need frontcourt depth more than they need backcourt depth right now, with Lindsay Hunter coming back from injury soon and Carlos Delfino giving them some quality minutes. Cato’s also got an $8.6 million contract that comes off the books this summer, giving the Pistons room to resign Ben Wallace and keep the starting five intact, and if Cato gives them anything at all on the court, they can likely resign him for the veterans minimum. Also, if you can get anything resembling a lottery pick in return for Darko Milicic… well, I think it’s time to cut your losses.
I didn’t hop off the Darko Milicic bandwagon until earlier this year when it became clear that the change from Larry Brown to Flip Saunders wasn’t going to do him a lot of good. I still believe he could be a good player… I am convinced that it’s 100% mental with him. For some reason, he has yet to shed the tentativeness and timidity that he’s carried with him since Day One. He’s got great teammates, teammates who like him, and he’s been through two coaches, and he never developed any kind of confidence. By now, it’s clear that that’s never going to happen in Detroit. I don’t know if it will happen anywhere else, either, but it’s at least worth trying.
I’ll be sad to see him go. If he does end up in Orlando, I’ll be rooting for him.