Tuesday, April 08, 2008
When you watch Derrick Rose you hear lofty praise and comparisons to some of the elite guards in the NBA, starting with Jason Kidd and continuing to the likes of Dewayne Wade all the way to extremes like a smaller Lebron James. To me, I see Stephon Marbury and thus far I have yet to hear anybody else say that. Perhaps because Stephon is currently amongst the laughing stocks of the league, but to me the similarities are startling.
Let's rewind time a little bit, to the point where Stephon was not traded several times and not having sex with interns in his car. In High School Stephon was a New York hero. He lead his Lincoln High School squad to a City Title at MSG. Like Stephon, Rose comes from a major metropolitan area and lead his Chicago public school to two championship. Both coming from High School were top 5 prospects, both were the top point guards in their class, both were McDonald's All Americans and both were perceived as potential one and done college players.
After High School, both players veered away from going to the prototypical powerhouse school. Stephon chose to follow Travis Best as the point guard for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, a solid but not spectacular ACC school. Rose chose to go to Memphis, a non-BCS school with a solid recent history but still not necessarily a national powerhouse. Both players excelled during their freshman season. Stephon averaged 18.9 points, 4.5 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.75 steals his freshman year and was named third team all american. Rose averaged 14.9 points, 4.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game and was named a third team all american. Rose helped lead his team to the Final Four, unlike Marbury, but the squad he played for had a 1st team all american in Douglas-Roberts and several pieces that were just short of making previous final fours. Simply put he was on a better team in college than Marbury.
Now all points suggest that Derrick Rose will make a similar decision as Steph did in 1996 by foregoing his college eligibility and declaring for the NBA draft. Steph went with the 4th pick of the draft following AI who was a stud for two season with G-Town, Camby who just strapped UMass on his back in dragging them to the final four and Shareef Abdur Rahim who was also a dominant freshman in winning the Pac-10 player of the year. For Rose he doesn't have that kind of talent or experience surrounding him in the draft and will likely go within the first two picks along with Michael Beasely.
So let us attempt to remind ourselves of the time when Stephon was not a joke. When Stephon jumped into the league with the Minnesota Timberwolves he made an immediate impact. Along with KG he helped lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to back to back postseason for the first two times in franchise history. He averaged near 16 points and 8 assists in his rookie year and near 18 and 9 his sophomore year. He was positioning himself to be one of the best point guards in the league. And then idiocy happened and he decided it was more important to play near home than with KG. His numbers continued to hover above 20 and 8 for several years but the winning came to a halt. Really who knows what could/would have happened to 'Starbury' had he stayed in Minnesota, but we will never know.
Let's all hope for the sake of Derrick Rose that the comparisons end with Steph's second season. That he makes a significant impact in the NBA his opening years but does not choose to foolishly demand a trade to the Bulls. Let's hope talent dominates Derrick Rose's future, rather than the pour decision making which has dominated Stephon's past.