It's time for Steph to save his rep.
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On the Spot
By John Schuhmann

You could call them question marks. Or maybe X-factors. Call them whatever you want. These guys have something to prove this season. gives you 10 players (in alphabetical order) who will be under the microscope in 2006-07. For various reasons, all eyes are on them.

Next up is Stephon Marbury.

On the Spot Index

Stephon Marbury, G, Knicks

This one is a no-brainer. Like Baron Davis in Golden State, Stephon Marbury had some success when he first arrived in New York, but his return home has gone downhill from there. If Larry Brown is to blame for all of last year's woes, then it is now time for Steph to prove that he can still be one of the best point guards in the league, even if he's wearing $15 shoes.

Marbury applauded the coaching change this summer and should be happy with Isiah Thomas' determination that the Knicks will be a running team. With one of the best point guards in history and one of his biggest supporters as his coach, there will be no more excuses.

What the Papers Say

"The Hall-of-Fame point guard turned coach on the hot seat needs to look no further than the bald-headed enigma wearing No. 3 and $15 sneakers for the clue to achieving the "significant improvement" he is under orders to attain.

"Given that the aforementioned point guard is Stephon Marbury, this fact no doubt intrigues Thomas, who after all, brought him to the Knicks in the first place."
-- Ken Berger, New York Newsday

"Until last year Marbury had been a kind of ironman in the league, averaging 74 games per year over the previous nine seasons. But last season a separated shoulder and tendinitis in his knees sidelined him for more than 20 games, raising concern that although he is only 29, he does have a lot of wear and tear on him.

"He averaged only 16.3 points and 6.4 assists last season, both his lowest marks since his rookie season. Marbury said it wasn't up to Isiah Thomas to bring out the best in him. 'I'm the only one who can do that," he said.'"
-- David Waldstein, Newark Star-Ledger

What the Blogs Say

"Marbury will once again become one of the elite point guards in the Association; Isiah will give him the freedom to run the team and they won't be dueling it out in the papers. Unless those cheap shoes screw his feet up, I expect a big year from Starbury."
-- Bench Renaldo