30 NBA players that got better after leaving their first team

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Stephon Marbury
Stephon Marbury (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images) /

30 NBA players who got better after leaving their first team: 13. Stephon Marbury

Stephon Marbury looked like a franchise cornerstone for the Minnesota Timberwolves alongside Kevin Garnett in the late 1990s. The pair led the Wolves to the postseason in his first two seasons, a rarity for the franchise. He was blossoming into a future star, averaging 17.7 points, 8.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Then, the relationship in Minnesota soured and he was shipped to the New Jersey Nets.

In New Jersey, Marbury grew into an All-Star and All-NBA performer, peaking at 23.9 points and 7.6 assists per game. He was unable to replicate the trips to the postseason that he enjoyed in Minnesota which led to another move. He was traded to the Phoenix Suns for Jason Kidd, who we will get to later. He continued to impress, making another All-Star Game and another All-NBA team. He made the postseason again with Amar’e Stoudemire and Shawn Marion but ultimately was traded once more to an ill-fated tenure with the New York Knicks.

Marbury played for the Knicks during an era they experienced more controversy than winning, then played his final season with the Boston Celtics, rejoining his former teammate Garnett. Since then, Marbury has transitioned to playing and coaching in China, where he has become an even bigger star than he ever was in the NBA.

Marbury was mercurial, to say the least, but he had a number of chances to show that with the right cast of players around him, he could compete with anyone. He was a dynamic scorer for the USA Olympic team, although they finished with the Bronze medal during the 2004 games. If he simply got along with those around him better, he would have won much more in the league.