Francis is attempting to jump back in the NBA with Miami. It’s a tremendous longshot, but Francis is working out and focused.
Steve concedes. He finally relinquishes the truth: Both the Houston Rockets and his own ego play huge roles in him being inactive today. It began with Jeff Van Gundy replacing Rudy Tomjanovich as the Rockets’ head coach in ’03. Van Gundy quickly replaced Francis as the team’s offensive focus in favor of Yao Ming. Francis’ freestyling, run-and-gun game was of no interest to Van Gundy, and after a season of PG/coach head-butting, Steve-O was traded to Orlando. Though rough for him at first, Disney World became home to his second-best statistical season (21.3 points, 7 assists, 5.8 rebounds). In the middle of the ‘05-06 season, Steve was bounced to the Knicks, into the middle of the Larry Brown nightmare. In ’07, Francis found himself back on a Rick Adelman-navigated Rockets team. “They ain’t start me [and] that rubbed me the wrong way,” says Steve through a jaw full of shaving cream. “I’m playing behind a guy that wasn’t drafted—Skip To My Lou. You can’t put a three-time All-Star on your bench. So [I decided] if I’m getting x-amount of dollars, I’ma fall back and just get my money for my kids.” more.
As a fellow Terp, I was always a huge Francis fan. Sadly, Knicks fans never got to see the real Steve Francis due to injury/miss constructed roster. He and Marbury were the same player, they could never have worked since both were ball-dominators, let alone be the next Pearl/Clyde (loud laugh…). Francis ruffled too many feathers in his career, and it overshadowed his career. Fair or unfair, his run in with Jeff Van Gundy was a turning point in his career in many ways.
I went to Maryland with Francis and he was easily one of the most dynamic guards I’d ever seen. His combination of power, skill, speed and athleticism at the guard position was like few who have ever played the game. I watched him try to dunk on Jamaal Magloire in person at Rupp Arena that missed- it would hit the back rim and flew to half court. Had it gone down, we’d be able to find it on YouTube as one of the sickest dunks ever.