As part of the build-up for tonight’s Nets/Knicks throwdown at MSG, ’tis only natural that NY’s Stephon Marbury would be asked how he compares to NJ’s Jason Kidd, particuarly as the two were once traded for each other. Stephon’s response comes courtesy of Newsday’s Eric Boland :

Marbury usually clams up at the mention of Kidd’s name, but Friday, after some terse replies, he weighed in on the comparison between the two.

“Me and Jason are two different players,” he said after a late-morning practice. “You can’t compare us. We don’t play anything alike.”

The 27-year-old Marbury and the 31-year-old Kidd indeed have played nothing alike this season, but this time that’s in Marbury’s favor.

Kidd missed the first part of the season after knee surgery and has struggled since returning. In 12 games, he is averaging 8.3 points, 6.0 assists and 1.25 steals for the Nets (10-18), who are in fourth place in the Atlantic, 51/2 games behind the division-leading Knicks (16-13).

Marbury might be having the best season of his career, averaging 20.2 points, 8.6 assists (third-best in the NBA) and 1.48 steals and providing outstanding on-court leadership.

Coach Lenny Wilkens said this is the best Marbury has played since Wilkens took over in December 2003. “I’ve talked to him about this before; you have to be yourself as a player,” Wilkens said. “He’s been an aggressive player at both ends.” Marbury knows he usually loses out to Kidd in the “Who Would You Rather Start Your Team With?” and the “Who’s the Best Point Guard in the League?” polls that crop up on various basketball Web sites. In this season’s All-Star voting, Marbury trails Kidd 306,359-151,749.

Marbury’s response?

“I know I’m the best point guard in the NBA,” Marbury said. “I don’t need anyone to tell me that.”

In addressing the All-Star slight, Marbury, who ranks sixth among Eastern Conference guards in voting, said, “It doesn’t even matter to me. As long as we’re playing in April, contending for a championship, that’s all that matters to me.”

You’d think after doing those terrible NBA League Pass commericals with Bill Walton, Marbury would get a free subscription and have a chance to check out what Allan Iverson and Steve Nash have been doing lately.