Amar'e Stoudemire Will Bounce Back for New York Knicks After Frustrating Season
After a disappointing first-round exit at the hands of the Miami Heat, many Knicks fans will be quick to place blame on Amar'e Stoudemire. After all, the aging star did sabotage the team's chances with an overall underwhelming performance, in addition to his self-inflicted hand wound that kept him out of action in Game 3.
Stoudemire's days as a dominating power forward are not done, however, and he will bounce back with a strong 2012-'13 campaign.
There are two main reasons for this premonition.
First of all, Amar'e is only 29-years-old, so any talk of his talents deteriorating should be more focused on his current health as opposed to his age.
This past season was not Stoudemire's best, but there were certainly some circumstances which put him into a tough situation to succeed.
Amar'e admitted that he entered the season overweight. While an athlete should always be in top playing condition, the NBA lockout did affect many players in terms of their offseason workout regimens.
When he was able to shed the unwanted weight, his performance certainly benefited.
Just as he began playing more consistently, he missed 13 games with a bulging disc in his back, which hindered the Knicks' offense once again and affected his performance.
Stoudemire finished the season averaging 17.5 points per game to go along with 7.8 rebounds on 48.3 percent shooting.
Can Amar'e Stoudemire return to his All-Star form?
It was a decline from his first season in New York, but they were respectable numbers considering the Knicks do have other scoring options.
Stoudemire should be able to enter next season in peak shape and ready to contribute at a high level for New York.
On top of the injuries, Amar'e was also forced to cope with the unexpected death of his brother early in the season. Nobody will question the difficulty of performing in the spotlight while experiencing the psychological trauma of dealing with a personal matter of that magnitude.
The second reason for Stoudemire's comeback will be the Knicks' roster.
Last season, the Knicks featured a bevy of different lineups throughout the year. Injuries decimated them during the season and made it extremely difficult for the team to play with any continuity.
While the Knicks were playing inspired basketball during the Jeremy Lin period, Amar'e appeared to turn a corner in his season.
He definitely was aided by the presence of a point guard with the passing prowess and pick-and-roll ability of Lin.
There is no debate Stoudemire has performed his best with a solid point guard running the offense.
In Phoenix, Steve Nash and Stoudemire combined to form a potent duo for eight seasons. They complemented each others abilities and the 6'11" power forward really thrived in the fast-paced offense.
Stoudemire shot 50 percent from the field last season which was a critical component of the Knicks' offense. They were able to trust him with his potent mid-range jumper, which made it extremely difficult for the opposition to defend.
Next season, at the very least, the Knicks should have improved overall health of the team. It would also seem logical that the front office will shore up the point guard situation.
Head Coach Mike Woodson claimed that Jeremy Lin will "absolutely" return next season.
It is purely speculation at this point, but if they could acquire free-agent Steve Nash, the offense could experience a tremendous boost with the two-time league MVP reuniting with Amar'e in New York.
Nash could potentially enhance the performance of Stoudemire and allow the Knicks' front office to reap the benefits of signing him to the massive deal worth nearly $100 million.
So, just by a number of factors returning to normal next season, Stoudemire will be more affective by default. The Knicks' offense will benefit greatly because of his resurgence and perhaps they can become the Eastern Conference powerhouse they were expected to be this season.
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