Pros and Cons of NY Knicks Using Amar'e Stoudemire as Sixth Man
Mike Woodson decided not to make this move last season, but it’s a possibility that the New York Knicks would be better off with Amar’e Stoudemire coming off the bench rather than in the starting lineup.
It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony just struggle to play well together.
They are both terrific basketball players who have a lot to bring to the table, but for some reason they just haven’t found a way to showcase those skills at the same time.
It’s not something Stoudemire is accustomed to doing, but he might thrive in a new role as the team’s sixth man.
Here are the pros and cons of the Knicks using Amar’e Stoudemire as their sixth man during the 2012-13 season.
Pro: The Team Will Have Better Floor Spacing
Anthony and Stoudemire both prefer to receive the ball and create their offense from the high post area.
This doesn’t work when they are the floor together because there is no court spacing. It is very easy for opposing players to play help defense and clog up driving and passing lanes.
If Stoudemire comes off the bench, Anthony can start the game at the high post and then Stoudemire will play there when the substitutes enter the game.
Both players will most likely be on the court together to finish the game, so whoever had more success throughout the game can take the high post during the fourth quarter.
Con: His Attitude Will Be Negative About Coming off the Bench
There is no way Amar’e Stoudemire has ever come off the bench in his entire life.
I wasn’t able to find his actual high school statistics in terms of games started, but it’s a safe assumption that he started basically every single game since he was named Mr. Basketball for Florida and was a McDonalds All-American. You don’t get those accolades in high school by coming off the bench.
He also has started almost every single game of his NBA career. Since his rookie season, where he still started 71 of his team's 82 games, Stoudemire has only come off the bench in six games over a nine-year period.
Mike Woodson will have a lot of convincing to do to get STAT to agree that what’s best for the team is for him not to be in the starting lineup. Even if he does finally agree, in the back of his mind he will always be trying to earn his starting spot back instead of just doing whatever it takes to help his team win.
Pro: Added Scoring off the Bench
Amar’e Stoudemire would be the best scorer in the entire NBA coming off the bench.
No other team in the league would have a player who is still in their prime and is averaging 21.6 points per game for their career not in their starting lineup.
That just doesn’t happen.
It will be very difficult for opposing teams to defend Stoudemire when he is playing against their second unit. Most teams will need to completely change their substitution patterns to compensate for a player as strong as Stoudemire not starting.
This could be a huge benefit for the Knicks as they will be throwing opposing teams off their rhythm before the game even starts.
Con: They Won't Be Rewarding His Hard Work This Summer
After the season ended, coach Mike Woodson publicly criticized Stoudemire's ability to play out of the low-post.
So what did STAT do about this?
He went out dropped a reported $50,000 a week to train under one of the best post players in NBA history, Hakeem Olajuwon. Amar'e has said he plans on memorizing every lesson and drill Olajuwon teaches him so he can add them to his repertoire moving forward. He is already excellent at the pick-and-roll and has a consistent jump shot, so adding some back to the basket moves would just make Stoudemire an even more dynamic scorer.
If Stoudemire shows up at training camp with a much improved post game, it would be a shame to have him come off the bench without seeing how it helps the team first.
Pro: Amar’e Will Bring a Ton of Energy off the Bench
The most important thing a sixth man must bring to his team is energy.
Last season, the Knicks struggled at the beginning of the season because they didn’t have a suitable sixth man. Bill Walker and Mike Bibby were getting the most minutes off the bench, with neither player really sparking the team in any way.
Things drastically changed once they added J.R. Smith to the roster. He was able to come off the bench with a lot of energy and put up huge scoring totals for his team. With Smith, the Knicks went 21-14 to finish the season.
Amar’e Stoudemire is high energy all the time.
If he can play with the same intensity off the bench that he does as a starter, STAT will boost the play of his teammates whenever he enters the game. He and Smith will make an extremely dynamic bench duo for the Knicks that can lead them back into games when they start off slow.
Con: A Much Weaker Player Will Start in His Place
The biggest issue with taking Stoudemire out of the starting lineup is the Knicks have no one to replace him with.
The Knicks’ weakest position has to be at power forward. There are two players who they have the option of inserting into that starting spot, Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby.
Thomas is coming to the end of his career and hasn’t started more than 40 games since the 2005-06 season. Camby is primarily a center, not a power forward, and would be much better suited as the defensive replacement for Chandler when he needs a rest.
Unless the Knicks bring in another big man, there will just be too big of a decline in production from their starting unit if Stoudemire is moved to the bench.