What's the Best Way to Solve the Carmelo/Amar'e Chemistry Problem for NY Knicks?
To Amar'e's highly apostrophe'd credit, he's working on it. Stoudemire has been working with Hakeem Olajuwon this summer, honing a post game that would diversify the Knicks' offense. He was even kind enough to give a little preview on his YouTube channel.
Say what you will about Stoudemire's defense, the man works hard at improving his game. Back in Phoenix, after a knee injury robbed STAT of some explosiveness, he fashioned a sweet midrange jumper out of nowhere. Now that a recent back injury is further infringing on his game, Amar'e has gone back to the drawing board, and into Hakeem's offices.
This is a great decision because Stoudemire's game is predicated on pick-and-roll actions with a ball-dominant point guard. The Knicks just jettisoned their ball-dominant PG (Hey, remember Jeremy Lin?) and have decided to eschew the ways of Mike D'Antoni ball.
We are now fully in a New York era of Melo ball. This means a slower attack, with more Carmelo Anthony isolations. Though Melo is not point guard, he is a bit more comfortable creating for Amar'e' out of these isolations.
STAT found space with a cut on the above play, but it provides a glimpse into what the Knicks can accomplish in a '90s isolation-heavy offense. Carmelo Anthony is at his most productive when playing as a bruising power forward. The closer Melo gets to the hoop, the more effective he is.
Since Anthony isn't good at running any kind of pick-and-pop action, it's probably best if Stoudemire works closer to the basket as well. He's been working on a spin move with with Hakeem to find space near the bucket. In Howard Beck's New York Times piece on the lessons, Olajuwon gushes:
"His spin is becoming so sharp and crisp. He could spin all day. He loves it.”
With that spin, STAT could find himself some easy lobs in the Knicks' offense. He could also create for himself on a team that lacks distributors. Lin is gone, and New York's best imitation of a point guard is the holy mess of Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd.
For the offense to function, Amar'e must feed himself. His old game of mid-range jumpers is quite dependent on a savvy passer finding the shooter at the right time. Setting up in the post is a bit different. It merely requires an entry pass.
The hope is that the Knicks could create something similar to that bruising Grizzlies attack with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. The Memphis big men do not operate with a lot of space, but they make the most of it.
The iso-Knicks are sacrificing space for a more deliberate offense. They will need to make the most of what little space they have, and a new post-game for Amar'e Stoudemire is a fantastic start.
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