It only took one game back on the court, but Amar'e Stoudemire is already starting to stir up trouble in New York, this time talking about his own shortcomings.
Talking to reporters on Wednesday in a practice following New York's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers in Stoudemire's first game back, he quipped on how he had never had a coach teach him defense before.
D'Antoni is not known for his defensive prowess, and has always been much more focused on the theory that the best defense is a better offense.
Throughout his career, Stoudemire has been a poor rebounder for a man with his size and athleticism, as well as a mediocre shot-blocker and a bit of a lost puppy on defense.
He lacks the fundamentals, instincts, footwork or know-how to stop guys from scoring, and seems to lay blame elsewhere for the fact that he's been a poor defender for his entire career.
In the interview, Amar'e refers to Mike Woodson as the first defensive coach he has had throughout his career.
I think just having a defensive coach for the first time in my career is going to help. I've never been taught defense in my whole career, so to now have a coach that actually teaches defense and teaches strategies, and knows positioning and posture, how to guard different plays, it's going to be helpful. I'm going to take it as a challenge, and I'm going to accept the challenge and try to improve as a player.
Now, there's a fine line between openly criticizing his former coach and merely stating a fact, and Amar'e does a tremendous job of tip-toeing that line.
There's a bit of hyperbole in what Stoudemire is saying here.
On the one hand, D'Antoni is obviously an offensive-minded coach, but on the other hand there's no way D'Antoni has made it this far in the NBA without ever teaching defense.
It's good that Stoudemire is finally acknowledging that he needs to work on some part of his game, but this is a long time coming, and to outright blame it on a lack of coaching is strange. At some point a player has to take responsibility for himself.