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New York Knicks Must Ditch Amar'e Stoudemire for Good

New York Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire (1) smiles before shooting a free throw in the second half of their NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press
Jonathan WassermanNBA Lead WriterMarch 7, 2014

Sure, he's had some nice offensive moments this season. But don't let 'em fool you. Amar'e Stoudemire isn't the answer for the New York Knicks now, and he certainly isn't for the future. 

Forget about the 18 points he recently scored against the Minnesota Timberwolves or the 22 points he just dropped on the Detroit Pistons. For every game he erupts offensively, there are five where he's consistently getting beat backdoor, on the interior or on the glass. 

You don't have to look at any stats other than the one that shows the team's record when Stoudemire plays versus when he doesn't:

Knicks' Record with/without Stoudemire
RecordWinning Percentage
When Stoudemire Plays13-34.276
When Stoudemire Sits9-6.600
ESPN

The Knicks, who are currently 18 games under .500, actually have a winning record when STAT doesn't play.

It's not necessarily about the production with Stoudemire—it's how his presence can negatively affect the four other teammates on the floor, whether he's hurting team spacing on offense or he's offering little defensive support. 

And when I say little defensive support, I mean negative. He's a target out there. Not that Stoudemire had a chance against Andre Drummond in the first place, but his defensive highlight reel against Detroit the other night was borderline laughable. 

Of course, the box score said Stoudemire put up 22 points. But it didn't account for how many times he got embarrassed on the glass or defensive end. 

His pick-and-roll defense is about as bad as it gets, and it's been that way for years. 

Take at look at Stoudemire surveying the pick-and-roll situation. And then watch him completely lose track of his assignment, as Drummond just sneaks behind him for an easy dunk while Stoudemire stares into space. 

Fox

Fox

"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," Stoudemire told former ESPN and current Bleacher Report writer Jared Zwerling back in 2013. 

Only it hasn't been very helpful, because, over the past few seasons, Stoudemire has posed as a complete defensive liability.  

Though still somewhat of a long shot, the Knicks do have a chance at making a run into the playoffs. And rather than continuously throwing Stoudemire out there, despite his one-way services and the questionable impact he's made, I'd rather see coach Mike Woodson roll with the new fresh 7-footer on the bench. 

Feb 9, 2014; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; New York Knicks power forward Jeremy Tyler (4) shoots the ball over Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Tyler has looked pretty good in his limited action. He's become someone the Knicks need to find minutes for, especially when you consider the declining performance of Tyson Chandler, who's offered little on offense and erratic effort on D. 

Stoudemire doesn't defend or rebound the way Tyler is capable of. And he's not going to cramp Carmelo Anthony's style offensively.

The fact is that Stoudemire isn't going to move the needle for the Knicks in 2014. He hasn't since 2012. And once the offseason arrives, general manager Steve Mills will begin scouring the trade market for potential takers.

The Boston Globe's Gary Washburn reported last week that the Knicks will be looking to move STAT this summer.

And while the occasional pick-and-roll dunk or mid-range jumper might give off the impression he's still got something left, his deceptive offensive production doesn't accurately reflect his in-game impact. 

Stoudemire is making loads of money, the coaching staff and fans adore him, and the dude apparently works as hard as anyone. And with the Knicks stinking, it seems natural to want to play him using a "nothing to lose" mentality. 

But STAT's days of making a positive impact are over, even if the box score occasionally suggests otherwise. 

And there's just no sense in continuing to pretend he's still an integral member of the core or franchise. 

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