NBA Predictions 2010: 5 Reasons Why Amar’e Stoudemire Was a Mistake
The New York Knicks struck quickly in free agency, picking up Amar'e Stoudemire to avoid getting completely shut out in an offseason the team and its fanbase had been anticipating for years.
Of course, the Knicks failed to land any of the "Big Three," as the SuperFriends all chose to play together in South Beach.
Yet New York seems to be optimistic about the future with its new star power forward. Stoudemire is now reunited with former head coach Mike D'Antoni, who helped make him the offensive powerhouse he is today.
Yet, like Joe Johnson with the Hawks and Rudy Gay with the Grizzlies, fans should be a bit wary of inflating expectations.
The Knicks just paid big money for a player who has never been the star of his own team, has battled back from several tough injuries, and who is generally one-dimensional.
That's a summary of why signing Stoudemire will ultimately be a mistake for New York.
Following is a full explanation of why the Knicks screwed up with their major signing of the offseason.
The Knicks Overpaid for Stoudemire
It's obvious; Stoudemire is not worthy of a five-year, $99.7 million contract.
But when only a few big-name free agents hit the market and several teams are vying for them, the price skyrockets. That's basic supply and demand.
The Knicks, more than any other team playing the free agency game, had to do something. The front office had to make a major signing or risk losing its fans for good.
Loyal Knicks fans stuck with the team even though the front office was purposely sabotaging the team's chances at winning for a chance to win the 2010 offseason.
Once Miami and Chicago emerged as frontrunners for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, the Knicks could not wait any longer and jumped to plan B.
Once Stoudemire hits the fourth year of his contract, Knicks fans are going to bemoan his approximately $20 million per year against the cap.
The Bulls managed to get Carlos Boozer for more than $20 million less money over five years. And many experts believe he is a better player than Stoudemire.
James and Bosh are making about $110 million over six years, which obviously is less per season than what Stoudemire is making.
The Knicks panicked and overpaid. Plain and simple. They will regret that down the road.
Stoudemire Has a History of Injuries
That Band-Aid should be the least of the Knicks' worries.
To his credit, Stoudemire has battled back from difficult injuries against all odds.
But those injuries are still major red flags.
Microfracture knee surgery is one of the most difficult procedures from which to come back. Just ask Tracy McGrady.
Stoudemire is arguably the most successful comeback case from that surgery. However, for a 27-year-old to have had to deal with that kind of injury is concerning.
Plus, Stoudemire relies so much on his explosiveness. Without it, his game drops off significantly.
In addition to his knee, Stoudemire had a partially detached retina in his right eye. That's why he now wears goggles.
So the Knicks just got an eight-year veteran who has had major knee surgery and major eye surgery.
Sounds like a disaster ready to happen.
Steve Nash Inflated Stoudemire's Statistics
A point guard is a post player's best friend.
Just ask Tyson Chandler about his success with Chris Paul. Carlos Boozer fed off of Deron Williams.
And of course, Stoudemire thrived thanks to Steve Nash.
Both Nash and Stoudemire benefited immensely from Mike D'Antoni's run-and-gun offense statistically, but that inflation overrates both players.
Hence why Steve Nash has more MVP trophies than Kobe Bryant.
For his career, Stoudemire has averaged 21.4 points per game, 8.9 rebounds per game, and 1.3 assists per game.
Even though New York will ask him to do even more, his numbers won't go up. Raymond Felton is no Nash.
Stoudemire at least has D'Antoni, so his stats won't take too much of a dip initially. But Stoudemire will definitely notice the impact of not having an All-Star point guard.
And fans will find out quickly that Stoudemire's previous success had a lot to do with the players around him.
Stoudemire Has No Leadership Experience
Speaking of Nash and his former Phoenix Suns team, Stoudemire has never had to be the face of a franchise before.
Now the Big Apple is all his.
Between Nash, Shawn Marion, Boris Diaw, Joe Johnson, and others who played for the Suns during Stoudemire's tenure, Amar'e never had a chance to be the "star" of the Suns.
Once he signed that massive contract, the weight of New York was placed on his shoulders.
Help may be on the way in the future, but, for nowm this is his team, and he needs to step up and take responsibility.
Judging by his previous immature behavior in Phoenix, the success of such an effort is questionable at best.
Sure, he may be the highest paid and the most talented player on the roster, but that does not equal leadership. It takes a certain mental fortitude, a certain confidence, and a certain personality.
Stoudemire came to the NBA straight out of high school and therefore never developed such a personality in college. So far, he hasn't in the pros either.
That does not bode well for the Knicks once they inevitably start losing multiple games and Amar'e is the voice of the players.
Stoudemire Does Not Play Defense in the Post
Stoudemire has the same knock on him as Bosh and Boozer have: he doesn't play defense down low.
When he's playing in an offense run by Nash, perhaps he can get away with playing hard on only one end of the court.
Now he doesn't have that luxury, and if the Knicks want to compete with the likes of Bosh, Boozer, Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard, and Josh Smith, they are going to need a strong defensive presence in the paint.
Old habits die hard and D'Antoni does not seem to be the ideal mentor to teach Stoudemire how to defend well down low.
Perhaps Stoudemire can be a game-changer on the offensive side of the ball, but if he's a defensive liability, what's the difference between him and Ben Gordon?
Combine his lack of defense with his inflated offensive stats from Nash and the result is not promising.
Stoudemire is an above-average offensive power forward with a limited defensive skill set.
Stoudemire has suffered two major injuries so far in his career, which have limited his explosiveness and forced him to wear goggles.
Stoudemire has no intangibles off the court and in the locker room. His only legitimacy is that his contract is worth much more than any other player's.
It pays to be pruden, and New York was certainly not in its acquisition of Stoudemire in the offseason.
Until the Knicks find a way to make the pipe dream of Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul a reality, they will still be an average team with a mediocre star leading the way.