New York Knicks: Was Amar'e Stoudemire a $100 Million Mistake?
Amar'e Stoudemire is considered to be one of the best power forwards in the NBA today. In his eight seasons with the Phoenix Suns, he was selected to the All-Star team five times. He was also in the top 10 in points scored last season. That being said, he was still Option C for the New York Knicks.
When the New York Knicks signed Stoudemire to All-Star-caliber money, they expected to get an All-Star performance every night. So far what they have gotten is inconsistencies and defensive lapses—not a player that will change the outcome of the Knicks.
The Knicks started last season 1-9, this season they started 3-7. So what did $100 million get them? two extra wins?
The Knicks are 6-8 so far this season, but have not played anyone of any real significance except for the Boston Celtics, and maybe the Chicago Bulls. This is not what the Knicks signed Stoudemire for.
The Knicks didn't pay $100 million for a player that plays defense when he wants to, misses key free throws in clutch game situations or dribbles the ball off his foot. He was paid to be a go-to player in the fourth quarter.
The Knicks paid $100 million so that Amar'e Stoudemire can bring life back to Madison Square Garden, and hopefully bring them Carmelo Anthony.
Stoudemire is a Poor Passer and Prone to Costly Turnovers
Stoudemire is used to a system that did not require him to pass the ball as frequently. He would get the ball down low and either drive for the dunk, or shoot the short jumper.
Since joining the Knicks, Amar'e has become turnover prone.
He has games where he has six and even nine turnovers.
He has dribbled the ball off his foot, and lost it out of bounds on multiple occasions.
Amar'e is getting more attention from the opposing teams defense, and he must learn to recognize the double-team and become a more willing passer instead of forcing the issue by trying to take it to the basket all the time.
Stoudemire is Not Known for His Defense
Defense has never been Amar'e's strong suit.
Let's face it, while playing under Mike D'Antoni in Phoenix, in the up-tempo offense, defense was never part of the playbook.
Stoudemire has gotten by on his pure athleticism, and power dunks.
With the Knicks, where defense is a foreign language, Stoudemire has shown some improvement, but has been outplayed by lesser talent, such as Luis Scola of Houston, who scored 24 points against him.
He allowed Kevin Love, of Minnesota to go off for 31 points and 30 rebounds.
While he had a big game against the Los Angeles Clippers with 39 points and 11 rebounds, Blake Griffin had an even bigger game with 44 points and 15 boards.
An All-Star player has to not only bring it every night, they have to shut down the other teams big men in the process.
Stoudemire is a Poor Rebounder
At 6'10", 240lbs, Amar'e was often referred to as a man-child, a beast in the paint. Yet he has never averaged double digits in rebounds in his eight-year career.
As a Knick, he is averaging 8.5 rebounds, for his career he is averaging 8.9 rebounds, but on a team that lacks inside presence, Stoudemire should average more.
Rebounding is about desire, and Stoudemire has not proven that he can consistently rebound the ball. The Knicks need him to be a force on the boards as well as in the paint.
Stoudemire is Not a Proven Leader
While Amar'e Stoudemire is the best player the Knicks have had since Patrick Ewing, he is not a proven leader. In Phoenix, we all knew who was the heart and soul of that basketball team. Steve Nash had the ball in his hands in crunch time and Stoudemire fed off of him.
In New York, Amar'e doesn't have Nash to hide behind, he is being paid to lead.
He has nine other guys that are counting on him to lead them back to the playoffs.
He has D'Antoni, whose job will be in jeopardy if the Knicks don't make it to the playoffs.
He has Donnie Walsh, who was unable to bring LeBron to Broadway, so now Stoudemire is the star of the show.
Amar'e promised the Knicks will make the playoffs, proclaiming that they were back, even before the ink was dry on his check.
He questioned the heart of his teammates after a five-game losing streak, but what about his heart?
If you can't win with a future Hall of Fame point guard in Steve Nash, how can you be expected to win in New York?
His Micro-Fractured Knee
No one has talked much about the surgically-repaired knees of Amar'e Stoudemire, but every time he stumbles or falls on the court, Knicks fans hold their breaths.
At age 27, Stoudemire has already been in the league for eight years, coming to the NBA straight out of high school.
While he is okay now, how long will his knees hold up? The Phoenix Suns were unwilling to take that risk. They knew that Stoudemire was not worth a five-year deal. That he was not worth maximum money.
Amar'e Stoudemire is a risk, he is considered damages goods, but the desperate Knicks decided that he was worth the risk, despite not being able to get insurance for his knees.
Allan Houston was the last Knick that was given a huge $100-million contract, and we know how that turned out.