4 Things Amar'e Stoudemire Can Learn from Former NY Knicks Great Patrick Ewing

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IIOctober 15, 2011

4 Things Amar'e Stoudemire Can Learn from Former NY Knicks Great Patrick Ewing

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    Amar'e Stoudemire is one of the 15 best players in the NBA. I say that with full confidence and will argue with anyone who disagrees. 

    But he can still get better. 

    Stoudemire mostly shines on the offensive end of the floor, but his defense leaves something to be desired. And while his offensive repertoire is great, it can become more diversified and even more dangerous. 

    If Stoudemire keeps doing what he's been doing and gets even better, he can become a legend in New York. 

    Patrick Ewing is already a legend in New York, and is perhaps the greatest Knick to ever live. 

    Ewing was a great offensive player in his day as well, but he was much better than Stoudemire on defense. Ewing had some different weapons on offense that Stoudemire doesn't too, even if he didn't have Amar'e's freakish athleticism. 

    Stoudemire can learn a lot from Ewing—if many Knicks fans had their way, Ewing would be a Knicks assistant coach, and Stoudemire would be learning from him every day—and then maybe he can capture the NBA Championship that eluded Ewing for his entire career. 

Back-to-the-Basket Game

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    Amar'e Stoudemire is a terrific post player, but most of his points come when he faces his man up. 

    Ewing was a master at playing with his back to the basket, generating points on jump hooks, baseline spins, counter spins back to the middle and fadeaways. 

    If Amar'e can supplement his face-up attack with mid-range jump shot with a sound back-to-the-basket game, there won't be anyone in the league who can guard him one on one. 

    He's pretty close to unguardable right now, but he occasionally struggled when a shorter-but-powerful defender like Glen Davis of the Celtics bodied him up last season. 

    If Amar'e can take these type of defenders down in the post and score right over them, teams will be less inclined to guard him that way. 

    The more lumbering big men he sees, the better, because he can use his superior speed and athleticism to go right by them for a dunk. 

    Stoudemire is one of the best scoring forwards in the game already, but he can still get better. 

The Fadeaway

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    It's widely known that Amar'e Stoudemire has already had microfracture surgery. While it hasn't yet affected his production, it's hard to believe that it eventually won't. 

    Other than Stoudemire, the only players to have had microfracture surgery and return to pre-microfracture levels of play were John Stockton and Jason Kidd. 

    Microfracture claimed the careers of Penny Hardaway, Antonio McDyess, Chris Webber, Allan Houston and Tracy McGrady, among others. 

    As his knees go, Stoudemire will have to adjust his game accordingly. Right now, he's all power and speed—overpowering guys and blowing by them. He'll have to add a little more finesse in his game. 

    This is why he could stand to take some pointers from Patrick Ewing on how to shoot the fadeaway.

    A raw offensive player coming out of Georgetown, Ewing worked tirelessly to improve his jump shot in his early years in the league. Ewing became so good at the fadeaway that it eventually became his trademark shot. 

    The fadeaway is great because it helps you gain separation from your defender and is nearly impossible to block. 

    As Stoudemire loses athleticism later on in his career, it would be great to have the fadeaway to fall back on (pun very intended). 

Rebounding

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    Patrick Ewing averaged over 10 rebounds per game in every season from the time he was 27 years old until he was 35, with a high of 12.1 per game coming in his age 30 season. 

    Amar'e Stoudemire will be 29 years old next season, and he's never averaged 10 rebounds per game in his career. His career high of 9.6 came in his age 24 season. 

    Ewing averaged more defensive rebounds per game than that in the 1992-93 season, with 9.7 per game.

    Despite coming to a Knicks team that desperately needed help in the rebounding department, Stoudemire actually averaged fewer rebounds per game this season than he did in his last year in Phoenix

    Now that he has Carmelo Anthony to help shoulder the scoring load, Amar'e should be able to devote some more of his energy to cleaning the glass on both ends of the floor. 

    Amar'e is a pretty good rebounder, but he could definitely be better, and his team needs him to be.

    Ewing was one of the best rebounders in the league during his prime, and was particularly good at defensive rebounding. Ewing was great at getting good positions to secure rebounds, while Stoudemire is sometimes seen not boxing out or watching rebounds fall to the ground. 

    Amar'e has actually been a better offensive rebounder throughout his career so far than Ewing was—he averages 2.7 per game to Ewing's 2.3—so if he puts as much effort in on the other end, he'll see a big jump in his rebounds per game. 

DEFENSE

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    Patrick Ewing was one of the best defensive centers to ever play the game. 

    Coming out of college he drew comparisons to Bill Russell, perhaps the greatest defensive player of all time. He averaged 2.7 blocks per game in his career, and altered countless other shots by patrolling the lane with abandon. 

    Ewing was a huge part of the reason the 1990s Knicks were some of the best defensive teams of the decade. 

    Amar'e Stoudemire has all the tools necessary to be the same kind of defensive presence as Patrick Ewing. He just needs to decide to commit himself fully on that end of the floor.

    He is a freak of an athlete with excellent quickness and jumping ability, and he's shown a knack for blocking shots at times.  

    He shows flashes of brilliance occasionally—like when he chased down Derrick Rose and swatted his shot on Christmas Day in the Garden, when he blocked Stephen Jackson's game-winning dunk attempt in Charlotte or when he pinned LeBron's layup against the backboard to seal a win for the new-look Knicks in Miami—but they don't come quite often enough. 

    He could also stand to improve his man-to-man defense, which at times can be pretty bad. 

    The Knicks desperately need to get better on defense if they want to contend for a championship, and it's got to start at the top, with Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. 

    Amar'e needs to show the same energy, effort and commitment on the defensive end that he does on offense.

    He has all the tools to be great—he just has to put them together.