Amare Stoudemire the answer?

Amare Stoudemire is a big question mark heading into the NBA's Free Agent Frenzy.

The first day of the NBA free agent frenzy did not possess the excitement that everyone had hoped it would. Even though a big signing did take place, with restricted free agent Rudy Gay re-signing with Memphis, none of the top guns made any noise on Thursday.

However, on day two Amare Stoudemire is reportedly close to signing a 5 year $100 million contract with the New York Knicks according to Yahoo Sports.

Not flying under the radar but at the same time not in the spotlight, Amare Stoudemire, just recently turned down a 5 year $96 million offer from the Phoenix Suns. In this star-studded free agent class of 2010, Stoudemire has been looking to land a max deal on a championship team. Amare Stoudemire is arguably the best power forward in the league when he is at his best, but in spite of this, I think it would be a big mistake for the New York Knicks if they do end up signing Amare to this big contract.

As the 9th pick in the 2002 draft, Amare Stoudemire has thrived under the Phoenix Suns’ run and gun offensive system. Throughout the years he has expanded his game greatly, most notably developing a now consistent 15 to 17 foot mid-range jump shot. As more of a face up big man, Amare is a great pick and roll player who has meshed beautifully with 2 time MVP point guard Steve Nash.

However, around the NBA, Amare is not just known for his dominance on the court. His mental and physical toughness as well as his intensity are constant question marks in his game, which make him one of the biggest dilemma’s in this year’s free agent class.

There are many good reasons to why teams should not shy away from Amare Stoudemire this off-season. Nevertheless, if your team is going for more than a quality regular season than Amare is not the player meant for you.

Defence. Despite being one of the game’s most dominant big men on the offensive end, Amare is one of the game’s worst big men on the defensive end. It is constantly mentioned that Amare has the ability to play good defence and it is just a matter of him putting his mind to it. Easier said than done.

Part of this problem probably stems from the fact that he played and developed under the Mike D’Antoni seven seconds or less system that allowed him to take plays off on the defensive end. On the other hand, as a top-flight NBA player, it should be Amare’s personal responsibility to take some initiative to make himself into the best possible basketball player that he can be. Even under new coach Alvin Gentry, who tried to instil a better defensive mindset for the Suns , Amare was still having games during the season and the playoffs where he was non-existent on the defensive end.

Potentially Amare could be an intimidating force in the paint, but currently he does not provide the intimidating presence that is a necessity for any championship team. Therefore, it will be a requirement for the the team that does end up signing Amare to either find a defensive stopper to fill the void left by Amare’s defensive incapabilities or to have one already in place.

Dwight Howard led the league in rebounding last season

Rebounding. The defence topic leads into this next reason why I would not take on Amare if I am trying to build a championship calibre team. Even though Amare Stoudemire has never averaged less than 8 rebounds in a season (except for 2005-06 where he only played 3 games), there has always been issues regarding his rebounding consistency. Just like his defence, Amare takes games off on the boards.

For example, in the first two games of the NBA playoff semi-finals versus the Los Angeles Lakers this year, Stoudemire had a combined 9 rebounds in two Suns losses. But in game 3 Amare exploded for 42 points and 11 rebounds in the Suns 118-109 victory. Also, in the that same series Amare had only 4 rebounds in each of the final two games.

There is no reason for a guy with Amare Stoudemire’s physical abilities to not be getting 8 or 9 plus rebounds night in and night out. I’m not sure if it’s that he is unable to bring it every night or that he just flat out doesn’t want to but either way it is a big concern from a front office standpoint.

Intensity. Amare Stoudemire’s game revolves around his ability to stay intense each and every game, which he has proven he is unable to do. Usually, Amare will get at least his 20 points on the offensive end, but as talked about above he does not bring the same focus each game. If you look at the stat sheet every game it would not be obvious that Amare is taking games off on the offensive end. However, if you watch him on a regular basis you will see that there are games where he is not getting to the free throw line and is regularly settling for jump shots.

Again, Amare is too physically gifted to be settling for jump shots during games. It would be impossible to ask of anyone to be 100% intense over an entire 82 game season, but you see a lack of intensity all too often with Amare Stoudemire.

You don’t see Kobe Bryant taking plays off very often let alone entire games off. Amare’s mentality does not scream championship player.

Steve Nash has averaged 10.9 assists in 6 seasons with the Suns

Steve Nash. Maybe the most talked about aspect of Stoudemire’s game is the possibility that he would not be close to the same player that he is considered to be without the distribution from Steve Nash. After a sort of resurgence last season, Steve Nash is still widely considered to be the best point guard in the league. He makes everyone around him a better player as he is always giving open looks and easy buckets to his teammates. Virtual nobody’s such as Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, and Channing Frye have all been given big contracts because of Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns’ style of play.

The question that teams have to answer when considering Amare Stoudemire is whether or not he can produce in a similar manner that he did while playing with Steve Nash.

Nash and Stoudemire had a seemingly telepathic connection sometimes. The way they worked the pick and roll to perfection and the deception of the dribble hand-off made the dynamic duo practically unstoppable at times. Amare Stoudemire has not had a season in which he has averaged less than 20 points in the time that Steve Nash has been around. Granted, Amare has only played 2 seasons without the assistance of Steve Nash.

Despite averaging 20.6 points and 9.0 rebounds in his sophomore season before Steve Nash arrived in Phoenix, I think that Amare’s game relies too much on Steve Nash getting him the ball. Moreover, the 3-point shooting that the Suns have possessed over the years spreads the floor for Amare and makes it so help defence is not as apparent as guys are in fear of deadly 3-point shooting.

There is no doubt that Amare Stoudemire is an absolute beast. However, his constant lack of defence, rebounding and intensity, combined with Steve Nash’s play at the point makes Amare a player who will not take the New York Knicks or any other team for that matter to the promimsed land. Obviously, it was inevitable that Amare would be signed to a big contract at some point, but the Knicks will be shaking their heads at their mistake in the years to come.

Amare Stoudemire is going to produce a lot of good things for the team that he signs with, but one thing that he is not going to produce is an NBA championship.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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About Chris Ross
Questions, comments, suggestions? Send yours to cross_can15@hotmail.com. Follow me on twitter @paintstheblack

43 Responses to Amare Stoudemire the answer?

  1. frankieq says:

    First, thank you for checking out the blog and I have been reading a lot of blogs recently (seeking more on NBA free agency) and I think you have a nice couple of interesting articles on the the FA period. For this article I could not agree more on Amar’e. Now I have been on the notion that if Amar’e is enough to lure in Lebron, I have no problem with the move, however if it is simply plan B it is not a good sight. I agree on all the injury baggage he brings, along with his misleading defensive stats. He may rack up the blocks but he cannot guard a big man like a true center.

    He is under-sized and the numbers aren’t even better than David Lee. I will be posting an article about the available BIGS in the FA pool and how they compare and what contacts they will get and how it doesn’t make sense.

    -Frank Q.

  2. chappy81 says:

    I hate to point this out, but defence is spelled defense… It was bugging me while I was reading :)

    Anyways, I’ve always loved Amare. I met him one time when I was in Phoenix, and he was a super cool guy. I do question whether he really wants it as much as half the guys on the court. He gets by on his superior athletic abilities, and should work harder to improve as a more complete player. I just don’t think it’s in his DNA. He just doesn’t have that KG gene in him.

    I think Nash has made more guys money than anyone in the league!

  3. Idris says:

    I agree with frankie about you have good point on Amar’e. well i dont think intensity will be that much of a problem. Intensity does stem from feeding off of energy. What better place to have greater intensity that the Big Apple.
    i also believe like i said on my blog.. this is mainly to lure in a dwayne wade or Lebron james…

    NOTE: One person i really dont want is CHris Bosh.. i think David Lee could do the same amount of work for less money..

  4. Stevie says:

    Amare wants one thing…bucks and lots of them. You are so on point with the reference to Nash. That’s the main reason Stoudemire will not produce with any other franchise. Just like Malone needed Stockton, Amare needs Nash. (That must make you feel good being Canadian…lol!)

  5. KDog13 says:

    If the Knicks sign a defensive center, Amare could be great signing. His power and strength on the offensive side gives Knicks a go to guy at the rim. I don’t remember the last time Knicks had that guy. It could backfire but it’s better then getting no one when all is said and done.

  6. Thanks for visiting my blog! I’ve got a some family members in Barrie, so it’s nice to see a Canuck out here. On the topic of Stoudemire, I think the biggest factors that the Suns considered (and the Knicks not so much) were his knees and eyes. Apparently he is one freaky poke of the eye away from turning near-blind and one slip away from needing knee surgery again – which would take out his explosiveness altogether. Having those two risks coupled with his now past prime age (29) in addition to your aforementioned concerns of lack of intensity, defense, rebounding and the Canadian basketball Jesus all make Amare the riskiest of the “elite” PF’s out there. However, he is still a great fit for D’Antoni’s system and if I were the Knicks, I come to the realization that LeBron’s not coming and use some of that max money to sign a solid point guard (Raymond Felton/Luke Ridnour) and hope he can run the floor about half as good as Nash did for Phoenix. Then get on their knees and pray that Carmelo doesn’t take the extension from Denver and target him with the remainder of the max and Eddy Curry’s expiring contract next summer

  7. Just want to point out that Amare hasn’t “signed” anywhere (can’t till July 8), and I’m curious as to where you got 5-years, $100 mil. I haven’t seen this anywhere.

    While I agree with your overall points about mental toughness, rebounding and defense (Amare: “De what?”), I don’t think the Knicks can afford to be picky at this point. Hard to believe anything you read with all these conflicting reports, but it sure does seem like New York could be the team that gets shut out. When you factor in Atlanta’s max offer to Joe Johnson, these fresh rumors about LeBron, Bosh AND D-Wade to Chicago (http://ken-berger.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/11838893/22948984?tag=comBlogEntryListCnt;entry22948984), Gay’s new deal, etc., I’m jumping on Amare at this point if I’m Donnie Walsh. We know he fits perfectly in Mike D’Antoni’s system and he’s definitely a big improvement over anybody they have now – yes, including David Lee.

    I don’t think you mentioned the knee, though. That’s a big question mark, especially considering his age and how many of these players with microfracture issues end up having a second surgery five or so years down the road. Plus you have a possible lockout hanging over everything. Even if the Knicks do put a decent team together, they might not be a true contender until Amare’s in his early 30s.

    I’d sign him and then try to flip Gallinari and Eddy Curry’s expiring contract for Carmelo, who’s on the trade market according to Nugg’s management. Sounds like a pretty solid 1-2 to me.

  8. garnett21k says:

    I’d agree with KDog, but the defensive center can’t be a wide body as is the case with Shaq cause as shown in PHX, he clogged up the middle way too much.

  9. KDog13 says:

    I like Earl Barron, and we need someone else like maybe a Ben Wallace…..could be signed for what 800,000.

  10. Bill Sanders says:

    Nicely put! I totally agree. Amare shows flashes of brilliance, but not on a consistent basis. I always say “the quietest 20 ppg in the NBA”. Big men need to be two dimensional. He dunks. He needs consistent rebounding, shot blocking or outside shooting to really be a max player. And we’ll see how his PPG goes down without an elite PG feeding him exactly in the right spots all night long…

  11. jbaker42 says:

    Lots of good points here. Having lived with a die hard Phoenix Suns fan for the past nine months, I definitely see where you’re concerns are coming from. Amare has the ability to be the best player on a good team, but he doesn’t have the skills to be the player that takes a team from average to good. His defensive “shortcomings” were masked in Phoenix by a superior team defense and he rarely created his own shot with the Suns. It will be interesting to see him without Nash this year.

  12. mikeplugh says:

    Hey Chris.

    Look at Amare’s shot blocking under D’Antoni. His last season with coach saw him put up his best all around year and one of the best seasons a big man has ever produced according to PER and TS%. He blocked over 2 shots a game that season.

    Remember that he became disgruntled when the Suns started to tinker and brought in Shaq. He didn’t like the long-term projections of his role in PHX or the money that they were trying to short him. He got back his mojo when the shipped out Diesel and Gentry went back to an up tempo style. He averaged 27 points and 9.6 rebounds over the last 33 games last year. His playoff shortcomings, however, are discouraging.

    I just wrote, as you know, that he’s a brick in the house that the Knicks are building. He adds credibility and legitimacy to a roster that lacked established stars. He’s the talent that know goes with the cap space to lure LeBron? Wade? Melo? Paul? or any lesser All Star talent that might round out our team.

    • mikeplugh says:

      via Alan Hahn (Twitter):

      I’m being told Amar’e believes he can help Knicks get LeBron (recall all-star wknd in feb.). He’s also texting Tony Parker about teaming up.

      See. My point illustrated moments after posting this comment. Watch.

  13. afrescas says:

    I totally agree. Amare is a beast but he isn’t the missing link for a team to win a championship. He lacks on the defensive end and only plays beastly when he feels like it. Another thing, while in Phoenix he had Nash to run the pick and role. That was such a help for him, in New York nobody can play pick and roll with him like Nash, and without a point guard, Amare wont be the same. He isn’t a very good back to the basket post up guy.

  14. Great article, Really took the time to analyse it. Amare isn’t the kind of player that can single-handedly take a team to the playoffs

  15. Zach Mentz says:

    Very nice article. Good analysis. Overall a great read. Seems like you have more than a couple followers/commentators over here on your blog! Nice job though. Is Amare the answer to the Knicks problems? No. But the Knicks sure as hell look like they could get shutout in free agency if he doesn’t sign. Amare is better than nothing

  16. pmanzey says:

    Nice Blog man…lot of good stuff here

  17. Susan Shan says:

    Nice analysis. I agree with your points and would also like to add that the Knicks, with the money they’re throwing at Amare, are doing exactly what their organization has done for the last decade — waste money with bad contracts and bad management decisions.

  18. Management says:

    Amare is NOT the answer. The only way this acquisition makes sense is if the Knicks are using him to lure LeBron or Wade. Along with injury, Stoudemire’s biggest weakness has been his lack of motivation. There’s simply no one on the Knicks roster who is going to be able to push his buttons.

  19. bchetta says:

    Nice blog! Amare is all about the money. I don’t even think he wants to win a title as bad as many of the younger players in the free agent market. I agree with you, if LeBron and Amare were on a team, I don’t think they would win a title. If the Knicks had those two guys and didn’t win it, it’ll just cause chemistry issues between those two guys.

  20. I’ve been reading alot during this free agency period and the criticism that I’ve read alot about the different free agents is that they won’t produce championships. The same thing you’ve said about Amar’e. So what formula does produce a championship? I don’t think that Lebron + Chris Bosh or Lebron + Dwyane Wade will guarantee results either.

  21. Hey Chris, I totally agree with this, especially the part about Nash. Now that he is in New York, I don’t think he will produce the kind of numbers he did when with the Suns just because of Nash. Without the play-making abilities of a guy like Nash, Amare has no one to feed him the ball, or like you said, to run the pick in roll with. It will be interesting to see what the Knicks do to help him out at the guard spot, but I don’t think that getting a big name like Wade, Bosh, or Boozer would exactly help them because of chemistry.

  22. Toby Toro says:

    Great piece, agree with all your points, but I did notice a spelling error. Defense, you have Defence. If you’re British, then it is my error.

  23. Erick says:

    It’s a great article you wrote there. Amar’e obviously needs someone to create plays for him. Most of the readers said he was gonna have a subpar season because of it. Now let’s think for a second. New york have virtually noone under contract. They are probably aware of Amar’e’s lack on intensity, defense, or creating his own shot. They are the experts. I think if they brought Amar’e Stoudemire to New York, they must have a plan. One that includes getting a pass-first point guard. Let’s not forget that there are a lot of free agents thins summer. They don’t need to get a 2 time mvp, simply a good playmaker. They will also need a true center so that Amar’e can play freely and happily at the 4. Gentlemen, be patient. Wait untill NY are done with the singning before saying it was a mistake. If you were able to point out what Amar’e lacks, so can they!

  24. Mike Randall says:

    There you go man. It’s official. Amare to the Knicks for 5 years-100mil. I have a feeling he’s doomed if LeBron, Bosh, Wade, someone like that doesn’t tag along with him. Having a guy like Nash who created space, and dished him the rock in Pheonix was a luxury. Even when they had Shaq, I know he’s aging, but he demands someones attention when he’s on the court. Thats one less person paying attention to Amare. If they can’t get anothe star in there, It’s gonna be tough for him to fight off double teams all night.

  25. Mike Randall says:

    This would be a link to my site. The one when you click on my name on my last comment takes you a garbage blog I started when I was just messing with stuff. randallmichael.wordpress.com

  26. saintbarry says:

    This is a very insightful analysis. Thanks for checking out my blog.

  27. yetibaseball says:

    Great post! I agree with Stoudemire not being able to lead the Knicks, but i thought that signing him may have gotten the attention of Lebron James or Chris Bosh to come. With LBJ or Bosh along with Stoudemire they might work well together like he did with Nash in Phoenix.

  28. Iggy says:

    I absolutely lol’d when I found out the Knicks signed him to a $100M deal, even more when he proclaimed “The Knicks are back!” Yup, the Knicks are gonna go back to their losing ways until they find Amar’e some help, because this guy has spent so many years playing with someone who made life pretty easy for him on the offensive end (Nash), and without a decent playmaker making plays for him he’ll see his finesse game come crashing down. Yeah, there’s no way Amar’e is worth $100M, in my opinion.

  29. howigit says:

    Amare is an awesome, exciting player. That being said, I think New York overpaid for him. It was certainly a bold move on their part, and everyone knows Lebron has wanted to play with Amare. Let’s see if he can lure him in.

  30. martianmelaine says:

    I think the Knicks lost their chance at James when they signed Stoudemire, but I do see Stoudemire being a powerful contender if the Knicks signed on not one, but two strong point guards. But, is Stoudemire going to be their center big man or their powerful forward?

  31. ashbloom16 says:

    I don’t think that Amare is going to be a god sent in New York either, but if they get LeBron, I think the Knicks may just make a great comeback.

  32. Seanathan says:

    I agree that Amar’e isn’t going to lead the Knicks anywhere but he’s a strong component. If they aren’t getting the big three, I don’t think Amar’e is a horrible consolation prize. Hopefully, they can pick up another small piece or two this offseason and then either trade Eddy Curry’s expiring contract by the deadline or when he comes off the books, maybe go after Carmelo (if he doesn’t sign an extension).

    While I concede that Amar’e is a flawed acquisition, what would you have rathered the Knicks done with the options before them?

  33. cbontempi says:

    I said it before and I’ll stick to what I wrote,Amare has one thing going for him in NY and thats his old coach D’Antoni, as quicky as Amare has packed his bags and headed for the Big Apple met with open arms from Jimmy Falon and Dave Letterman in a NY minute this crumbling giant of a BB Player will fall out of grace with the NY Fans.Amare only shows up when Amare whats to show up.his best days are behind him and as far as Lebron and Wade joining him HA HA HA ..the Joke is on NY and their Billion Dollar owner

  34. cbontempi says:

    by the way………Chris Ross you wrote a great post,hats off to you keep up the good work,Cyaaaaaaaaaaa Jay Bontempi

  35. sunyraaam says:

    Nice post. It wouldn’t be surprising if this some how turns into another Eddy Curry situation if/when Amare gets hurt. The Knicks really need to make a couple more moves for lower-tier players if they want this signing to pay off.

  36. I can honestly say that I had no expectations for Amare to succeed in New York. But now he’s playing killer basketball, and it’s almost a guarantee that Carmelo Anthony will end up there at some point so is it possible the Knicks may be able (if only for a moment) be able to turn it around? Well see…the East is going to be awesome this year.

    Meehan

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