Amar’e Stoudemire: Chemistry Boost or Bust

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Knicks power forward, Amar’e Stoudemire who had been sidelined for six weeks after undergoing surgery on his right knee has recently stated that his return to the team is possible for the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs. With the Knicks’ current 2-0 series lead over the Boston Celtics, it appears that this could likely become a reality Coach Woodson and the Knicks could have to take in as soon as Sunday.

Amar’e Stoudemire is a great talent who on any night is capable of making a significant impact but this is just not the case with the Knicks. It seems crazy but if you want to talk STAT, the only one that really matters is that this season including the playoffs, the Knicks are 16-13 with him and 40-15 without him. The Knicks are better without Amar’e Stoudemire in the lineup than they are with him.

The reason behind this is that Amar’e Stoudemire throws off the dynamic where the Knicks are at their best, which derives from Carmelo Anthony playing the power forward position. Increasing his presence on the low block fully opens up his arsenal of offensive moves. This was a key reason as to why Melo was this year’s NBA scoring champion. By increasing the utilization of his extremely polished post game, defenses are forced in the tough situation of trusting their teammate to get a stop or bringing help which opens up opportunities for the Knicks from behind the arc.

This strategy accounts for a huge chunk of their offensive output and therefore the role of the center this season has been to bring his aggression on the floor and have a strong presence rebounding and on the defensive end. Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin have been successful in this role but Amar’e Stoudemire is simply not that kind of player. Stoudemire is notorious for his weak defensive play and has only averaged 5.0 rebounds per game this season in the 29 games he has played.

Now I’m not saying, Amar’e Stoudemire should not even bother getting dressed because it is a mistake to play him but putting him and Melo on the floor at the same time is a mistake. Playing them together just brings less out of both of them.

I believe the way they should use Stoudemire is in an extremely limited role. Preferably when the opponents are playing a small lineup and Felton or Prigioni and him can take advantage using the pick-n-roll. Chemistry is the biggest factor to the success of a team and the Knicks cannot afford to sabotage theirs by playing Stoudemire big minutes just because of his name and that he is a “max-contract player.”

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