As sad as this is to say, Amare Stoudemire’s days as a superstar in the NBA are behind him. With a pair of knees that would be lucky to make it through half of a regular NBA season, STAT has got to be considered almost an afterthought by Knicks fans now. He has the heart of a warrior and will never stop trying to be an impact player, but it’s clear that the Phoenix Suns were right in saying that he didn’t deserve a max deal back in 2010. The Knicks know as much now given the fact that they have three legitimate starting power forwards on the team in Andrea Bargnani, Kenyon Martin and Stoudemire.
In the off-season we have already heard about a undisclosed knee procedure that Amare Stoudemire had back in the early summer, followed by head coach Mike Woodson saying STAT will not play more that 20-25 minutes per night and won’t play the second of back-to-back games. All that being said I still don’t expect Stoudemire to stay healthy all season. Trying to preserve an NBA big man with bad knees will only get you so far and Stoudemire has had back issues to go along with the knee issues.
On the court Amare had a subpar season given the very limited sample size we saw from him in 2012-2013. He only played in 29 games and averaged 14.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per game. STAT also posted a PER (Player Efficiency Rating) of 22.16 which is actually pretty high given the league average is around 15.00. Problem is that these numbers are well below Stoudemire’s career averages of 21.3 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.
When examining Stoudemires shot chart from this past season the one positive takeaway is that he is finishing at a high percentage at the rim, something a lot of Knicks players don’t do well, and he is very efficient from the field. Keep in mind that the green zones on the map show a higher shooting percentage from the zone than league average. On the other hand his outside shooting seems to have all but diminished given his work trying to shift to a post player. Another reason for his outside shot faltering could be that he doesn’t play enough to get into a shooting rhythm.
So what can we expect form STAT this year?
Well given the fact that he really can’t play on the court with Carmelo Anthony, who is the focal point of the Knicks offense, Amare Stoudemire will be relegated to bench/backup duty in 2013-2014. He could see some time at backup center and backup power forward. Expect that if Andrea Bargnani goes down with an injury, Kenyon Martin could step in to start which would mean a bigger backup roll for Stoudemire. The problem the Knicks face moving forward with Stoudemire is that for all he can do offensively, he hurts you greatly defensively.
Stoudemire is a poor one-on-one defender and a decent at best help defender. He does use his 6’11″ frame and 7’1″ wingspan to alter shots at the rim, but he’s nowhere near as intimidating at the rim as Tyson Chandler. The Knicks really can’t rely on him to backup Tyson Chandler given the polar opposites they are on the court.
The Knicks don’t have many players that can legitimately play in the post and Stoudermire happens to be one of the players that can. His role will be determined by his health which will be a question mark until the day he retires. I will say that with the extra rest this season Amare Stoudemire will average 12-14 points, 4-6 rebounds and 0.5-1.0 blocks per game. Given the minutes restriction I don’t believe Stoudemires jumper will ever be quite as effective as it once was and he won’t be able to establish a rhythm from the mid-range. He however will be efficient from the paint and post again and might be the Knicks most effective player from that range.