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What do you expect from Amare Stoudemire this season?
Joe Caporoso - At this point, it is hard to expect anything other than 45-55 games at 20 minutes per night and it even feels like that is being too optimistic. If Stoudemire can give the Knicks that, it will provide a needed punch off the bench. STAT can still score around the basket, despite his putrid defense and inconsistent rebounding. It would be nice to see him near 100% health when the playoffs roll around, even if that requires resting him down the final stretch of the season.
Chris Celletti - Predicting what Amare Stoudemire is going to do on a basketball court at this point in his career is nearly impossible. Who knows if he even gets on the court to begin with? It’s more likely that he suffers a career-ending knee disintegration in training camp than it is him being healthy and playing 70 or so games. But even if he’s somehow healthy and is able to contribute, it’s very tough to find where exactly he fits. Stoudemire is obviously going to come off the bench, providing support for both Tyson Chandler at center and whoever starts at power forward (Carmelo Anthony/Andrea Bargnani/Metta World Peace). Personally I’d like to see some lineups where the second unit goes small, and in those cases Stoudemire could play center while World Peace covers the power forward spot. I’m aware at how super small that lineup is, but at least World Peace provides some of the defense, rebounding and toughness that Stat lacks, whereas pairing up Amare and Bargnani in the frountcourt is, to put it lightly, an atrocity.
In terms of production, though, if Stoudemire is healthy he still has offensive ability. He put up very solid numbers last year in limited action; nearly 22 points and 8 rebounds per 36 minutes, a 22.1 PER, and a .637 ts%. If Stoudemire gives the Knicks this type of offensive production in the 18-20 minutes a night he’s expected to get, he’s going to help them win some games. It will – in tune with most of the team’s issues coming into this season – be on Mike Woodson’s shoulders to find the right combinations and matchups.
Kevin Smith - It’s not his contract year just yet, so I think it’s safe to say that STAT won’t be approaching his All-Star days. Still, if the Knicks stick to the 20 minute a night plan like they claim they will, he should become a valuable commodity off the bench. It would be foolish to think that he’s going to play 82 games, but considering how much Coach Woodson loves small ball, Stoudemire can be a breathe of fresh air when the system gets figured out. While STAT and Bargnani is probably one of the worst defensive duos fathomable, they should provide plenty of offensive punch once the starters come out. As long as he can stay on the floor, I expect Stoudemire to provide double-digit points off the bench, but more importantly bring the leadership and attitude we’ve come to expect from him.
Aaron Jacobs - It’s obvious that most Knicks fans are upset with Amare Stoudemire based on his max-contract and his lack of production on the court thanks to his ailing knees. It has already been noted that Stat will be on a minutes restriction all season long, including resting on the second night of back-to-back games. This means he will probably see no more than 20 minutes per game just to try and preserve whatever is left in those knees.
What is terrible is that Amare Stoudemire is as passionate as they come, his body just won’t allow him to be the player he was in Phoenix. When he came here in 2010 he was considered a savior of sorts after a tough decade in the garden. He, along with Raymond Felton, rejuvenated the franchise and made the playoffs. It’s crazy to think how it’s all gone downhill from there.
If completely healthy I expect Amare Stoudemire to share the court with Kenyon Martin in backup duty, he will average 10-15 points per game, with 4-8 rebounds and he’s going to have to battle to stay on the floor. It’s clear the Knicks are prepared for the worst with Stat and now have the proper depth on the bench after bringing in Andrea Bargnani and Jeremy Tyler, and bringing back K-Mart. Also rumors of another big man being added to the rotation, possibly a true backup center, which couldn’t hurt given all the injuries last season.
Tim Murray - It became more and more apparent after last season that STAT belongs in a more minor role than his contract indicates. I expect Stoudemire to play somewhere between 2/3rds and 3/4ths of the season at around 15-20 minutes per game. Stoudemire has clearly been a disappointment for Knicks fans as a max-contract player but if Woodson can figure out a way to maximize a pick-n-roll offense between Felton or Prigioni and Stoudemire, it could bring back some of that value. Adding a whole new dimension to their offense and forcing teams to prepare for more than just an essentially “Let Melo operate” system is extremely critical because banking on the three mixed with just the general stagnancy of their offense was what eventually led to their downfall last season.
Chris DiGioia - Let me start this off by saying, I have an immense amount of respect for Amare Stoudemire. In one of the most superstar-packed free agent summer in NBA history, Stoudemire was the first player to stand up and sign with a team. Not any team, but a team whose fans were starving to win. Certain people may say he just took the first five-year contract offered to him, but I don’t buy it. Stoudemire electrified Madison Square Garden for the first time, in a long time. He gave Knicks fans hope. That’s why it kills me to hear Knicks fans say anything negative about him.
So here we are, three years into the contract, and Stoudemire’s knees are falling apart. It happens, it is part of the game. He’s a 6’10 human being, whose been running up and down a hardwood court for nearly his entire life. So what can we expect out of Stoudemire this year? It might be no more then 20-25 minutes a game, but he’s going to give it his all. That’s just how the guy plays.
Stoudemire may not be the best defender, he may not protect the rim like he should, but he’s going to be one of the NBA’s best scoring bench players in the frontcourt. I never liked how him and Melo fit on the court, but there’s nothing he could do about it. They can’t help or change the way one another’s game is played. It’s time that Knicks fans embrace everything Amare has sacrificed for this organization these past few years. As long as he’s healthy enough to be on the court, he will showcase the heart he has, and the dedication it takes to be a part of the best team possible.