A’mare Stoudemire: 5 Reasons Why STAT Will Be Comeback Player of the Year
A'mare Stoudemire: 5 Reasons Why STAT Will Be Comeback Player of the Year
A’mare Stoudemire will be the Comeback Player of the Year in 2012-2013. The New York Knicks will need him to return to the old A’mare, when he was the frontrunner for the MVP award in the early part of 2010-2011. STAT dropped 25 PPG and grabbed 7 RPG for that year, but that was the same season that the Knicks traded for fellow superstar Carmelo Anthony. Anthony’s “me first” mind set took away a lot of potential touches for Stoudemire, and last year he let the frustration get to him. After a Game 2 loss in the first round of the playoffs against the Miami Heat, A’mare smashed open the glass casing to a fire extinguisher, leaving lacerations in his hand and knocking him out of the Game 3, which New York went on to lose.
But this year, we will see a new Stoudemire. Well, in reality it will be the old Stoudemire, the one who averaged 20+ PPG for five straight seasons until he snapped that streak last season with 17 PPG. Basketball analysts, critics, and fans in general have all point to the same reason for Stoudemire’s drop off: Carmelo Anthony. Recently former Knick Stephon Marbury responded “Nope,” when asked if he thought the ‘Melo-A’mare tandem could work. Although it is unorthodox, being that both players really need the ball and room to work in order to be successful, I don’t see why it can’t work. The key is sacrifice by both superstars, because if they want to be able to play with each other, they will find a way. It will help that Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton will be distributing the ball among the Knicks this season.
So now you know- A’mare Stoudemire is coming back strong this season. Here are five reasons why:
1. Raymond Felton
Stoudemire averaged 25 PPG and 7 RPG in 2010-2011, the first half of that season playing with PG Raymond Felton. He was an early MVP candidate, and really was able to showcase his entire offensive repertoire with Felton dishing him the ball. Mike D’Antoni coached STAT for the Phoenix Suns as well the Knicks (up until last season), and ran a pick-and-roll heavy attack. A’mare thrived in this offense, as he is too quick for anyone his size to cover him. Once Felton was sent to Denver in the Carmelo deal, A’mare’s numbers began to decline.
Last season, the Knicks didn’t really have a true PG until Jeremy Lin came along, and Stoudemire didn’t mesh well the breakout star. But in 2012-2013, STAT will be running the pick-and-roll with Felton, acquired by Knicks in the offseason in a sign-and-trade, who averaged 17 PPG and 9 APG during his time with the Knicks. This season, the duo of Felton and Stoudemire will once again take over New York, just as they did in 2010-2011.
2. The Brooklyn Nets
You might be reading this thinking, “What?!” However, if you hear me out, I’ll tell you what role the Brooklyn Nets will play in A’mare Stoudemire’s upcoming season.
The Nets are thunderously making their way onto the New York basketball scene, talking a lot of trash, throwing massive Jay Z concerts at their new Barclays Center, and making some boisterous comments towards the Knickerbockers. Brooklyn Borough president, Marty Markowitz said in news conference: “For nearly 40 years the Manhattan Knicks have shown they can’t bring the championship home to New York, so it’s going to take the Brooklyn Nets to get the job done. So move over Manhattan—enough airballs. You had your chance.” Strong words.
If STAT doesn’t play to the level that he is capable of, it is likely that the Brooklyn Nets will take over the title of “New York’s Basketball Team.” The man who proclaimed that, “The Knicks are back,” in his press conference after signing with New York will not want to see another team take the Big Apple. If what A’mare needs to regain his old form is motivation, the Nets have provided more than enough for another all-star season from New York’s Power Forward.
3. Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon
Over the summer, Stoudemire has worked out with NBA Legend, Hakeem Olajuwon. “The Dream” is training A’mare in the art of post moves, a set of skills that he will need this year. STAT used to be just a pick-and-roll slasher, and then he added a mid-range jump shot to his game. That jump shot elevated him to the ranks of the best Power Forwards in the NBA. Imagine what some work on the post will do! Especially with probably the greatest of all time as big man moves are concerned.
Olajuwon has trained other players such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Dwight Howard. Those are top tier NBA players, and with that kind of work history and success rate preceding him, Stoudemire should be a force on the block this year. How would you cover him? Jump the pick-and-roll? Layup. Sag off the pick-and-roll? Jumper. Let him post up? Now that is the question. We will just have to find out this year.
4. Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony has come out and said that he will become more of a team player this year, and stop trying to essentially run his own “’Melo-Offense.” Here is what the Knicks superstar had to say: “I’m done trying to score 35, 40 points to win the basketball game. I don’t want that role anymore. I can do it. That’s what I do. But in order for this team to be successful, for guys we have right now, we need a more well-rounded team. If I have to sacrifice on the offensive end, I’m willing to do it. It’s easy for me to sit here and say it. But this year it’s going to be locking in and doing it as the leader of this team.’’
A’mare Stoudemire should be drooling right now at hearing those comments. If Carmelo is serious about this, the Knicks will go far, challenge-the-Heat kind of far, because New York does have weapons. The problem is that players get frustrated, understandably, watching Carmelo Anthony chuck up 30 shots some games, and then when they receive the ball or have an open shot, they are reluctant to take it. But this could be the year that Anthony finally understands that he can’t shoot his way to a championship; he needs help, and I’m sure it would be nice for A’mare to see what a pass from Carmelo actually feels like.
I love that Anthony is focusing on winning and not on a scoring title. That means that opposing teams are going to have two all-star caliber, content superstars coming at them night in and night out. Good luck stopping that.
5. He Wants It
If the Knicks don’t get it done in 2012-2013, it could be the end of the ‘Melo-A’mare era. But New York is going to move forward with their superstar duo for this season, and as a Knicks fan, I feel that this will be the year that it finally works. Both ‘Melo and Stoudemire will have to sacrifice for each other in order for a shot to dethrone the mighty Miami Heat, and that is exactly what the Knickerbockers have their sights set on.
The confident player who put up MVP numbers and gave New York hope will defeat his other personality, the player who smashes fire extinguishers and can act like a diva. When A’mare Stoudemire lights it up this year, I won’t say that I told you so. I will simply say that “The Knicks, and A’mare, are back.”
Follow Thomas Duffy @TD_Knicks on Twitter for Knicks news, updates, rumors, thoughts, and opinions.