Amar’e Stoudemire has averaged a little over 14 points to go along with five rebounds in his reserve role during the 2012-13 season for the New York Knicks. Not bad for a bench player you say? For any other team, Amar’e could definitely provide a much needed offensive lift, but for the Knicks, New York fans better pray he does not come back this post-season.
During the Knickerbocker’s Game 2 win over the Boston Celtics, sideline reporter Tina Cervasio noted that Stoudemire had been doing well in his injury rehab and could very well come back for the second round should the Knicks advance past Boston.
Somebody please show Amar’e where the closest fire extinguisher is and get him there pronto! Please, please, please do not allow him to come back and destroy the chemistry of this Knicks roster much like he did that fire extinguisher last post-season.
While he is indeed offensively talented, Amar’e is just as equally, if not more so, a defensive liability. Unlike Kenyon Martin, who brings to the Knicks exactly what they need and is pretty much the polar opposite of Stoudemire, Amar’e has never shown a willingness to do the little things, to play tough defense and to box out and rebound.
Is he better than the likes of Chris Copeland? Jason Kidd? Pablo Prigioni? Probably yes. However, that does not mean that he is a good fit for this squad and should see minutes over those aforementioned reserve players. While Kidd and Pablo are capable of having an impact on the game without needing to touch the ball on offense, Copeland can disappear to the side without clogging the lane and stagnating the offense. Amar’e, on the other hand, cannot.
Stoudemire is more offensively inclined, needing to be more heavily involved on offensive possessions in order to have an actual impact on the floor. Rather than being able to stand on the perimeter, preparing himself for open looks created by Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith, Amar’e will demand a more proactive role in order to be effective, thus changing what has been working so far for the Knickerbockers – ball movement off of the isolation play of ‘Melo and Smith.
The only saving grace here, should Stoudemire indeed come back for this New York squad, is Mike Woodson’s mental capacity to adjust to what is working best for the team. He has given no second thought to allowing Martin crunch time minutes over reigning Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler, and hopefully will show no hesitation, if indeed, Amar’e’s comeback ends up hurting the Knicks more than helping them.