Big Trouble in New York?

I’m sitting here watching the 76ers-Knicks game when something hit me: Amare Stoudemire hasn’t really stood out to me this game. Now this is the first time I watched the Knicks play this year so I just took it as if he’s having a bad game.

Stat (Standing tall and talented) did not live up to his nickname to say the least 1-7 shooting, woeful defense and little effort on the boards. He finished with three rebounds, one more than Mike Bibby. I realized maybe this is a season long thing and got my hands on as much New York Knicks tape as I could. What I saw is a player who is struggling with every aspect of his game.

Offensively Amare should be able to score on anybody. He’s 6’10 245 pounds with broad shoulders and a powerful frame. He can out leap most power forwards even after a few knee surgeries, but he also has a very soft touch. He can make shots with range expending out to the three-point line and can even put the ball on the floor.

But Amare is clearly struggling on with his shot this season. He’s only shooting 41%; his career average is 53%. His field-goal percentage from 3-9 feet is down to 25% this year; he was shooting 45% last season, 10-15 feet is down to 23% from 38% last year and 16-23 feet he’s shooting 28% down from 44% last year.

A major factor for this is the Knicks lack of a crafty point guard who knows how to run the pick-and-roll. Last season with the Knicks even after Carmelo Anthony came over from the Nuggets, Stoudemire still played at a high level because Chauncey Billups could run the pick-and-roll with Amare.

For the Knicks Toney Douglas, Iman Shumpert and Mike Bibby are trying to play the point. None of them are the right point guard for Mike D’Antoni’s system. Because of that and having one of the best one-on-one scorers on the planet in Carmelo, these Knicks play a lot more of an Iso based offense.

While Amare is a skilled finisher and shooter he’s not great at creating his own shot; he works better off of a point guard running a pick and roll or pick and pop. When you ask Amare to play in an Iso based offense you don’t allow him to get the easy scoring opportunities he was able to get last season. Having Baron Davis back should help Amare if Davis is healthy, in shape and motivated. Davis showed last year with Blake Griffin that while he’s no longer the great athlete he once was he’s still a skilled passer and can create easy scoring opportunities for teammates off the pick.

When watching the Knicks play on defense you see a team that doesn’t seem to have a plan. They give up open looks, the rotation on help defense is off and they don’t box out so they give up too many second chances. Amare is just as guilty as the rest of his teammates on this side of the ball. He’s never been known as a great defender and being with Tyson Chandler you would think that he would help him on defense. It hasn’t.

Amare has just been playing lazy basketball on defense, not rotating at all, losing sight of his man, ball watching and not even showing a lack of rebounding. This season has seen a drop in Amare’s rebounding numbers at 7.5 down from 8.1 last season. Too many times you see him when the ball goes up just watching or leaking out to try and get a fast break. New York is 24th in the league in total rebounds per game and this is one of the reasons.

Amare is struggling with his shot and maybe losing confidence on the offensive end. The defensive end is partly his fault and partly because New York doesn’t seem to have a real plan on defense. But Amare is too talented of a player for this to be the case all season. I expect him to bounce back, but will it be too late?


About samargaines
I'm just a simple man who writes about basketball follow me on Twitter @SamarG15

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