The New York Knicks signed big man Amare Stoudemire before the 2010-11 season, and were hoping that he would be one of the cornerstones for getting them back to title contention. He was exactly what New York was hoping for in his first season, but has steadily declined in every season since. Carmelo Anthony chose to re-sign with the Knicks this past offseason, but they simply won’t have a chance at a championship unless Stoudemire can turn things around and get back to being a dominant force.
Can Stoudemire turn things around for the Knicks and become the type of scorer that he was in his first season in New York?
Last season with the Knicks, he end up playing in 65 regular season games and started in 21 of those appearances. He averaged 11.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, and ended up shooting 55.7 percent from the field overall. There is no doubt that he still has the ability to get back to being a dominant scorer, but he has to stay healthy and get back to what made him so successful.
One of the biggest issues has been that Anthony and him don’t play well together. Stoudemire is much more dangerous when he gets the ball in the post or mid-range and is allowed to make his move and put the ball on the floor. Unfortunately, Anthony plays the same way and the two players usually end up clashing and getting into each others way.
Stoudemire is 31 years old, which gives him plenty of time to turn things around and still play at a high level. He has the leadership qualities to be what the Knicks need as well, and will likely be inserted back into the starting lineup now that Tyson Chandler has been traded. That brings up the question of what he has to do in order to turn things around and be the secondary scorer that the Knicks desperately need.
As you can see by the chart, Stoudemire is still extremely effective from inside the lane and somewhat from mid-range. The Knicks need to use him as a face up scorer from mid-range and clear the lane to allow him to do what he wants. Anthony will need to clear out to the other side of the floor and spot up from the three-point arc, which will also give Stoudemire a place to pass the ball if the defense collapses on him.
Confidence and attitude seemed to be another area that he struggled in last season, and that will need to be fixed if he wants to get back to being a dominant scorer. He has to stop getting angry about little calls here and there, and focus on allowing the anger to make him play harder instead. His confidence has to improve as well, and he needs to get back into the mindset of being a go-to type of player.
Defensively, he has always been needing work. That was the case last season as well, but he will be asked to step up in a big way this season. It will be interesting to see how New York’s defense deals with the loss of Chandler, and whether or not Stoudemire is able to pick up the slack.
With all of that being said, it is difficult to figure out exactly what will happen with the Knicks this season. They have a new head coach, and have moved on from some of the issues that plagued their locker room last year. Stoudemire is in line to get another shot as a key piece to a team, and he has a history of taking hold of situations like this one and owning them.
Overall, there is plenty of reason to be excited about the upcoming season for Knicks fans. They might not be championship contenders, but they are going to see an improved team under Derek Fisher and with a bit of a revamped roster. Stoudemire is one of the leaders on the team, and will have the ball in his hands much more than he has over the last couple of seasons. If he can stay healthy, he is going to have a rebound season and should put up good numbers.
Evan Massey is a Staff Writer for HoopsHabit.com.