By Max Marcilla
Amar’e Stoudemire is entering the 2nd to last year of his contract. Usually for players making over $20 million, like Stoudemire, a goal for a new contract year is to show his team why they should continue to pay him the same amount (or a larger amount) of money the next season. The secondary goal is to show other teams in the NBA that he deserves his $20 million. As for Stoudemire… he should just want to show any team that he could play more than 40 games in a season.
There is no doubt that Stoudemire is a good player. He brought life back to New York and hasn’t disappointed when he has been on the court. However, he isn’t on the court enough to give him praise.
The Knicks are not looking for Stat to be and All-Star in 13/14 (although they would be happy if he was), but rather a consistent, solid, healthy role player. Sad, but that’s the goal for one of the former great superstars in the NBA.
Is this attainable? Many fans would say no, and frankly, I hate to agree with them, but I do. Stoudemire has played 88 games in the last 2 years (not including the playoffs) due to a plethora of injuries. Even before he came to New York, Stoudemire had micro-fracture surgery, a detached retina, and an ankle sprain that sidelined him for 27 games.
But let’s think on the positive folks. If he can stay healthy for a good portion of the season, he can have an impact. At 6’11”, he is long, which will give the Knicks much-needed size on the court. While he isn’t a great defender, he makes up for it on offense. Having the height and being able to make a jump shot is a nice trait to have in the NBA. If he can be consistent on those two fronts he could be a force this year.
Let me be honest, while I am not going to expect a healthy and effective Amar’e, it could happen. I believe Stoudemire and the Knicks organization are handling the situation better. Stoudemire already knows he cannot “over do it” and everyone (including Coach Woodson) in the Knicks organization knows that he will be a maximum 20-minute player. Hopefully this will help him stay healthy. We all know 20 minutes a night of Stoudemire is way better than 0 minutes a night of Stoudemire.
It’s tough for the Knicks because two biggest question marks on the team (Amar’e and Bargnani) are both at the same position, but we will see if one of them can pay off in the end.
Unfortunately, this is all still up in the air… What is the deal with Stoudemire? We as Knick fans won’t know if he can stay healthy, improve his defense, or if he can be a consistent offensive player. We will not know this until at least late October, this is when the Knicks embark on the 13/14 season.