Stoudemire’s Return Brings More Questions Than Answers For Knicks

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NEW YORK – Amar’e Stoudemire is ready to play again. And that can either be a good or bad thing for the New York Knicks.

The timing couldn’t be much worse. The Knicks are heading to Indiana for Game 3 on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, ABC) with the conference semifinals tied 1-1. The margin for error is basically nil, because the Pacers are a very good team, the next two games are at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and the Knicks obviously don’t want to go down 3-1.

So, as coach Mike Woodson decides how and for how long to use Stoudemire going forward, he obviously has to be careful, knowing that there’s a decent chance that Stoudemire will hurt his team more than he helps it.

First of all, Stoudemire will be about 10 times rustier than the Heat were in Game 1 against the Bulls on Monday. He hasn’t played since March 7 and will have played minimal five-on-five in practice by the time Game 3 begins. He’s probably not going to be stroking those elbow jumpers of his or beating his defender in the low post right away, especially against the No. 1 defense in the league. He shot 5-for-16 in his two regular season appearances against Indiana.

Secondly, Stoudemire is a defensive liability. He’ll block the occasional shot, but even when he’s healthy, he doesn’t move very well defensively. The Knicks ranked 17th defensively this season, but allowed 105.1 points per 100 possessions with Stoudemire on the floor, a rate that would rank 22nd. If the Pacers are smart (and they are), they’ll run pick-and-rolls at Stoudemire at every opportunity.

Thirdly, coincidence or not, the Knicks had their best stretches this season when Stoudemire was out. They went 18-5 to start the season and 16-2 to end it. He was healthy from Jan. 1 and March 7, the middle of a three-month stretch in which they were basically treading water. They went 16-13 in the 29 games he played.

And of course, it’s been well documented that Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony are a bad mix. If you need a refresher course …

Knicks efficiency with Anthony and Stoudemire on the floor

Season GP MIN OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg +/-
2010-11 Reg. Season 24 672 110.7 110.9 -0.2 +3
2010-11 Playoffs 4 104 87.0 115.9 -28.8 -57
2011-12 Reg. Season 39 976 99.1 102.7 -3.6 -48
2011-12 Playoffs 4 128 100.3 110.0 -9.7 -21
2012-13 Reg. Season 26 432 107.0 110.6 -3.6 -29
Total 97 2,312 103.4 107.5 -4.1 -152

OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

Terrible defense has been the theme in the 2,312 minutes Anthony and Stoudemire have been on the floor together, with the exception of last season. That season, Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler helped make up for the deficiencies of his frontcourt-mates and the offensive end of the floor was the real problem.

Either way, it makes for a tough situation when two guys getting paid $20 million each can’t coexist on the court. And it’s a problem that’s not going away, with both Anthony and Stoudemire under contract for another two seasons after this one. For now, Woodson just needs to figure out what to do with Stoudemire against the Pacers.

The coach said Thursday that Stoudemire will be limited to 10-15 minutes on Saturday, and we know that Anthony is going to play about 40. So there should be some overlap. And if there is, it would help if Chandler is on the floor with them, because his presence has made a huge difference — more on offense than defense, interestingly — in how well the Knicks have played with Anthony and Stoudemire this season.

Knicks efficiency with Anthony and Stoudemire on the floor, 2012-13

Chandler on/off floor MIN OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg +/-
Chandler on floor 222 115.5 107.6 +7.9 +36
Chandler off floor 210 98.2 113.7 -15.5 -65
Total 432 107.0 110.6 -3.6 -29

More than 200 minutes for both sets of combinations is a decent sample size, but it’s also against a variety opponents. The Knicks have just one opponent to worry about now and Anthony and Stoudemire were a minus-12 in 15 minutes together against Indiana this season. Whether Stoudemire has more value in this series vs. any other is in the eye of the beholder.

“We could really use him right now,” Chandler said of Stoudemire on Thursday. “We’re playing against a big team, big lineups. It’s a great opportunity.”

New York has played big (with both Chandler and Kenyon Martin on the floor) for just 10 minutes in this series, and Anthony has been on the floor (at small forward instead of power forward) for less than four of those 10 minutes. Sixty-seven of his 71 minutes have been played at the four.

In the regular season, the Knicks were generally better defensively and worse offensively with two bigs on the floor. But when one of those two bigs was Stoudemire, they were excellent offensively.

And that’s the hope. Though they seemingly broke out in the final 15 minutes of Game 2, the Knicks have had a rough time offensively against the Celtics and Pacers. New York was the third best offensive team in the regular season, but it ranks 12th offensively in the playoffs (last among teams still alive), barely scoring a point per possession. Anthony, J.R. Smith and Jason Kidd have all been struggling, and whether or not New York can maintain the ball and player movement that helped it win Game 2 is probably the biggest question for Game 3. In that regard, Pablo Prigioni‘s minutes are more important than Stoudemire’s.

Stoudemire might be able help the Knicks put some points on the board in this series. He might also help the Pacers do the same.

40 Comments

  1. karmaouz says:

    amare stoudemire, please say thanks to steve nash for your big money, bcause he is the guy who made you look better than you are (so much better). An excellent PG is a machine to overate fashion players like him.
    stoudemire is a guy with limited and basic basketball skills, with a very poor IQ, and with a guy like steve nash an average big like him is 20/10 easy. not the same story when the PG is not really good ;) ;), because he doesnt have any game by himself. but hey, the money is in the bank so it’s allright. he just has to send G looks from the bench

  2. Shaqtuszilla says:

    Amare! Good luck buddy :)

  3. Al says:

    I disagree with this article. Shout-out to Ac, Mehmet and others for not being media drones. The fact is statistics are useful when used correctly, however this article fails to point out several key things. First of when comparing stats you need to compare apples to apples. Good portion of those stats are taken from the D’antoni/J-Lin era, as Amare hasn’t been healthy much under Woodson. Fact is Amare and Melo have a good winning % under Mike Woodson. When Mike Woodson took over, Amare and Melo were clicking and we saw stints of that as well as this season. In addition, the “fact” that the middle of the season is when we did poor with Amare is only part truth. Does that take into account the fact that Felton (Primary Ball handler) was out? To me it’s not a surprise that Amare and Melo wouldn’t be successful without a good ball handler out on the floor. When Felton, Melo and Amare were there we were seeing good things. All in Ac(blogger above) couldn’t have said it better. How can a player of Amare’s stature “hurt” your team? He is certainly better than our 8th, 9th, 10th man so why would an extra body hurt? Stop being media drones. To many times people watch a small clip of a game and follow all the media says when a lot of times it’s skewed to get hype. Stop being media drones. STAT PACK IS BACK!! KNICKSNATION!!

  4. Mehmet says:

    This article blows on every aspect. “Two guys getting paid $20 million each can’t coexist on the court” – WTF does that even mean?

    “Stoudemire will be about 10 times rustier than the Heat were in Game 1 against the Bulls” WOW thats a nice predection, you sure it wont be 11.5 times “rustier”??

    Stoudemire plays good defense, he is a body woodson can put in the paint where knicks have been having issues with especially in this series with the pacers Hibert. I think its great and tonight will show how your predictions are that of expected from a man who looks at tge obvious but rules out the fact that this isnt stoudemires first rodeo.

  5. stophatingstat says:

    STAT is what started new yorks rising, he was 3rd in the MVP race at one point during his early New York days about 2.5 yrs ago. He is a perennial all star when healthy and a better posterizer than blake griffin (youtube top amare dunks). LET the man play, it will boost the knicks’ bench scoring significantly alongside a struggling jr smith.

  6. mon says:

    well we know amare when he is 100% healthy… thats why there’s a forum coming out like this every time he comes out from injury

  7. I am not trying to hear this. Amare will take pressure off of J.R. Smith when the second unit is on the court, which is absolutely necessary, especially if Novak’s issues keep him out for more time. Plus, I am excited to see how he and K-Mart play together. The Knicks went and got Kenyon Martin only after Stat had his knee procedure. If Kenyon Martin can shore up some of the Knicks def liabilities (and I think he can considering Indiana’s sub par second unit) stat will have minimal pressure, making him a viable option for 10-15 minutes. The long and short of it is, the Knicks need to score more and if Stat can come in and do that and be anything but a complete catastrophe on defense, Mike Woodson has to be happy to have him back in the rotation.

  8. I don’t play defense. I don’t like it. I only like offense.

  9. JJJ says:

    Why is this guy allowed to post articles on the NBA website

  10. vern says:

    It would only mess things up if he was starting. Any time you have a player who is a proven allstar multiple times it can never hurt, especially in the playoffs. Starting, he can and will most likely mess up the flow but coming off the bench giving the team 10 good minutes rusty or not is meat added to the pot. if only for intimidation. That’s all Chandler does, he’s sure no offensive threat and alot of times the team is lucky to see him just jump and make believe he’s gonna block the shot. Stoudemire isn’t known for blocking shots but I bet someone would rather challenge Chandler at the rim than Amare.

  11. BBallFan says:

    Although I agree that having Amare can cause issues for the next, both on offense and defense, the Knicks have yet to use him the right way. If you remember his days in phoenix, he dominated because he played the 5, beating centers with quick moves and putbacks. When he played the center, his efficiency rating goes up significantly. What the knicks should do, his play him at the center off the bench with J.R. and Prigioni. Prigioni is great off the pick and roll and he would give stat easy shots in the paint, where he is effective, and not 15 footers.

  12. badbrad71 says:

    With the facts as presented, this Knicks team appears to be flawed.

  13. David says:

    Amare is not a great rebounder or defender, but new york hasnt been that great in the playoffs offensivley so if he could score at least 8 to 10 point while melo and chandler arent on the floor, the knicks have a great chance to win

  14. mortished says:

    Amare is a great player, he can give the knicks the 10 to15 points they need to overplay the pacers offensively, the knicks should play him as an offensive hanball player : you probably don’t know about handball in the us but just put him on the ground on offensive possesions bring someone else in defensive ones

  15. Urtoostoopid says:

    Joan Shoemaker your a bum. The Knicks are going to fine. You articles shouldn’t even be published on toilet tissue.

  16. max says:

    I said before the KNCKS paid the huge price for Amare, that, ( I like Amare) BUT he will not play defense and never goes for offensive rebounds. Someone has to go and get a shot for Amare (like Steve Nash did in PHX) Made Amare to appear as a great STAR, but he really is kinda like D. Howard very over rated. Half Court Players. Hurt teams on the other end of court, better to have someone like Marc Gasol that can play great on both ends of the Court. Howard & Amare are just great in size and can block shots/play defense, but what else can they do to help their teams?????NOT MUCH! They complain, blame teammates, but they are a one man team and Basketball is for a 5 man team. Amare has proved me right, he has NOT improved since his days in Phoenix and Howard has really gotten worse. But for now still a high price product, time will prove he is NOT worth that kind of money.

  17. Jeremy Lin says:

    Trade me back to Knicks

  18. Carmelo Anthony says:

    Trade Amar’e. I’m obviously better. Keep feeding me the ball. Shooting is all I can do.

  19. Dean says:

    Knicks LISTEN!

  20. Gary says:

    Come back to Phoenix Amare! We miss you!

  21. Unkle Daddy says:

    If these two could have worked I’m sure it might have been great, but I told everyone the odds was against this being a good mixture. A’mare was good when he had legs and could fly over you, those days are gone (hear me Blake Griffin, add to your game). He needs to be moved to a team that is in a small market and needs a big that score a little bit. Because scoring a little bit is all he can do, he can’t rebound (not that he ever did) or play defense (not that he ever did) this is why he was so good in Pheonix he ran the floor and dunked. He doesn’t have Nash anymore to set him up, there for he has no game left.

  22. stingray says:

    let stoudemire play..so that the knicks will be kicked out in these on-going play offs…

  23. Patty says:

    I am so glad Amare Stoudemire is coming back. The New York Knicks need him.

    People need to SHUT UP saying that Stoudemire & Melo cannot play together. That is crazy. Coach Woodson can fine a way for them to play together.

    JR IS NOT GIVING THE KNICKS ANYTHING. JR ALLOWED HIS BEHAVIOR TO RETURN AND INTERFERE WITH HIS SCORING.

    KNICKS NEED STOUDEMIRE AND ANYONE ELSE THAT CAN SCORE.

  24. ahmed says:

    Amar’e is a liability on defence, even for a couple of minutes. I was watching a game where he came on for Chandler. The game immediately changed. PGs were getting in the lane with no effort and inside scoring increased, so I would trade Amar’e at the end of the season for a young PF( Tyler Hansbrough)

  25. Your Mom says:

    First of all A’mare is a good scorer, and can get rebounds. When the Knicks can give there two bigs a rest it could a make a big diffrence during the game. I’m pretty sure A’mare will play fairly good but every player makes mistakes, and talking about the Pacers turnovers the knicks have a good chance in beating the Pacers if Melo & J.R. play up too there full potential and knock down shots they can beat them no problem.

  26. Nick says:

    I say he will never get back to old Amare and as Chuck Barkley has said, how can this guy never have average 10 boards a game for a single season? Maybe all this happening to Amare is karma for the Andrew Bogut nudge

    • Rammy says:

      LMAO.. this guy needs a diffrent job he is soooo out of touch

      • Rammy says:

        your listening to charles barkley lol nothing chuck say about NY means nothing we have his foot in his mouth all season..nets better than Knicks…nets will have a better record…ohh we were to be 6 seed @ best… we cant beat miami ….we cant play defence… we cant score so much shooting 3s( we have 2-3 games slips …natural) and it goes on LOL

      • Erien says:

        NY can’t beat Miami in a 4 game series.

  27. Shawn Kemp No. 1 says:

    I’d play him just to have an excuse for losing.

  28. W/E says:

    The Knicks are sooooo screwed.

  29. ac says:

    I really don’t think this article is fair.

    First of all, on a general level I don’t think you can ever make an argument that getting back a six-time all star – even for just a few minutes – will HURT your team. Just saying that aloud sounds stupid John. Amare’s a great player and getting him back will be huge especially given Indiana’s well documented bench problems. Injured or not, I’d Amare Stoudemire on crutches over a healthy Jeff Pendergraph. No offense.

    Secondly, Amare isn’t coming back to play huge minutes and mess up all of the rotations. He’s going to play 10-15 minutes at most to start, and then they’ll take things as they come. All season long, Amare has been a true teammate in saying that its not about him playing max minutes, its about doing whatever he can to help the team.

    Thirdly, we need offense right now! If Amare can give us an extra 8-10 pts a night that would be a huge lift to us. His struggles defensively are well documented (though over the last two seasons they have improved tremendously), but as a reserve who would he be guarding? Jeff Pendergraph, Tyler Hansbrough, Ian Mahinmi. No offense to any of those players but they don’t exactly require lockdown defenders on the low block to be silenced.

    I’m pumped to see Stat come back!

    • keats 80 says:

      Why is everyone going on about the kinicks offense??? I would have thought 105 and 95 in the playoffs against a team like the pacers is pretty damn good!!! I like Amare, but sadly those numbers dont lie he too much of a liability on defense specially now in playoffs

    • GrizzGuy says:

      I feel like everyone says this when Amare comes back but it never ends up the way people want it to, which is with wins

  30. Fuuu says:

    Again?? How many times i read this article in the past two seasons..