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Amar’e Stoudemire still thinks Knicks’ front court trio can work

May 20, 2013, 3:44 PM EDT

Mike Woodson, Amare Stoudemire

Amar’e Stoudemire just dealt with one of the more frustrating seasons of his career. A variety of injuries limited him to only 29 appearances and 23.5 minutes per game when he was healthy enough to suit up. And while he made a return to the Knicks’ lineup in the 2nd round against the Pacers, he saw limited action and was benched in the 2nd half of games 5 and 6.

The question for Stoudemire now, then, is where he fits in a crowded Knicks’ front court that has big money and long term commitments to not only himself, but to both Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler as well. This past season showed that Carmelo is best suited to palying power forward and that Chandler, while struggling in the playoffs, is still one of the game’s best defensive centers. That doesn’t necessarily bode well for the player who was once the face of the Knicks’ franchise.

However, if you listen to him tell it, all he and his front court partners need is more time and that they can make it work:

“We never gave it a chance,” Stoudemire said after Indiana’s 106-99 victory eliminated the Knicks from the postseason. “So I think just the opportunity of allowing them to understand exactly what my style of play is and what I bring to the table is something that I think I’m going to have to sit down with Coach Woody and express to him.”

If Amar’e is talking about this season, he has a point. The Knicks trio of him, Anthony, and Chandler only shared the court for 222 minutes and were a +36 in their time together. They boasted an elite offense (115.5 points per 100 possessions) in those minutes and were able to show enough diversity to keep defenses off balance.

Of course, that’s not the entire story. What those minutes also showed is that the Knicks were horrid defensively when all three shared the floor, posting a defensive efficiency of 107.6 in that span. With Anthony back on the wing guarding small forwards and Amar’e — who’s never been known for his defense — asked to defend the pick and roll or serve as a secondary rim protector, the Knicks’ defense floundered. Not even Chandler’s presence in the middle could make up for it.

If you go back to the 2011-12 season, the numbers weren’t as bad defensively, but the team struggled to produce on offense consistently, scoring a meager 98.5 points per 100 possessions when all three were on the floor together. Some of that was related to the dysfunction that was the Knicks’ season and the change in head coaches, but mostly what we saw was an overlap in role between Stoudemire and Chandler along with Anthony struggling to find space to attack in isolation from his pet spots on the floor.

Moving forward it’s unclear what the Knicks will try to do with this trio, but it’s doubtful that this group will ever fully sort out their issues. Carmelo has shown that his best position on the floor is power forward while Chandler has proven that he can be the anchor of an elite defense from the pivot. That leaves Amar’e as the odd man out and the player who will have to sacrifice his game the most in order to be part of this particular Knicks’ outfit.

That likely won’t sit well with him as he laments not being on the floor even though he acknowledges it is “the coaches decision.” But in reality, there’s really nothing to he can do but accept a role where he’s no longer a feature player — or at least not a starting one. He can still have value as a back up who can terrorize 2nd units with his ability to score. As he continues to improve his post game, he offers the team versatility in their attack and can be an anchor for the offense.

He just shouldn’t expect to provide these skills or serve in that role when paired with Anthony and Chandler. Because even though he says they never gave it a chance, the results tell us there’s really not a reason to.

  1. reesesteel23 - May 20, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    Gone

    • fanofevilempire - May 20, 2013 at 5:42 PM

      where, he’s on the books for 2yrs @ 43mil

      • fatediesel - May 21, 2013 at 12:25 PM

        Yep, it’s virtually impossible for the Knicks to get rid of Amare. Even if they were willing to take back a bad contract it’s unlikely they’d find any takers, especially when you consider that Amare’s contract isn’t insured. They also can’t amnesty Amare because they already used that on Chauncey Billups so they’d have enough cap space to sign Tyson Chandler. The Knicks are pretty much stuck with the roster they have for the next couple years.

  2. 1972sxwife - May 20, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    It absolutely can work. The only problem is Mike Woodson does not know how to coach the offense. He only knows isolation ball, ask Joe Johnson. Jerry Sloan would be the ideal coach for this team. They need a structure on offense. Chandler should spend time with Olajuwon this summer & finally learn some post up moves.

    • fredagsedb - May 20, 2013 at 5:32 PM

      I agree very much.

      When talking Offense, Chandler has use for any team with his high motor, offensive rebounding and Pick & Roll game. Stoudemire can score on just about anybody in the post with his post-moves, size, athlethicism which is still good for a guy his size and a good mid-range shot. Carmelo can post-up, drive, shoot, handle the ball, from just about anywhere on the floor even though he has his sweet spots. Your go to set can be posting up Melo, with STAT a step outside opposite high-post and Chandler a step outside opposite low for clean up duty. 2nd go to set can be posting up STAT with Melo on the wing and Chandler cleaning up. If you double of any of these, you’re leaving a 30+ or a 20+ scorer open in their comfort zone or an athletic 7’1″ center under the basket.

      Now of course this requires both Melo and STAT to become better passers. Melo may need to become a willing passer, which I don’t see him as right now. But they both have the IQ to do it. I think Stoudemire has realized that numbers or ego should not be a priority right now. Has Melo? Has Woodson? (Perhaps, but he can’t really do anything if Melo hasn’t. Then it won’t work and he’ll be fired)

      Regarding Defense both STAT and Melo needs to become more dedicated and skilled. Does Woodson have what it takes to ensure that?

      • fredagsedb - May 20, 2013 at 5:36 PM

        Another thing which I forgot to mention is that it would be deadly if Melo developed his PnR ballhandler skills. Him handling the ball in a PnR with STAT or Chandler screening, with shooters all around will be impossible to stop if he learns to find the right decision off that most times.

      • pantsfreezone - May 20, 2013 at 5:41 PM

        Uhm. Are we talking about the same blackhole Melo has been since he was drafted? Melo doesn’t know how to pass the ball so having him be the ball handler in PnRs is a ridiculous premise.

    • pantsfreezone - May 20, 2013 at 5:39 PM

      Hahaha. It can work if you don’t care about defense and rebounding. Melo, Chandler and STAT are also injury prone. So, yeah, enjoy that nonsense.

      • cantonbound13 - May 20, 2013 at 5:59 PM

        You’re a tool. No wonder why you strike out with women.

      • pantsfreezone - May 20, 2013 at 6:14 PM

        It is a shame you can’t read nor comprehend on top of the fact that you have to root for such a terrible franchise.

        Enjoy mediocrity.

      • fanofevilempire - May 20, 2013 at 6:54 PM

        injury prone, that’s a stretch.

    • fanofevilempire - May 20, 2013 at 6:58 PM

      What does Clyde say when you ask about the trade that brought Pearl to Knickerbockers,
      “check your ego”, if they want to win it can work.

  3. Kevin S. - May 20, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    It can work if Stat basically becomes what Andray Blatche was for the Nets this year. All three at the same time though? I wouldn’t give that lineup much extended run.

  4. moseskkim - May 20, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    Well chandler is more valuable overall than amare. And if u want chandler to be effective on offense, there has to be flow and the lane can’t be clogged. Chandler isn’t skilled enough to just post up but u can get plenty of good looks through lobs and close to the basket stuff where the other man can’t help if Carmelo (at the 4) is spacing the floor.

  5. sageandjudahsdad - May 20, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    Melo is a 3! He takes a beating guarding 4′s and we all saw it against the pavers in the 4th quarters.
    We need a stretch 4, so Melo can go back to the 3.
    Chandler and Stat for Kevin Love and whatever else we need to do to make the salaries work.

    • b-psycho - May 20, 2013 at 5:45 PM

      It’s not position, Melo just isn’t a very good defender. Not like he’s shuttin down opposing 3s or anything.

  6. newyorkfootballjets - May 21, 2013 at 12:04 AM

    Please take a pay cut or we are screwed with replacing our age

    • casualcommenter - May 21, 2013 at 12:55 AM

      NBA players who signed fully guaranteed deals can’t take paycuts like players in the NFL do.

      It’s not allowed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, so even if Stoudemire wanted to, he couldn’t.

  7. cnyphinfan - May 21, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    It could be worse…….we could be locked into the Nets roster for the next 4 years

  8. skinsfanwill - May 21, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    I’m really surprised that no one mentioned the Pg play of Felton. When he was penetrating and getting in the lane it caused problems for everyone defending it. When he laid back and tried to facilitate some offense, it went to the one man show. They need a better point guard who knows how to get his teammates the ball where they best know how to score. Jacking 3′s all day will not win it during playoff time.

    Which brings me to the role players. Everyone and their dog knew the boy Copeland was deadly from distance. Why didn’t he see the floor more often? Where the heck was Novak? Bad coaching lost that playoff series. JR Smith couldn’t hit the sky if he threw something in the air, why keep feeding him? Coach relied too much on his one trick pony while he has a stable of thoroughbreds.

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