By Michael Tapia
This past summer, Amar’e Stoudemire parted ways with the team that welcomed him into the league wishing to pair up with LeBron James in New York. Knicks GM Donnie Walsh lured the 6’10 big man as part of their efforts to create an attractive team to get James and perhaps another superstar to come to the Big Apple. Unfortunately, the Knicks’ master plan did not materialize the way they expected it to; James opted to play in Miami and Stoudemire’s numbers have declined.
It’s evident that when you’re a big man in the NBA – you will greatly depend on your playmaker to create plays for you – and when you leave the best passer in the game, a dip in your productivity is inevitable.
Steve Nash’s court vision makes him a basketball architect to say the least; and Raymond Felton and Toney Douglas don’t even come close. By leaving Nash, Stoudemire also surrendered the luxury of getting the ball fed in the best of situations.
Stoudemire’s numbers have dipped from .557 FG%, .771 FT%, and 23.1 PPG last year to .457 FG%, .757 FT%, and 20.8 PPG. It’s evident by his field goal percentage dropping a whopping .100 points and averaging 2.3 points less per game, that he is not as lethal on the offensive end. With Stoudemire’s field goal percentage dropping so much, it’s also clear that Felton and Douglas (both PG’s) do not feed him the ball in spots as favorable as Nash.
These are factors Stoudemire should have considered more thoroughly when leaving Phoenix — the effect leaving such a great playmaker like Steve Nash would have on his career.
After leaving Nash and not landing LeBron, is it safe to say that Amar’e took a double loss and virtually jumped off a cliff by going to New York? Will Amar’e ever replicate his Phoenix numbers? Even worse, will he be the next thing that the Knicks touch that breaks?
Time will only tell, but as of now, the Florida native seems to be regretting leaving the valley of the sun. All Amar’e can hope for now is that the Knicks land Carmelo Anthony, and that the move consequently leads to Chris Paul wanting to play for New York in the future. As we all know, Chris Paul and Deron Williams are the future of the league at PG and if Amar’e can pair up with one of those two, then he can hope for a future as bright as his past.
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