Our reactions to ESPN’s Top 500 players continues with one of the Knicks’ “Big Three” in Amar’e Stoudemire. ESPN gave Stoudemire a ranking of No. 43. This is a 30 player drop from last year’s ranking of No. 13. He is the third highest ranked player on the Knicks behind the No. 23 ranked Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony whose ranking is yet to be released.
In ESPN’s rankings, Amar’e is sandwiched between four other big men. He is ranked a little higher than Al Jefferson (44) and Andrew Bogut (45). I defiantly agree with this since both Jefferson and Bogut haven’t had the impact that Stoudemire has had on the Knicks. Jefferson is a solid player but hasn’t been a huge impact player like Stoudemire has. Jefferson nearly averaged a double-double with 19.6 PPG and 9.6 RPG. The Jazz are rebuilding and he is a big part of that, but Stoudemire is a better talent and more proven than Jefferson.
In my eyes Andrew Bogut is exactly what you think he is. He is a bust at the No. 1 overall pick and puts up mediocre numbers. He has never been a face of the franchise type player you want in the 1st overall pick and never lead the Bucks into taking the next step. His injuries have been a major problem the past two years and it took me by surprise when the Warriors decided to trade for him in exchange for Monta Ellis. Bogut isn’t the type of big man I want on my team and Amar’e is a lot better than him.
The two big men that are in front of Amar’e on this ranking list are DeMarcus Cousins (42) and Serge Ibaka #41). I can’t disagree with this at all after the season all three of these players put up last year. DeMarcus showed us why he was a such a high draft pick and was very consistent for a second year player averaging 18 and 10. Once he fully learns the game the sky is the limit for this guy.
Ibaka is playing a little something that Stoudemire hasn’t really done most of his career, that thing called defense. He is a part of the Thunder young core and at only 22; many defensive player of the year awards can be in his future. Ibaka averaged 3.65 blocks a game and was on the major reasons why the Thunder made it to the finals. Ibaka and Cousins defiantly had a better season than Stoudemire and based off last year, have a brighter future than him also.
So where does this leave Amar’e? A drop of 30 spots is pretty embarassing when you take into his superstar status and his huge contract. You really can’t blame ESPN for this drop considering STAT probably had his worst year of his career while in his prime. Riddled with injuries and off-court issues, Stoudemire never got into a groove. Add that on top of the non-existent chemistry with Carmelo Anthony and it was a rough year for STAT.
The No. 43 ranking is right where he should be when the big men ranked in front of him so far are: Joakim Noah (36), Roy Hibbert (35), Zach Randolph (34), Josh Smith (31), Al Horford (30), Tim Duncan (27), Marc Gasol (24), Tyson Chandler (23), and Kevin Garnett (21). All these players put up a better season except maybe Al Horford who missed most of the year.
Amar’e has a lot to prove this year. I hope this No. 43 ranking lights a fire under him. He should find it disrespectful. ESPN recognized him as the No. 13 basketball player in the world one year ago and now they think he isn’t an elite player anymore. Amar’e takes things very personal and is very passionate about his game. People are doubting STAT this season and I think he will take this to heart. Bounce back year for Amar’e Stoudemire. Mark my words.