Amar’e Stoudemire was brought to New York in the summer of 2010 with a monster contract that made him one of the highest paid players in NBA history. He was one of the league’s best big men in his time with Steve Nash with the Suns running one of the deadlier pick and roll combinations in the recent history of the NBA, and the New York Knicks were hoping he could emulate that in New York to revive the awful Knicks.
In his first season, he made the Knicks look like geniuses. He put up MVP numbers and led the Knicks back to the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade. Ever since then though, it has been a different story.
STAT (Standing Tall and Talented), which is Stoudemire’s nickname, played in just 47 games the next season and looked like a shell of his former self. Last season was even worse playing as he only played in 29 games as he faced a plethora of knee injuries, as well as a back injury. It looked like Stoudemire would never be the same again. This season though, with careful minute management and resting at the right times, Amar’e looks to be back, and standing tall, and though not to the caliber of previous years, talented.
Stoudemire has been a key player off the bench for Mike Woodson’s discombobulated Knicks, arguably taking the sixth man role away from lackadaisical shooting guard, J.R. Smith. Stoudemire has been using his energetic dunks that we have not seen in a long time regularly, the dunks that made him famous in Phoenix. His back to the basket game is improved, and he is scoring with ease.
He started off incredibly slow which explains why his stats look so bad, but they do not tell the whole story. In his last eight games, Stoudemire is averaging 12 points and five rebounds a game on 61 percent shooting in only 23 minutes a game off the bench.
That is very impressive for a guy who has had more knee surgeries then games played it seems like, and for someone who was labeled as done.
This whole season has been filled with disappointment for the Knicks. The play of Stoudemire has been a pleasant surprise and something to be happy about, unlike most things the Knicks have been through this season.