Amar’e Stoudemire notched career lows in many of his stats and his overall season numbers were rather pedestrian compared to previous years. However to get a better sense of what Amar’e contributed to the Knicks this year, it’s imperative to look beyond his overall numbers.
In fact this season was really the tale of two halves. It seems so long ago but you may recall the first half of the season, when Amar’e languished on the bench while struggling to work his way into meaningful minutes. During the second half, though, Amar’e was inserted back into the starting lineup and quickly made his presence felt as the Knicks played their best basketball of the season.
More important than that might just be a matter of games played: 65. It’s been four years since he’s played that much and proved that despite adversity; he still continues to work hard at being an impactful player.
Offensively Amar’e didn’t pull in the numbers he used to. This isn’t surprising considering the shortened playing time and return from an injury-plagued season last year. He finished with a career low in scoring, 11.9 points per game, but that’s actually not that bad for playing just under 23 minutes a game.
His PER for the year was a solid 18.8 but his offensive performance is best looked at when broken down between the first half and second half of the season.
During the first half, Mike Woodson was reluctant to play Amar’e for many minutes and threw him into games pretty haphazardly, which no doubt hurt Amar’e’s performance as he struggled to find a groove.
In just 19.6 minutes a game, Amar’e scored 10 points a game on 55% shooting with an average of about seven shot attempts. After the All-Star break, however, Woodson decided to play hhim more and inserted him into the starting lineup in all but five games. His offensive production jumped up considerably with 28 minutes a game, on 14.5 points and 57% shooting on over 10 shot attempts. More importantly than that was Amar’e’s offensive production during the Knicks playoff push. In those last 19 games when the Knicks went 14-5, Amar’e scored 15.7 points on 56% shooting.
Per 36 minutes, Amar’e actually averaged a respectable 19 points a game, just about two points under his career average of 21.8. He also continued to shoot at around 56%, which was better than his career norm of 52%. The common refrain with Amar’e is that the more he plays, the better his production improves, and this season was no different on that front.