| 6 years ago||
Grading The Deal: Knicks Land Amar'e Stoudemire
No matter what happens from here, at least the Knicks didn't end up out on Times Square with two armored trucks of max contract money and nobody to give it to, as some were predicting when free agency began.
Regardless of how much of an upgrade Amar'e Stoudemire is for the Knicks over David Lee, he is undoubtedly a true impact scorer and he makes them a more legitimate player moving forward to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2004 and to pave the way for future free agent signings and/or trades.
Stoudemire's market was a little softer than many anticipated and other teams were unwilling to give Stoudemire a $100 million contract over five seasons unless they also received a commitment from one of the top-tier free agents beforehand. New York felt comfortable going with Stoudemire regardless of what ends up happening with LeBron James, a luxury they were afforded out of Cablevision pockets and also a certain sense of desperation.
The Knicks mortgaged their future, as well as their present, in their pursuit of the 2010 free agency class and walking away with a re-signed Lee and a few role players was not an acceptable option.
So just as the Houston trade to clear the second max slot was something that needed to be done, the Knicks were cornered into landing Stoudemire as a necessary evil.
This begs the question of what sort of return will the Knicks get back on their $100 million investment.
He instantly becomes the best player the Knicks have put on the floor since Stephon Marbury's first season with the club, when he also came over from the Phoenix Suns .
Stoudemire has a career PER of 22.6, which puts him ninth amongst active players. His best two seasons came in 04-05 and 07-08 when he had a PER of 26.6 and 27.6, plus a TS% of 61.7% and 65.6%.
Without question, Stoudemire brings guts and swagger, but he isn't bringing Steve Nash. We have seen players leave Nash and begin to flounder, but I expect Stoudemire to have at least a similar kind of impact as he has had most recently.
Stoudemire was largely a pick-and-roll player with Nash, but he actually saw more offensive chances in the post during the 09-10 season. His efficiency in the post was very strong and he is in no way completely reliable on others for his offense. Stoudemire will destroy players that are either slower or shorter in the post and in ISOs. He commands double-teams, something New York hasn't had offensively for years.
The Knicks will need to find a pick-and-roll partner for Stoudemire and Danilo Gallinari is their best option at the moment. Gallinari was excellent off the dribble when he played in Europe, but he has largely been stuck playing the spot-up shooter role on the Knicks. Until and unless New York has that kind of player, a good portion of the $100 million will be underutilized.
Stoudemire, however, does not give consistent effort defensively or on the glass. He is not particularly good on defense when forced to move laterally, such as against the pick-and-roll and in defending ISOs. He does a good job against the stretch shooters and decent against the post, at least in the sense he has enough length and athleticism to give some resistance to true centers.
If Stoudemire's signing leads to LeBron James or Dwyane Wade, or eventually Carmelo Anthony or Tony Parker, then it easily becomes an A for the Knicks, but this is precursor to several additional moves.
There is a sense that Chris Bosh is ahead of Stoudemire on the power forward pecking order and though I'd rather have the former, the latter is much closer than people realize and might even be the better long-term investment. Stoudemire has had serious issue with his microfracture and detached retina, but he is a durable player beyond that and will play banged up.
Isolating out their 09-10 stats, Bosh had the better PER at 25.0, is a much better passer and a higher volume rebounder, but he also had a career season. Bosh has a career PER of 21.3 and has also plateaued in his development.
Stoudemire has also developed his jumper to the point where he shoots it every bit as good as Bosh, plus he is a much better scorer at the rim. Even though he has a little bit of his explosion, he was during his first couple of seasons, Stoudemire still will frequently dunk on people and in traffic.
Coming into the league one season before the heralded 2003 class, Stoudemire is just a little bit older and has more in common with LeBron on the freak athlete spectrum than just about anyone in the NBA.
A five-year commitment to Stoudemire should not make New York nervous, even though they will be unable to insure his deal.
Grade for New York: A-
Stoudemire comes to New York on a bit of a lonely limb, not knowing what kind of help he will eventually get on a currently depleted team. He conceivably could have waited on the LeBron and Wade to make their final decisions and then picked a more certain roster on a similar contract.
If the Bulls are unable to get LeBron, for example, his presence on the Bulls would be huge and probably makes them a title contender. Stoudemire would be an excellent pick-and-partner for Derrick Rose and then Joakim Noah's presence on the glass and on defense hides those deficiencies.
But Stoudemire considers himself to be every bit as good as those other players and his decision to decide first is to be admired on a certain level.
Grade for Amar'e Stoudemire: B+