Amar’e Stoudemire Q + A
SLAMonline catches up with STAT.
by Kyle Stack / @KyleStack
Knicks fans can finally look forward to an upcoming season. In past years, any sense of optimism, such as Mike D’Antoni’s hiring, was mitigated by a lack of accountable players. The Knicks have had talented players — they just haven’t been guys who you would call reliable. Times have changed.
The Knicks are a legitimately exciting team after an off-season of roster turnover. Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler are still in the blue and orange but are now joined for a playoff run by veteran point guard Raymond Felton, athletic big man Anthony Randolph and one of this off-season’s biggest free agent signings in Amar’e Stoudemire.
STAT celebrated his first visit to the NBA Store in New York City as a Knick by partaking in the Store’s “Shop with a Jock” program. He took two kids from the Knicks’ Garden of Dreams Foundation and another who won a contest on his Twitter account for a shopping trip throughout the Store. Then he came back to the center court downstairs, where I caught him with him for his thoughts about Felton, Randolph and Madison Square Garden.
SLAM: You had great chemistry with Steve Nash in Phoenix. What can you do to forge a similar chemistry with Raymond Felton?
Amar’e Stoudemire: Practice. It’s just that simple, just practicing. If you work out as hard as we do, the chemistry is going to come. It’s not hard to play a screen-and-roll game in this League. You have a good passer and good finishers, it’s gonna be successful.
SLAM: You’ve played against Anthony Randolph from being in the Pacific Division. What does he bring to the table?
AS: Yeah, I think Randolph is great. He’s versatile, he’s young, he’s athletic, he can shoot the ball pretty well. And he’s eager to learn more. So, it’s gonna be great for us. He’s a great addition to the team and he’s gonna help us a lot. He’s really going to do well.
SLAM: Is there a part of D’Antoni’s way of coaching that you understand now which you may not have understood when you were with him in Phoenix?
AS: Nah, it’s pretty much the same with D’Antoni. Obviously he’s one of the best offensive coaches in the NBA. So, that’s going to be great for us. Defense is something I’ve gotten better at the past few years so that’s obviously something that’s going to help us as a team.
SLAM: Are you becoming a teacher of D’Antoni’s system to your teammates?
AS: Yeah, absolutely. Anytime you bring in new players to a system like that it takes a learning process to get to know the situation. That’s what this is all about. Training camp is when it really gets down to hard work and execution. Right now, we’re going to get a feel of his offense and get better in training camp.
SLAM: Even with his offense, the Eastern Conference and the Knicks still have a connotation with rough, rugged play. Do you feel pressure to play that way?
AS: Nah, basketball is a matter of will, skill and determination. That’s all we gotta focus on. As long as we play the way we are and so far, this off-season, we keep building and keep improving then we’re gonna be in good shape.
SLAM: What’s considered a failure for the Knicks this season?
AS: I think anything less than what we have to accomplish. We’re looking to definitely have a better record than what we had last season. And we’re looking to hopefully make the playoffs. So those are all goals as of right now. But you never know — in Phoenix we got further than what we expected so maybe we’ll do the same here.
SLAM: You haven’t played a whole lot in Madison Square Garden. Ever have a different feeling playing there?
AS: Yeah, it’s obviously the best platform to play on in the NBA. It’s the best arena in the world, from entertainers to athletes. So obviously it’s going to be a great, great atmosphere every night. I heard it’s sold out already so the fans are excited. It’s going to be beautiful.
SLAM: Nash offer you any advice for living here since he’s here each off-season?
AS: Yeah, I talked to him briefly about it. Steve lives out in TriBeCa. But I’m gonna be near the practice facility so that I can practice every day and put in that work.