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Tuesday, October 18th, 2011 at 11:53 am  |  82 responses

Top 50: Amar’e Stoudemire, no. 11

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Yaron Weitzman / @YaronWeitzman

When the Knicks gave Amar’e Stoudemire a five-year, $100 million contract last offseason, I thought they made a huge mistake. Then-Knicks President Donnie Walsh had run the franchise for the previous two seasons with the one goal—to clear salaries. And now he was spending his precious cap room on a defensively challenged, eight-year veteran with a history of knee problems and reputation for not being the greatest teammate. Not exactly characteristics typically used to describe a franchise player and, on paper, not the type of player who a team should stake its future on.

But basketball is not played on paper, and as much as we like to analyze off-season transactions, it’s impossible to flawlessly predict how a person will react under a new set of circumstances. In this case, Stoudemire was everything the Knicks hoped for. A go-to scorer who could create his own shot. A clutch player. A leader, both on and off the court. The New York spotlight is not for everyone. Many want to be nowhere near it, and those who do, often can’t handle the brightness. Stoudemire could and did. Not only did he play like a franchise player, but he also acted like one.

Never was this more evident than after Carmelo Anthony came to New York. At the time of the trade, the Knicks were 28-26 and Stoudemire was being mentioned as a borderline top-five MVP candidate. He was the king and undisputed leader of the resurrected Knicks. And just like that, he no longer was. Stoudemire helped make the Knicks relevant, but Anthony, the new “savior,” would really be the one bringing the Knicks “back.” Or at least that’s how the story went. Suddenly Anthony was the one getting MSG Network commercials. Suddenly the Madison Square Garden crowd was chanting “Mehh-lo” instead of “M-V-P” for Stoudemire. Yes, Stoudemire appeared to be thrilled after the trade, but it also would have been extremely human if he had begun to feel a little resentment.

He never did.

On the contrary, STAT seemed to go out of his way to adjust to Anthony. Melo might have been taking more shots, but Stoudemire, displaying a personality that he probably never could in Phoenix under the giant shadow of Steve Nash, was clearly the leader of the Knicks, and was providing the franchise with the type of leadership that a $100 million man should.

Leadership and intangibles, however, are pretty useless if a player doesn’t bring tangibles to the court. And as good of a locker room guy as Stoudemire was last season, it was his basketball skills, and specifically, his tremendous offensive game that brought Playoff basketball back to New York and gave The Renaissance Man this No. 11 ranking.

What makes Stoudemire so good offensively is not just that he scores, which he does a lot, but how he gets his points. Stoudemire is one of the best pick-and-roll finishers in the NBA, which is one of the most efficient and effective ways for a big-man to score. A pick-and-roll basket comes off of ball movement as opposed to an isolation play, and it also forces the entire opposing defense to react and shift. In fact, the ability to score within the flow of an offense and without holding the ball is one of Stoudemire’s greatest strengths, and one that many scorers don’t posses. He’s also one of the best shooting and passing big men in the League, which opens up the floor for his teammates even when Stoudemire isn’t scoring and doesn’t have the ball. A power forward who can shoot, pass, take his man off-the-dribble, and who likes to operate from the top of the key—meaning a defense can’t load up to guard him—is nearly impossible to stop, and is the type of player who a Championship team can build its offense around.

Unfortunately for Stoudemire and the Knicks, a Championship team also needs to defend and rebound. For the most part, Stoudemire does neither. For a 6-10 player to average just 8.2 rebounds on a fast paced team where he’s often the only big man on the court is inexcusable. And both his on-the-ball and help defense leave much to be desired. But Stoudemire does block shots, and he does talk about making the Knicks a better defensive team. Talking the talk is obviously not enough, but it’s certainly better than completely ignoring that side of the court.

Will Stoudemire ever lead the Knicks to a Championship? It’s impossible to say. But because of Stoudemire’s decision last July to put New York basketball on his back, that question is no longer a ridiculous one.

SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2011
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Luol Deng Bulls SF 8
49 Andrew Bogut Bucks C 7
48 Ray Allen Celtics SG 9
47 Marc Gasol Grizzlies C 6
46 David West Hornets PF 15
45 Kevin Martin Rockets SG 8
44 Andrew Bynum Lakers C 5
43 Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 11
42 Lamar Odom Lakers PF 14
41 Gerald Wallace Blazers SF 7
40 Brook Lopez Nets C 4
39 Joakim Noah Bulls C 3
38 Carlos Boozer Bulls PF 13
37 Kevin Garnett Celtics PF 12
36 Eric Gordon Clippers SG 7
35 Tony Parker Spurs PG 10
34 Andre Iguodala 76ers SG 6
33 Al Jefferson Jazz PF 11
32 Al Horford Hawks C 2
31 Stephen Curry Warriors PG 9
30 Tim Duncan Spurs PF 10
29 Josh Smith Hawks PF 9
28 Manu Ginobili Spurs SG 5
27 Tyreke Evans Kings PG 8
26 Rudy Gay Grizzlies SF 6
25 John Wall Wizards PG 7
24 Danny Granger Pacers SF 5
23 Monta Ellis Warriors SG 4
22 Joe Johnson Hawks SG 3
21 Paul Pierce Celtics SF 4
20 Steve Nash Suns PG 6
19 Zach Randolph Grizzlies PF 8
18 LaMarcus Aldridge Blazers PF 7
17 Chris Bosh Heat PF 6
16 Kevin Love TWolves PF 5
15 Rajon Rondo Celtics PG 5
14 Blake Griffin Clippers PF 4
13 Pau Gasol Lakers PF 3
12 Russell Westbrook Thunder PG 4
11 Amar’e Stoudemire Knicks PF 2

Notes
• Rankings are based solely on projected ’11-12 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Maurice Bobb, Shannon Booher, David Cassilo, Bryan Crawford, Sandy Dover, Adam Figman, Jon Jaques, Eldon Khorshidi, Ryne Nelson, Doobie Okon, Ben Osborne, Quinn Peterson, Dave Schnur, Abe Schwadron, Dan Shapiro, Irv Soonachan, Todd Spehr, Tzvi Twersky, Yaron Weitzman, DeMarco Williams and Ben York.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Number 2 PF in the league?

  • http://www.slamonline.com UNFROZEN CAVEMAN LAWYER

    HE NEEDS TO GET 10 B0ARDS A GAME DAMMIT.

  • Hum

    first!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Slips

    ::waits for all the ignorant haters to come filing in::

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    lol it defeats the purpose when you talk about how good a guy is on offense and then say he doesn’t defend or rebound. – Yup, top 11 in the league plays half the sport.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Megatron

    not better than pau gasol

  • http://www.jcolemusic.com Showtime

    Well this thread is about to go down (basement)*

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Totally disagree with this ranking. No way is Amare a better PF than Gasol and for all that talk about how he carried the knicks before Melo arrived and was an MVP candidate, NY was only 2gms above .500. That doesn’t sound like an MVP or the 2nd best PF to me.

  • bigrose174

    @Jtaylor21. They were only 2 games above 500 at the time they made the trade. Which was after a 6 game losing streak due to players like wilson chandler, Gallinari and Fields playing not handling all the trade talks and playing below the level they wer eplaying at all season.

  • http://www.jcolemusic.com Showtime

    I predicted this and stated many times this a no bueno Slam. How do the Hype knicks have two top 10 caliber players but get swept by Men Of A Certain Age*

  • maxillious

    He is not even better than Lamarcus Aldrige.

  • bigrose174

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think he’s the 2nd best PF in the league neither, but he was an MVP candidate the first half of the season. Give him dat.

  • riggs

    because the celtics are a better team you fool.

  • B

    They got swept in the playoffs but melo was by hisself while his help was hurt…

  • Dagger

    “He’s also one of the best . . . passing big men in the League.” I’m sorry: what? A guy whose turnovers far exceed his assists? And just in general: how can a terrible defender, poor rebounder and inept passer be one of the top 3 bigs in the game? Seriously?

  • http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/page/mediator-111018/nba-lockout-george-cohen-save-season Allenp

    Amare might be the worst passing big man in the league, not the best. He doesn’t even consider passing.

  • Slips

    AllenP, first true ignorant hater. Didn’t watch many knicks games last season, eh? Amare had a career high in APG. Became a much more willing passer as the focal point of the knicks offense.

  • ctkennedy

    As a Knicks fan should be higher than Melo first off…he is the best scorin big n the league ….he get alot of hockey assist ..like the writer said his ability to roll n not just pop …gave all the shooters on the Knicks open shots ….Knicks was the second best ft shootin team n the league ..Imagine if DHoward could shoot them as good as Amare..like Melo he can lock up when he need too

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    He is a horrid passer. Horrid. Just because he gets assists (because he was the only Knicks worth double teaming for most the season) doesn’t mean he’s a good passer.

  • http://www.novalight-imaging.com novamike

    Amare carried the Knicks through the first 2/3 of the season and made them at least respectable, something that had not been in a decade. He was EC Player of the Week two or three times. If he hadn’t been injured, the Knicks would have made a better showing against Boston. For sure, they’d have won at least one or two games.

    I can’t help feeling Knicks were a better team before the trade. I’m not sure Amare and Melo’s style will ever really mesh.

  • Selwyn ( UK )

    This is way too high. Too many years with Mike ( no D ) as his coach. Too many bad habits. Can’t get 10 boards in an uptempo team ! Can’t pass. Can’t defend his position. Weak.

  • BAWSE

    HE took a TERRIBLE KNICK team and made them okay. Pau didnt do that nor did a lot of others. He was their best player for most of the year and played up to the spot light. Knock his game all you want but he still had them playing .500 ball.

  • http://shinefluid@aol.com yada

    LETS STOP THE DUMB ISH!!! cause cant none of those dudes yall barking about carry the new york knicks the way amare was doing. BY HIMSELF!!! no nash no melo, just a few good role players. REMEMBER amare was in the MVP discussion for half the season

  • BAWSE

    For those swinging on Larmarcus Sac, one could easily argue Larmacus had a better team around him. Amare was very explosive and impactful. Just ask the GREAT steve nash how much he missed Amare? All the Steve Nash for goat pg fans got really quiet when AMARE LEFT.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Steve Nash got an MVP while Amare was recovering from Microfracture. I’m sure he’s fine without him.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Actually, a 23yr old PGasol (3rd season) led Memphis to 50wins and their first ever playoff appearance. So yes, Pau has been the focal point of a team before while leading them to more wins than Amare (42-40), who had Melo for a 1/3rd of the season.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Just strange Slam. Did you think on the PF, Center choices at all? They are terrible. Dirk, Pau, Z-Bo, LA, Bosh, Love, Amare imo. I won’t even get into the Centers…

  • http://Www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Amare, top 11 in today’s NBA. *snicker*
    I see it was a good decision to stay away from most of this year’s Top 50 posts.
    Comment count has gone way down on this Slamonline staple anyway, really time for a new gimmick in place of this.

  • Slips

    LOL ONLY PLAYERS ARGUABLY BETTER ARE DIRK AND PAU.

    “Just strange Slam. Did you think on the PF, Center choices at all? They are terrible. Dirk, Pau, Z-Bo, LA, Bosh, Love, Amare imo. I won’t even get into the Centers…”

    THE BOSH AND LOVE ISH IS HILARIOUS, THOUGH.

  • http://slamonline slams chuck barkley

    I think this is a good rankin for amare..its crazy how.a nba lockout has locked out peoples memory.look at wat he did for the knicks while every one was questionin the signin from the beginning.he brought ny backkk.was deff a mvp canindate before melo came..and most importent he made ny a place where stars wanna play again..he and melo will win a lot of games tohgether once they figure out how to play with eachother offensivly..den they need a big man who jus bangs the boards and plays solid d..someone like delenbert or chandler.if that’s happens I think they could be lookIn at a top 3 seed in tHe east

  • http://shinefluid@aol.com yada

    PAU GASOL AINT 23!!!thats the problem with that statement. HOW GOOD WAS AMARE WHEN HE WAS 23? i remember amare KILLING duncan in the playoffs back when duncan and the spurs were in their prime!! then he got injured. so lets not bring up back in the day talk

  • KH10

    It’s funny how KLove gets killed on here for grabbing TOO MANY rebounds, and Amare gets killed for not getting enough when the universally loved Lamarcus A averaged the same 8 boards in nearly 40 mins a night. This is a great spot for Amare he had 28 and 12 against Boston in game 1 and only lost the first two games by 5 points combined, If he hadn’t got injured it would have been a much different series.He’s a unique player who doesn’t really fit into the conventional idea of a PF as is Dirk, who also doesn’t rebound or defend well for his size and position.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    SLAM’s rankings:
    10. Deron
    9. Dirk
    8. Carmelo
    7. Paul
    6. Durant
    5. Kobe
    4. Rose
    3. Wade
    2. Dwight
    1. LeBron

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    That was for the cat that said “Pau has never been the go-to guy on a team like Amare was for the Knicks”. I was just pointing out that a 23yr old Gasol was the best player on a 50win Memphis team.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Don’t y’all know there’s no reasoning with Knicks fans?
    It’s gonna be like “IAMORANGE4EVER Emulation Day” today and whenever Melo gets ranked…

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    Amaré isn’t better than ZBo, LA, Blake and Pau and you can make a solid arguement for Klove and BO$H!

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I can’t believe people think Amare is a good passer.
    That dude is horrible! That was one of the main weaknesses that killed them against the Celtics. Once the Celtics start sending help to Garnett, Amare refused to make smart, timely passes. Same things with Melo.
    I can’t believe people believe this. This is mind-blowing to me.

  • http://www.gil1906.com Pve_2

    I think a part of the Knicks’ downfall during the regular season and the post-season is that Carmelo ALWAYS jacked a last-second heave when the game was on the line. Even with some of Melo’s success, I’d much rather see the Knicks dump the ball in to Amar’e in the future and have him kick the ball out if need be. Having said that Amar’e may be the most pivotal player for the Knicks, but Carmelo is the better individual player, which I assume this list goes by.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Aldridge plays defense, his low rebounding numbers get more of a pass because of it. But it is still an issue. Amar’e doesn’t rebound in addition to not defending. Offensively he is top 3 PF’s. The rest of the game though, he’d be lucky to be top 20

  • MUBWAR

    just like reasoning with a bulls fan about Rose…

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    nbk, hold up. As of yesterday, you said that Amare’s the 2nd best PF, now you’re saying he’s Top-3 (offensively). So which one is it? Is he a better PF than PGasol?

  • Slips

    Aldridge plays defense? yeah, such phenomenal defense on dirk in the 1st round. Gimme a f’ing break.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Um, I think if nbk said Amare’s the second best PF, he was being sarcastic.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I never said that. I have Amar’e behind Dirk, Pau, Lamarcus, & Griffin. Right in line with ZBo. — Slips, are you talking about the round where he shot 45% averaged more turnovers and less rebounds then in every other series? that one? I think Aldridge did as good as you can hope against Dirk. Seeing as how he just bullrushed the whole league for a title, and crushed “defensive standouts” like Serge Ibaka and Joel Anthony on the way. But that’s my opinion

  • http://thahiphopcorner.com Kevin

    Im really liking Slam’s rankings better than ESPN’s

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Or JTaylor are you just referring to me pointing out that Slam had Amar’e as the 2nd best PF in the league? “nbk Posted: Oct.16 at 2:59 pm
    And Amar’e is the 2nd best PF in the NBA lady’s and gentleman.” That was more like disbelief then anything else. Wasn’t saying it was right, quite the opposite.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    nbk, oops. My fault, I thought you were being serious. Don’t mind me though I must trying to get an argument started on this quiet a** board because I’m at work and ESPN has stolen Slam’s thunder with their top-5 list.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I feel you, that’s how I felt yesterday. What is the order of ESPN’s top 5? I am busy as f*ck at work, only got this site up on standby

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    5.Dirk
    4.CP3
    3.Wade
    2.DHow
    1.LeBron
    I have a feeling Slam’s Top-5 is going to be similar to this expect for Kobe replaces CP.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    That’s about what I have as mine, LBJ, Howard, Wade, CP3, Bryant. Dirk at 6.

  • jessdogg

    It’s there prediction for the upcoming season ffs… when will you people roll with it.

  • King David

    WAY TOO LOW, put him on Miami instead of Bosh n the Heat win 7 championships

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    I think SLAM is gonna overrate Rose though guys. My personal top 5 is Bron, Dwight, Wade, CP, Kobe. But, seeing how much young guys are favored (see: Love, Westbrook), I have a feeling Rose will be way up there.

  • http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/wizards/a-quick-guide-to-the-issues-of-the-nba-lockout/2011/10/11/gIQAon1ZbL_story.html unf*ckwitable

    hmmm Amare can bang offensively but he’s only playing half the game. Dont like this ranking.

  • chingy

    Not saying Bosh could do it in the NY spotlight, but “A power forward who can shoot, pass, take his man off-the-dribble, and who likes to operate from the top of the key” sounds exactly like Bosh. Also, Bosh is a better rebounder and one on one defender.

  • zach

    ESPN finally got something right.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Shut up, MUBWAR.
    You’re the worst cat on here when it comes to trying to reason with someone.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    You and LakeShow Carlissian.
    Ha ha

  • http://www.nba.com/celtics lightsout

    wow, the last bunch of comments has me realizing how many guys in the league right now have a legitimate argument for being in the top 5. such talent right now. too bad we’re in the middle of a &%$* lockout.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    What Enig said. To address Amare and his position, yeah, he’s probably too high. His offensive talent is tremendous and he can single handedly carry his team to wins just on one side of the floor. That said, it doesn’t make up for his defensive ineptitude. I’d put him in the 14-18 range.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Princess LeiakShow Dammit!

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    amare is the second best pf in the league? good lord…….

  • Cameron

    Just imagine where Stoudemire would be if he didn’t get microscopic knee surgery

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Co-sign KH10 on the rebounding. Lamarcus Aldridge is quite possibly a poorer rebounder than Amare Stoudemire. He did play alongside Marcus Camby, though. But still, Aldridge has never even gotten 9 boards a game.

  • http://Slamonline.com Mars

    You and @NBAonESPN are just getting fans all wilded up. These rankings are horrible. Let the people vote. At least Quake Griffin isn’t top ten yet. Monta Ellis top 10 for sure, Josh Selby gotta be top 20, for roastin’ BJennings all summer…lol,ok all jokes aside, Kevin Durant or DWYANE (spelled correctly) Wade are pound-for-pound the best in the game. 1.DWADE & KDTrey5, 2. LeBron, 3. Kobe 4. DHoward 5. Dirk, 6. DRose & CP3 & DWill…you decide on that last one

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Portland has played the slowest pace in the league Aldridge’s whole career. Amar’e has never played on a team outside the top 5. Amar’e also doesnt play any defense.

  • http://Slamonline.com Mars

    Oh I’m sorry…Amare got left out, and Melo too. It could be argued that they could be top 5 too. #11 is kinda dirty for Amare. Just saying.

  • http://Slamonline.com Mars

    LaMarcus Aldridge Or DeAndre Jordan???

  • http://Slamonline.com Mars

    OVERRATED & UNDERRATED, it’s the cool thing to do in the NBA…maybe that’s why there’s a lockout. just sayin.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    I think Mars’ IQ and age are somewhere around Amare’s ppg and rpg respectively.

  • http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/wizards/a-quick-guide-to-the-issues-of-the-nba-lockout/2011/10/11/gIQAon1ZbL_story.html unf*ckwitable

    Mars wtf are u saying?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    ^lmao, anyway, I think amare is the second best pf in the league after Dirk and after this upcoming season(hopefully) he’ll take a back seat to Blake as well. I think amare impacts the game more than those other guys besides dirk. AM I the only one getting tired of seeing lamarcus aldrige being brought up. Maybe I didnt watch him close enough because apparently he went from being a good player not yet playing to his full capabilities to this beast who greatness can only be touched by Dirk after his improvement last season.

  • BBaller

    The depth of big men talent in the nba is pretty shallow if STAT is considered or ranked this high.Where have the quality low post 7 footers gone? The 90s were amass with them!

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    LMAO @ Caboose

  • Zabbah

    I find this statement hard to swallow: “…but Stoudemire, displaying a personality that he probably never could in Phoenix under the giant shadow of Steve Nash…”
    Under the giant shadow of Steve Nash? Really? The same guy who immediately takes the blame for a teammate’s mistake even when it’s not Nash’s fault? The same guy who was fined by his coach Don Nelson if he took less than 10 shots per game? Amare had a problem with this guy? I doubt it very much.

  • http://www.sellyourpropertyprivately.com.au Ricko

    I’d take Amare over Gasol any day – great choice! But how is Jennings in front of Bogut? Here’s a clue, take Bogut out of Milwaukee and see what happens. Do the same with Jennings, and you won’t even notice the difference in the W L column.

  • T-Ray

    He’s a great player but higher than Pau? I can’t agree with that. I would rather have Pau due to his foot work and ability to pass out of the double team. That’s really the only thing that seperates the two but it’s a big difference.

  • http://www.acb.com A l a n

    Pau Gasol is over Amar’e anyday, no doubt about it.

  • JJ

    He stats wise was better than Pau including rebounding and is a better defender and shotblocker than Pau. This rating seems just about right.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNKNu4j_y1Q nbk

    Pau averaged more rebounds, assists, and less turnovers. On a higher % shooting. it’s pretty safe to say Pau is clearly better then Amar’e at every aspect of basketball but scoring.

  • http://youtu.be/MZ58FEoGucU Courtney Blou

    Until the owners will get real and end this f###ing lockout you watch my fan tribute to my Jewish hero – Amar’e Stoudemire. i call it – Stoudemire and my boobs :)
    http://youtu.be/MZ58FEoGucU

  • Charles

    Pau would chew this punk out man.

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