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Friday, October 12th, 2012 at 12:03 pm  |  47 responses

Top 50: Amar’e Stoudemire, 30

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Leo Sepkowitz / @LeoSepkowitz

Who is Amar’e Stoudemire? Is he STAT—Standing Tall And Talented—like he claims to be? DRAT—Declining Rapidly And Talented? RBMAT—Ruined By Melo And Talented? Apple’s newest product, the iPAT—Injury Prone And Talented? Or is he just the 18 and 8 productive big man that his stats suggest?

It’s fair to wonder whether, if Stoudemire didn’t play under the bright lights of New York, we’d be so worried about No. 1. But he’s a Knick, and, more importantly, he’s Amar’e Stoudemire.

Amar’e Stoudemire won the ROY award a year after graduating from high school. Amar’e Stoudemire flies through the lane, latches onto a bounce pass and throws it down so hard you think the backboard might come down. Amar’e Stoudemire pulled a young yet down-and-out Knicks team out of the slums and into contention.

And yet his numbers from last season would have him slightly below the likes of David Lee and Carlos Boozer. It seems like there are three factors in play when asking why, exactly, Stoudemire doesn’t look like the player once thought of as a dominant big man.

First, he’s banged up… constantly. In a season shortened by 16 games because of the lockout, Stoudemire missed roughly a third of the Knicks games. The main problem is his back, which nagged him all season and may impact him this season, too. Back issues seemed to take away much of his aggressiveness on offense, as he turned into more of a face-up shooter than post scorer last season. He’s also playing on a surgically repaired left knee.

Second is his ability to play alongside Tyson Chandler. Yes, Chandler. Most people pin Amar’e’s lack of touches and buckets on Carmelo Anthony, but I’ll get to him later. In 44 games at power forward last season, Stoudemire averaged 17 and 8 while shooting 47 percent from the floor. In three starts at center, he averaged 23.3 points on 67.4 percent shooting to go along with 8.3 boards. A small sample size at the five, yes, but numbers don’t lie.

There’s no question that Chandler helps Stoudemire on the defensive end, but they haven’t meshed offensively. Chandler takes up space in the lane and gets plenty of touches under the hoop, making it tougher for STAT to operate down there. That was good for the Knicks but bad for Stoudemire himself. New York’s two post presences must develop better chemistry this season.

More importantly, of course, is Stoudemire’s inability to co-exist with Carmelo Anthony. Some stats would show that they do, in fact, fit together just fine. For instance, last season, in nine games in which Anthony dropped 30-plus and Stoudemire played, Amar’e averaged 18.5 points—not bad.

But actually watching games tells a different story. The two have an incredible lack of chemistry on the floor, and when one gets hot the other disappears. The Knicks have not figured out a way to involve both guys in the same game at the same time, and until they do that, they can’t be considered a real threat in the East.

Don’t believe me? Look at what they did in the Playoffs against the Heat. In Game 1, the two combined to go 5-22 from the floor for 20 points. They lost by 33. In Game 2, Melo got it going with 30 points and Stoudemire added 18 on 6-9 shooting. The Knicks played a close game throughout and pulled within four in the third quarter in Miami, but ultimately lost by 10. Stoudemire didn’t play in Game 3 after injuring his hand punching a fire extinguisher, and Melo scored just 22. Miami won by 17. In Game 4, Amar’e returned to score 20 points, going 8-13 from the field. Melo went for 41 and the Knicks won their first Playoff game since 2001. In Game 5, Melo dropped 35 but Amar’e put up only 14 points before fouling out, and the Knicks lost.

Carmelo Anthony can revive Amar’e’s career or sink it. When the two are clicking simultaneously, the Knicks are very tough to beat and there’s less pressure on both of them, allowing both to play even better. And it’s reasonable to think that they’ll figure it out. Amar’e still has a lot left in the tank, there’s no question about that. He didn’t average fewer than 17 points or 6 boards in any month last season despite ongoing injury and chemistry issues. Plus, STAT has been working with Hakeem Olajuwon this offseason and says that the upcoming season will be the dawn of a “new era” for him. Let’s hope so.


Where should Amar'e Stoudemire rank in the SLAMonline Top 50?

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SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2012
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Greg Monroe Pistons C 8
49 Tyreke Evans Kings PG 14
48 Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 13
47 Stephen Curry Warriors PG 12
46 Ricky Rubio TWolves PG 11
45 Al Jefferson Jazz PF 14
44 Anthony Davis Hornets PF 13
43 Serge Ibaka Thunder PF 12
42 Al Horford Hawks C 7
41 Ty Lawson Nuggets PG 10
40 Danny Granger Pacers SF 6
39 Tim Duncan Spurs PF 11
38 John Wall Wizards PG 9
37 Monta Ellis Bucks SG 8
36 Zach Randolph Grizzlies PF 10
35 Roy Hibbert Pacers C 6
34 Tyson Chandler Knicks C 5
33 Eric Gordon Hornets SG 7
32 Kevin Garnett Celtics PF 9
31 Manu Ginobili Spurs SG 6
30 Amar’e Stoudemire Knicks PF 8

Notes
• Rankings are based solely on projected ’12-13 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jake Appleman, Maurice Bobb, Rodger Bohn, Brendan Bowers, Franklyn Calle, David Cassilo, Bryan Crawford, Adam Figman, Eldon Khorshidi, Eddie Maisonet III, Ryne Nelson, Ben Osborne, Allen Powell II, Sam Rubenstein, Jonathan Santiago, Abe Schwadron, Leo Sepkowitz, Dave Spahn, Ben Taylor, Tzvi Twersky, Peter Walsh, Tracy Weissenberg, Yaron Weitzman, DeMarco Williams and Dave Zirin.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    So this write up makes me question why he’s even on the list, let alone ahead of Kevin Garnett.

  • JR

    I…agree with you. I did some reading last night, and KG is still way more of a beast than I gave him credit for. That being said, I still don’t think KG will be a top 20 NBA player next year due to age and the roll he will be asked to play for most of the year. Time will tell I suppose.

  • JR

    STAT might be the worst defender on this list (and maybe even amongst all starters in the NBA, or even more). This year is do or die for him.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    that’s cool that you don’t believe he’s top 20 or will be, i have no problem with that. My main problem is Garnett being underrated, how underrated he is, is purely opinion. I realize my definition of where Garnett should be isn’t a universal truth or something like that, i just feel i have great reasoning as to why he should be ranked higher.

  • JR

    Do you have your top 50 listed somewhere?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    it’s on the Tyreke Evans page.

  • spit hot fiyah

    how can u not play good offense together with tyson chandler? all he does is catch oops and put back your misses. it’s not like he is posting up demnding the ball all the time or jacking up shots

  • danpowers

    so you would be pleased and not be complaining if garnett wouldve ranked, say no 20 and stat 32? send a petition to slam, id sign it lol

  • LakeShow

    He could have a great year. 22-9-1.5 on 50+%
    If that’s the case then good placement. If not… If he puts another 17-8 year out, then he deserves to be outside the top 40 with his bad defense.

  • http://twitter.com/niQknacks niQ

    lol huge drop in rankings.

  • danpowers

    hold a sec. stat not in your top 50? motherfucker! lol

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    If he and Melo still don’t mesh this season, I wonder who goes first….Him, Melo or Mike Woodson. I’d still be a little upset if I were him. An MVP candidate with a young talented team around me less than 2 years ago and then almost half of the squad is traded for Melo and Billups. Billups is let go, Chandler shows up later and now there are two guys who are interfering with me playing my game.

  • Drig

    Why is he above KG?? Again, why? This write-up didn’t even make me think twice……

  • russian guy

    Kevin Garnett was the main reason the banged up Celtics squad nearly won vs the Heat and if it wasn’t for Lebrons historic game 6,this fairytale of the ‘small ball NBA’ would have been destroyed in the second round.Amare over KG is baffling.

  • JR

    stat is tough to rank. He plays almost no defense, he’s injury prone, and the new york front office has built pretty much the worst possible team around him. I’ve heard reports that many people in the organization want Melo to play the PF; what does that mean for Amar’e? Is he a 20 million dollar per year 6th man? Could that actually happen?

  • JR

    But there’s really nothing to suggest this is going to happen. Unless Ray Felton is the answer…and there’s nothing to suggest that is gonna happen either.

  • russian guy

    Kevin Garnett was the main reason the Celtics had a chance vs the Heat,and if it wasn’t for Lebrons historic game 6 the Heat were out in round 2.Putting him above Stoudemire,who frankly didn’t perform even as good as say Al Jefferson and who is actually a negative to his team with the bal-stopping,rebounding and taking away the chance to play Melo as the 4,this rating is really not apropiet.

  • JR

    The more I think about it, it’s really tough to say. He just played so well (offensively) without Melo on the team; I just can’t see them fitting well together. You also gotta question his durability, he’s injury prone, has played a lot of basketball and will be 20 years old next season. I say we see him slip even further down the rankings next year.

  • russian guy

    *ball-stopping/appropriet

  • LakeShow

    What is he Benjamin Button’s lil bro or something?
    20 years old? haha. 30 I assume?

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    So you think Amar’e is the problem instead of Melo because he makes it so that Melo can’t play the 4? I could say that Melo takes away shots from Amar’e and Tyson clogs up the lane so Amar’e has no room to operate. All depends on how one wants to look at it. I don’t think anyone can make any kind of good argument for Amar’e being a negative on the team. If anything, he’s now surrounded by guys who he doesn’t fit in with. Not really his fault given that he was there first and he was doing extremely well without them as was the team. James Dolan decided to add a shot happy superstar for really no good reason at all except for star power.

  • danpowers

    as a knicks fan i am not able to speak bad about stat. in 10/11 he brought us back on his shoulders. he didnt play good defense that year but he brought that spark and the knicks back to the playoffs. last year was an injury battled off-year. i am optimistic and just hope he stays healthy this yr. he is better than nbk speaks him bad and his conditioning will probably worse than i hope. the truth about stat is somewhere in the middle. i dont see him more valuable than garnett but not ranking him in the top 50 at all? bitch please. i dont even see marc gasol above him just because capable centres are a rare commodity nowadays. i aggree on your point, that he is tough to rank now, lets judge him in a couple of weeks when we see how ny actually plays

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    I don’t see any reason to put a guy in the top 50 just because he scores points. — I’d have to put Kevin Martin in the top 50, I’d have to put Andrea Bargnani in the top 50, I’d have to put David Lee in the top 50, shit even Marcus Thornton would have to be considered.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Dan, you realize I live in Phoenix right? I have watched the vast majority of Amare’s games throughout his career. I understand completely the player he is and can be. In New York, next to Carmelo (even if he tells you he is going to pass more) I don’t see anyway Amar’e become the offensive threat he was that used to make up for the defensive liability he doubled as.

  • Datkid

    Amare is in no way better than KG. in NO way. If you the knicks traded amare for KG right now the knicks would be better offensively and defensively while still being fast and athletic. Amare used to be a monster but… no. just no.

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    If Steve Nash is on the list, that’s not possible homie.

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    IF ANYONE EVEN THINKS ABOUT PUTTING ANDREA BARGNANI IN THEIR TOP 50, I WILL STAB MYSELF IN THE EYE WITH MY CAR KEYS!

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    We don’t want that shit.

  • what

    Bad rebounder, bad defender, injury prone, declining, and built his offensive rep playing with a Hall of Fame point guard. Way too high.

  • Ethos

    Unfortunately for STAT, his defense (or lack thereof) has a much larger impact on the team’s defense than Nash’s, given that he plays in the middle and Nash is on the perimeter. Nash is actually not a terribly bad defensive player as everyone makes it sound: among PGs his defensive stats have been middle of the pack or a bit lower than average over the past several years.

  • Surety

    In all honesty: Duncan, Randolph, Hibbert, Chandler and Garnett were all better big men than STAT was last year. Quite frankly, he has fallen off a cliff since the Melo trade.

  • danpowers

    compared to martin: better per, higher win shares, better defensive rating and even better defensive win shares.

    compared to bargniani: slightly lower per – almost even 17,7 to 17,9. but higher win shares, better defensive rating n even better defensive win shares. (both were hurt last season so look at the seas. b4 if you want. then its no contest advantage stat and u know that)

    compared to thornton: slightly higher per, better defense, higher win shares, etc.

    you rank him that low because he plays absolutely below your expectations in regards of what he is/was capable of doing and what he unfortunatelly does/did due to his athleticism and how poorly he used it on defense and rebounding. his overall package and impact is still better than the overall package many other guys have to offer e.g. those you mentioned above.

    we also had this one b4 about him. in 2010/11 i watched every knicks game and he was at least trying to defend and putting some effort into that. he still kind of sucked at it but he sparked the whole team which lead the team to a playoff run. that just showed that he never really learned to play defense on nba level. i dont want to blame antoni but i think spending most of his carreer under him and coming out of highschool together with a lack of “defensive talent” is an explanation for that. you will surely see him a little changed this season if healthy, he plays with chandler and under woodson now after a full training camp.

    you might have to be prepared to see him in the mid 20s next year. just if he cant stay healthy then you will be right with your ranking and we probably wont see him in the top 50 at all next year.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    I am not saying Amar’e is equal to those players, I’m saying that’s the category he falls under how I rank players. He to me, doesn’t do enough, or his one strength isn’t great enough to make up for all the holes in his game. I was just drawing easy comparisons. .
    But, Dan you gotta use win shares and defensive rating in context. Win shares are relative to how many games a team wins, if Stoudemire played in Toronto his win shares would be relevant to the amount of wins Toronto had on the year. By playing on a team with more wins, each player will have more win shares. — and defensive rating is how many points per 100 possessions a player approximately gives up, so Stoudemire playing on a better defensive team (assuming he plays with the best defensive players for the bulk of his minutes) will have a defensive rating that reflects his teams strength. If you look at the Knicks roster you will see only 4 heavy minute guys had a worse defensive rating on the team (Carmelo, Fields, Novak, and Baron Davis) – again I’m not arguing Amar’e is worse than Bargs, but the context of the stats don’t really prove the point in this situation)

  • LLORT

    I like how you corrected your spelling by spelling ‘appropriate’ wrong again.

  • danpowers

    i know how these numbers work and yes, the knicks are more successful and to me stoudemire is also a reason for that. even though he had a supbar season he is one of the teams leaders. i use these figures to point out that he helps ny play successful ball like he is doing since he got acquired.

    to be honest he wasnt my first choice as a knick fan (b4 “the decision” we all wanted lebron any knick fan saying something else lies). but then the way he apporoached that ny thing from day one was just awesome, totally identifiying with the team and the citty and bringing the squad back to relevancy. in 10/11 he put that team on his shoulders. leave aside the bad luck he had injury wise and with ptivate issues this past season: you still gotta give him credit for his passion and the role he played and still plays in revamping the knicks. the solid team defense is mostly chandlers and woodsons job but he is still a big part of anything positive happening in ny.

    you could argue that they were just a 7 seed in the east but compare anything the knicks did during the last 10 years to the stat-knicks of the last two years. exchange stat with bargniani, thornton, martin (or any of this category / players with big holes in their game) since 10/11. the knicks would still be where they were during the isiah thomas years. wins are the number on which i measure a good player. stat may not be a champion type of guy but he aint a loser neither.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Well I hate to break it to you, but the Knicks were better without Stoudemire in 2011-12 by 8.8 points per 48 minutes….and were only 1.0 points per 48 minutes better with Stoudemire in 2010-11….meaning, he’s hardly the reason they are winning. Atleast not as a teammate of Melo’s (his effect on NY without Melo was much greater then once he was added, but with him, for all the time they’ve spent together, have been a losing team with them on the court together.). And he doesn’t have bad luck with injuries, he is structurally vulnerable. Why do you think Phoenix didn’t match New Yorks offer? It wasn’t because it was too expensive, it was because they refused to insure his contract or guarantee it. There were health stipulations. When the best medical staff in the NBA (and maybe all of sports) won’t approve a player for structural reasons, injuries throughout their career should be expected —- and Amar’e is injured as I type this…

  • danpowers

    yup i know the numbers from 82games.com and i bet you watched some knicks games then you saw why the knicks were struggling with him and melo on the floor. (at least he still features 4 of their 5 best lineups)

    i jus agree on the health issue, that was a very risky move. i also know that the knicks werent able to get an insurance on his contract and also the suns medical staff’s oppinion (which kind of scares me). as you know i am an optimistic person when it comes to my team and ill just knock on wood that he gets /stays healthy even though the odds are against him. anyway, as long as he doesnt actually go down with another severe injury ill see his ranking by slam as reasonable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/qcollingwood Interdico Scriptor

    true true

  • http://twitter.com/bjollz Björn Atli Davíðsson

    I’d take ZBo or Al Jefferson over STAT any day. And KG eats this dudes lunch.

  • russian guy

    Well,I agree.The bigger problem for NYK is how they constructed this team,thinking an Iso heavy player and 2 PnR big men can mesh without a Point Guard who can orchestrate the offense is insane and not the fault of Amare.

  • http://twitter.com/hubertdavisfor3 hubertdavisfor3

    Why the lies? Was just as good offensively without nash in his first season as a knick. And he’s an AVERAGE rebounder for his position.

    Had a rough season as many did during the lockout. Didn’t exactly help that his brother died. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

  • russian guy

    I was so in anger writing my comment,I eff’d up pretty hard.Also with ’round 2′ I of course meant the Conference Finals.

  • russian guy

    I just can’t see the trading Melo.They ripped apart their whole team for him,made him the face of the franchise with no hesitation what so ever.Amare to me seems pretty untradeable.I guess it will be Mike Woodson.I sometimes ask myself if a ‘ball movement’ coach like Rick Carlisle could save the Knicks.

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    Steve Nash is possibly the worst defender in the league. And in a league with few dominant big men and at least a dozen or more high quality guards Nash’s problems are a bigger issue.

  • Ethos

    You’re making big proclamations with little evidence to back it up. Defensive stats say that his defensive impact is either neutral or slightly negative but no where near indicative of ‘worst defender in the league status’. Those same stats when evaluating a truly wretched defender such as Amare confirm what we see with the eye test that his presence on the floor actually hurts the team defense…a lot. Great pgs are obviously more prevalent than ever in history and there’s a reason for that: the way that the game and rules are constructed today makes it very difficult to contain any decent pg one on one. Team defense matters far more than it did before and big men have far greater impact on team defense than pgs.

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    look, defensive stats are shifty at best. Anyone who has watched the League for the past ten years knows Nash is one of the worst if not the worst defenders in the League. If you don’t believe that, then that’s your choice. No need for me to argue. He’s one of the most efficient and best players ever, but he’s terrible on defense.

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    He clogs the lane. Amare counts on an open lane and floor spacing to use his quickness. However, Amare did play with Shaq in Phoenix run the Pringles offense and he was dominant. So, the problem is also the offense and Melo. But, Shaq commanded respect that Chandler doesn’t on offense which makes it harder for the other players to score.

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