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Amar’e Stoudemire

A car crash worth watching: New York Knicks Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Raymond Felton, SG J.R. Smith, SF Metta World Peace, PF Carmelo Anthony, C Tyson Chandler
Key Bench Players: SG Iman Shumpert, PF Andrea Bargnani, G Beno Udrih, PF/C Amar’e Stoudemire When Healthy, PG Pablo Prigioni, PF Kenyon Martin
Notable offseason additions: PF/C Andrea Bargnani, SG Tim Hardaway Jr., PG Beno Udrih
Notable offseason subtractions: PG Jason Kidd, SF Steve Novak
FACT OR FICTION #1: Andrea Bargnani will be a key contributor off the bench for the Knicks.
FACT. Most people derided this trade, because trolling the Knicks is “in” and the Knicks usually make bad trades. #ANALYSIS. This is just the world we live in, and as Knicks fans, you have to get used to it.
There was a time where Andrea Bargnani actually had some basketball skills. He was a 7 footer who could score from the block, shoot the 3, find the open man when the double-team came. He has averaged 40% from 3 for an entire season. He has averaged over 20 points per game for a season. There are not many 7 footers in the NBA with those line items on their resume. Yes, he is a rebounding zero. Yes, the most quotable commentary when you search “Bargnani defense” is “LOL”. Yes, he freaking stunk last year. But he is a big who can score, who is only 28, and who may just be salvageable.… Read more...

Pau Gasol for Amar’e Stoudemire? Pure Fiction

From: Andrew Hova
To: KOBEsh
Date: 8:21 pm, November 27th, 2012
Subject: Amar’e for Gasol? Oh please make it sooo

This was an e-mail I received last night as I got off of a plane. In a panic, my fingers couldn’t light up Twitter fast enough. I was stricken with my worst fear come to light–not so much that the Lakers were close to trading Gasol, but rather that New York Knick Amar’e Stoudemire would be the quarry. 

I searched and searched, but all I saw was speculation. There weren’t any solid reports, just rumors floating around that a swap of the two disaffected power forwards could be a possible deal going forward. Both men aren’t entirely happy in their current environments and roles on their current squads, and more importantly, have largely underperformed the last year and a half. Switching the two wouldn’t be an entirely far-fetched idea, based on various factors of their ages, contracts and personnel redundancies on the Lakers and Knicks, respectively.

That being said, there isn’t a scenario where this trade would be anything but an outright disaster for the Lakers.

At this point, such a pact is purely rumor-mill material. But just to nip this one right quick, there’s no way that LA should or would pursue this deal as a one-for-one switcheroo. 

1). Contract length and cost

First and foremost, this is a money issue. Pau is owed just a bit over $38 million for this season and the next. Amar’e on the other hand, is scheduled to receive over $64 million in salary over three seasons…without insurance due to his balky knees. Yes, both players might be in a simple need of a scenery change, but doing so for the sake of an extra year and nearly $26 million dollars just isn’t worth it. More importantly, this would nearly cap out the Lakers in the summer of 2014, when Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace and Steve Blake come off the books to the tune of $60 million dollars. Amar’e’s prospective salary would shutter the possibility of bringing in another free agent swingman to pair with Dwight Howard (if he’s resigned this summer), Steve Nash (under contract for 2014-2015) and perhaps Kobe Bryant on a short-term deal. 
In terms of sheer money, this deal is so ludicrous that Chris Bridges couldn’t even sanction it. 

2). Pau Gasol is better than Amar’e Stoudemire

This is a much bigger and longer argument, but even in a down year, there’s little doubt in my mind that Pau Gasol is a far more effective player of the two:
Stoudemire 2011-2012: 17.5 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.0 bpg, .483 FG%, 17.7 PER
Gasol 2011-2013: 16.6 PPG, 10.2 rpg, 3.6 apg, 1.3 bpg, .488 FG%, 19.5 PER

Aside from points per game (in which Pau took 1.6 less shots per game), it’s clear that Gasol is the superior guy at this point. He’s more efficient and athletic than Amar’e, and in regards to his offensive skill set, is vastly more versatile. Stoudemire is rapidly becoming more and more an outside jump shooter, as his explosiveness has wilted like Ramon Sessions in a big spot. 

Amar’e is largely a one-trick pony at this point–he can score, but without the variance in which Gasol can and also sans the more impressive rebounding and assist numbers. It goes that without saying that Stoudemire is one of the league’s worst defensive players, whereas Pau is at least adequate. 

3). Durability

But what that last bullet left out was that Pau aggregated all those statistics in 80 games, where the Knicks forward only played in 47 games in that


Will the Real Carmelo Please Stand Up? — New York Knickerbockers Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Raymond Felton, SG Ronnie Brewer, SF Carmelo Anthony, PF Amare Stoudemire, C Tyson Chandler

Key Bench Players: PG Jason Kidd, SG JR Smith, SG Iman Shumpert, SF Steve Novak, PF Kurt Thomas, C Marcus Camby, PG Pablo Prigioni

Notable offseason additions: PG Jason Kidd, SG Ronnie Brewer, PG Raymond Felton, PF Kurt Thomas, C Marcus Camby, PG Pablo Prigioni

Offseason subtractions: PG Jeremy Lin, #LINSANITY, SG Landry Fields, PF Josh Harrellson, all discernible team assets and cap room for the next 3 years

Well, that whole Linsanity thing was fun while it lasted.  The biggest Knick storyline of the offseason centered around undrafted free agent pop culture sensation Jeremy Lin.  The Knicks infamously told anyone who would listen that they would match any contract offered to their Chinese-American star (and restricted free agent).  Then, curiously, the Knicks changed course and essentially decided to spend the money bookmarked for Lin on former Knick point guard Raymond Felton and former Knick power forward Kurt Thomas.  This led to a truly comical (and yet another “only under a James Dolan led Knicks team would this happen” moment) chain of events at Las Vegas Summer League where Knicks GM Glen Grunwald was reported to be ducking Rockets GM Daryl Morey at like a deadbeat ducks the landlord when rent was due two weeks ago. He was not so subtly refusing to receive the Rockets qualified offer for Lin and postponing the franchise’s decision on Lin’s contract until the absolute last possible moment.  #sameoldknicks

Lin and Linsanity are gone, ending a stint with the team that, ten years from now, will literally feel like it was make believe.  Now, moreso than any time since the Knicks traded 3 starters and 5 players overally to acquire him, this team is Carmelo Anthony’s and Carmelo’s only.  This team is built around his strengths and, in order to thrive, Carmelo Anthony needs to thrive.

After the Lin debacle — and really, it was a debacle, whether you were for or against the Knicks bringing him back, the matter in which it was carried out was laughably unprofessional and silly — the next biggest story of the offseason featured Amare Stoudemire down at Hakeem Olajuwon’s ranch, working on post moves.  Stoudemire, having played his entire career in Mike D’Antoni’s offense as the “pick” man on the high pick and roll, never developed any semblance of a post game, although his jumper has become increasingly reliable.  Even though the Knicks are bringing back Raymond Felton, who quarterbacked the Knicks offense to remarkable efficiency over 54 games in 2010-11 (Felton averaged 17 points and 9 assists in his first go-round as a Knickerbocker; Stoudemire averaged 26 points per game on 51% shooting with Felton running the offense), the Knicks believe that Stoudemire needs to play like a more traditional power forward for the team to be successful in 2012-13.

Which is certainly a curious thought — why, the Knicks already have a lethal post scorer who goes by the name of Carmelo Anthony.  Anthony did his best work last year when Stoudemire went down in March and Anthony slid into the 4, averaging 30 points and 7 rebounds per game and winning Player of the Month honors as the Knicks went 16-4.  For the season, all advanced metrics indicate Anthony is an elite power forward and a middling small forward.  The eye test indicates Anthony likes to bang with the bigs and loathes chasing around quicker players around the perimeter.… Read more...

State of the Garden: Tuesdays with Amar’e

I was all set to have a positive Game 2 recap for you guys today. YOUR New York Knicks didn’t back down from the now even more heavily favored Miami Heat, but ultimately fell short in a 10-point loss. It seemed as if Miami was in semi- to full control almost the whole night, but the Bockers put together a spirited effort, legitimately challenging what many have forgotten to be the NBA’s best team.

The Knicks lost their starting point guard and replaced him with two declining veterans who probably played their best ball in blue and orange to date. It lost its best individual defensive player and alllllmost made up for his absence with collective effort and hustle. And it fought through the weeds of a hostile environment, not from the fair weather attendees, but because of whistles that were still blown to the advantage of the home team.

It’s too easy to hop on the bash train for the now infamous post-game extracurricular activities in which “Standing Tall and Talented” participated. Interestingly, it’s also forgivable to do so, barking and admonishing Stoudemire for Kevin Brown-ing his way through a glass container that housed a fire extinguisher. But I’m not going to do that today.

See, it wasn’t always like this.

Signed to a maximum salary contract in the summer of 2010, Stoudemire boldly declared that he would help restore a downtrodden team back to heights that the city deserved and that the league so desperately needed. Before he ever laced ’em up, he yelled through the walls of his introductory press conference, “The Knicks are back!”

Leading a squad bereft of the above-average talent a contender requires to even have a puncher’s chance, Stoudemire averaged 25 points and 8 rebounds per game, shooting sweet percentages of 50 from the field and 80 from the stripe. He set New York’s all-time record for consecutive 30-point games in a season. He started the All-Star game, the first Knick to do so since Patrick Ewing. By season’s end, he had a dark horse MVP shot, the candidacy of which was undoubtedly propelled by nightly serenades from the Garden faithful.

Later that season, the Knicks gutted their roster to acquire Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets. The throne that sat atop the mecca of basketball suddenly had a challenger. Anthony was a special talent that put ball in net and butts in seats with relative ease. He dripped a trail of swagger in his footsteps. But Amar’e came first, and he was still treated that way. Amidst all the hubbub of Melo’s grand entrance in a home game against the Milwaukee Bucks, it was Stoudemire who retained his place as the last player announced during team introductions. We weren’t about to forget that it was Amar’e who took the plunge when The Straight Shot did his absolute best to blackball the team as a worthy free agent destination. As fans, we appreciated Stoudemire’s admirable courtesy, as he willingly invited the chance to descend from “1” to “1A.”

The fact that the 2nd-half version of the 2010-11 Knicks were a work in progress was blatantly obvious, with two superstars acknowledging that a full offseason was necessary to gel into a cohesive tandem. But the city’s exuberance for the team’s restored relevance was just as apparent, as New York squared off against the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs. The Celtics, however, were already the thing that Knicks knew they weren’t yet: a team. Boston dispatched of S… Read more...

State of the Garden: Chicago Just Got Another Rebound

If I’m ever late for anything, there are plenty of things to which I can point the blame. Maybe it’s the extra 5 minutes in the shower. Maybe the traffic lights didn’t work in my favor or the subway decided it was convenient to run on the local tracks. But more likely, it’s probably that I didn’t care about being punctual.

Last night, YOUR New York Knickerbockers were outrebounded by the Chicago Bulls. That sentence isn’t that dramatic, until I tell you that the margin of glasswork was +18. That sentence has a touch of flavor, but I’ll take it a step further by telling you that the Bulls had 22 offensive boards compared to the Knicks’ 29 on the defensive end. So when Chicago was on offense, shooting an I-would-sign-up-for-this-everyday 43% from the field, they battled to a -7 deficit on the 57% of attempts that did not go through the net. On defense, a team has an easier time establishing the positioning required to grab more rebounds than the opposition. The vast majority of possessions will have most, if not all, defenders playing between their man and the basket, especially without the use of a zone defense.

Now let’s see: if the defender is between their man and the basket, the defender is closer to the hoop, and thus has the advantage of advancing the ancient basketball tradition of boxing out. In this scenario, it is embarrassing for a defense to yield a +7 advantage on the boards when they are protecting their own rim. So what happened?
There are plenty of reasons why the Knicks didn’t rebound the ball well last night:

1. They are not a good rebounding team

When the team signed Tyson Chandler, head coach Mike D’Antoni declared that the best frontcourt in the world played their home games at Madison Square Garden. Normally, when you think of an imposing front line, you think of big dudes who will take advantage of you whenever their size gives them such an opportunity.

Carmelo Anthony is 6’8″, 230 pounds.
Amar’e Stoudemire is 6’11” and weighs about 2.5 bills (although he’s listed at 260, he’s been doing extra work to get down to 245, in response to criticism that he has lost explosiveness).
Tyson Chandler is 7’1″, 240.

Big dudes. The three of them average a little less than 24 rebounds per game, and those numbers don’t exactly paint a picture of doom and gloom. But any seasoned fan will tell you that it’s just not enough, even before we witnessed Chicago’s dominance last night.

The best rebounder of the trio is undoubtedly Carmelo Anthony. I thought Anthony had a decent game last night. KOBEsh even texted me to say that sometimes, the man puts on a display that will convince you that he’s one of the best we have in this league (Hubie Brown voice). Melo’s aggressiveness on the offensive end leads to several opportunities for offensive putbacks, and his second jump differentiates his game from most of today’s player. I’m not going to complain about his rebounding.

STAT and Tyson just don’t box out. Ever. If you watched the scrums last night, you’d think that Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and Carlos Boozer had cooties or something. It is beyond frustrating to witness. I can’t really explain Amar’e’s inability to get tough rebounds consistently, nor can I explain Tyson’s stubbornness to try and outjump his opponents without first trying to seal them off. The basics of boardwork are lost with these two guys, and while I love them for oth… Read more...

State of the Union Kickoff – New York Knicks

You know how the State of the Union addresses go, right? President goes up and speaks about how the country is kicking ass in everything. Problems during the President’s term are either masked with rehearsed rhetoric or omitted from discussion in entirety. And, our favorite part: Congressmen, celebrities, and other losers get on their feet for the obligatory applause as soon as Mr. President indicates that it is the correct time to do so.

Well, and especially in the Knicks’ case, you won’t need to stop reading mid-blog post and clap your hands. This post will be the first in a series of irregularly scheduled posts detailing Mambino’s favorite professional teams. I’ll take care of the Bockers and Yankees, KOBEsh will handle Lakers and Dodgers, and Pucklius will muse on the Devils and Mets. Each prominent player will be given a number of Mambinos, on a scale of 1-5, with some biased analysis to follow. (Hey, at least we’re honest.)

The Knicks are off to a 2-4 start. The team has heard boos during every single home game: losses to the lowly Raptors and Bobcats, and even during the win over the Celtics, when New York squandered a 20 point lead in the 2nd half. But relax, guys. Remember that the goal in a shortened season is to simply make the playoffs. However, that doesn’t mean that the team is free of problems that need to be addressed. Let’s get to it.

Before we get to the bad news, let’s talk about Shump Dizzle. Last night’s game against the Bobcats provided one bright spot: the Garden faithful’s acceptance of Iman Shumpert into their lives. He hit shot after shot after shot. He played excellent man-to-man defense. He made smart decisions. Basically, he was everything that we wished Toney Douglas was: a real point guard who can provide a spark when necessary. When MDA inexplicably took Shump out of the game in the 4th quarter, when the Knicks were building their last comeback, the crowd begged and pleaded for his return. D’Antoni listened, for once, and is now contemplating starting the rook on Friday night against the Washington Walls.
I took an informal poll in my section last night, and not one person said they would trade Shumpert for the rookie on the opposing bench, Kemba Walker. And that’s saying something. This guy has all the tools to be an All-Star one day. Consider my #21 t-shirt already ordered.
The Knicks gave up a billion points last night to the Charlotte Bobcats. Disgusting, I know; everytime B.J. Freaking Mullens hit a jumper from the perimeter, my heart asked my brain why I decided to become a Knicks fan. And expectedly, the fingers are being pointed at Tyson Chandler, the guy who was supposed to “correct” the porous Knick defense. But wait a second. He’s just one man.
If you’ve caught a glimpse of training camp, practices, or have been lucky enough to sit close enough in the Garden, you will hear one voice over everybody else’s (including the easily recognizable D’antoni Drawl): Tyson’s. He teaches lessons and barks out orders to everyone, including Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. In games, he still blocks more than 1 shot a game, and alters at least 5 more. His free throw shooting has been pretty decent, and he’s a nice target for lobs inside.
So why does he not get 4 Mambinos, or even 3.5? Well, those rebounding numbers are low at less than 7 per game. There are two reasons for that. First, his defensive prowess cannot physical