The New York Knicks have signed a big-name free agent. Unfortunately for Knick fans it isn’t LeBron James. Amare Stoudemire is coming to the Big Apple, but for now he is coming alone. After all the hype and the embarrassing “Decision” show on ESPN, New York fans were resigned to accept that they will not be watching LeBron and Amare dominate the East in the upcoming season. Stoudemire is a great player and he is certainly exciting to watch. However, here are a few reasons why the signing of Amare Stoudemire will not lead to immediate success.
A point guard to make you look good
Analysts will always speculate on how good a player is without their running mate. Now, people will find out what kind of an impact Steve Nash had on Amare Stoudemire. Elite point guards tend to make everyone around them better, and in some cases they may actually make a good player into a seemingly great player. Stoudemire has obvious physical talent and skill, but he also had a very savvy point guard in Nash. Opposing teams always had to keep track of the gritty point guard, which opened up other aspects of the game. Without Steve Nash at the point, Stoudemire may face more double-teams and less open looks.
Not only will Stoudemire miss Steve Nash, he will probably miss his entire supporting cast in Phoenix. The New York Knicks do not exactly have a roster of stars. Now that David Lee has been traded to Golden State, New York needs to fill a void at power forward. Lee was a consistent 20-10 guy that worked hard on the floor. Perhaps Stoudemire will easily fill that role, but it may not be a major upgrade in terms of statistical production. In addition, Amare does not have a lot of support in terms of second and third scoring options. The acquisition of Anthony Randolph will help, but New York does not have a deep roster of talent. Rumors suggest that Tony Parker may end up in a Knick uniform, but stories do not always turn out to be true. Knick fans were probably hoping for at least two or three major free agent signing in the off-season.
Finally, there is the issue of health and durability. Amare was healthy in 2009-10, but he missed almost all of 2005-06, and he missed sizeable amounts of 2003-04 and 2008-09. With Stoudemire’s size and physical makeup, he may be prone to knee and ankle injuries as he gets older. In addition, he may draw a lot of attention on defense as previously mentioned. Over the course of a long, grueling NBA season, Stoudemire may find himself getting beat up in the post. This may impact his long-term durability and ability to be a force on the floor.
Amare Stoudemire may be the first piece in the return to glory of the New York Knicks. However, at the moment, he appears to be alone in the spotlight of New York City. A running mate may come along in time, but for now Knick fans may need to extend their patience and hope that Amare Stoudemire does not turn out to be another big-money disappointment in the Big Apple.