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Friday, April 18, 2014

2012 Report Card: Amar’e Stoudemire

Stats:

Player Age G MP MPG PER TS% eFG% TRB% AST% TOV% USG%
Amar’e Stoudemire 29 47 1543 32.8 17.7 0.541 0.487 13.7 6.3 12.8 25.4

Per 36 Minutes:

FGA 3PA 3P% FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
15.3 0.5 0.238 5.7 0.765 2.5 6.1 8.6 1.2 0.9 1 2.6 3.2 19.2

Sometimes you can do everything right and life can still disappoint you.  Balance work with life.  Pay your bills on time.  Eat right.  Get some exercise in.  Do right by your fellow man.  Recycle.  Opportunities still pass you by.  Loved ones still get sick.  Rain still falls during days at the beach and the sun still shines outside all-day meetings.  The universe isn’t cruel, it’s just probabilistic.  Best you can do is maximize your odds, minimize your risk, hope that when the good times come, they stay, and that when the storm hits, you have a deep enough foundation to weather it.

Because sometimes, you can’t see the storm clouds on the horizon.

This is not a story about one of those times.  This is a story about one of those other times.  One of those times when the clouds are most definitely out there, but you just can’t bring yourself to admit that you see them, because the plans that they might ruin just seem like too much fun.

Two years ago, the Knicks made a wonderful mistake.  They placed a 5-year, $100 million bid for a player who was not LeBron James or Dwyane Wade.  Competitors looked at the offer and folded; analysts looked at the offer and scoffed; insurance companies looked at the offer and declined.  And a 27-year-old power forward with 37-year-old legs and 17-year-old defensive instincts looked at the offer, picked up a pen, and wrote “Amare Stoudemire” on the dotted line.  And immediately, the question was not “will this work?” but, rather, “how long until this stops working?”

About half a season, as it turned out.

For a few months there was ecstasy, the truest honeymoon period between New York fans and a free agent in my memory.  The team was fine, no better, but the personalities charmed and the Garden rocked and in the middle of it all stood the Hero, the Redeemer, a  physical specimen to stand against all comers and throw down dunks and knock down 20-footers and raise his hands to the rafters – he could almost reach them, it seemed – and unleash a rallying cry around which players and fans alike could gather and say “Now this is it, this is what has been missing, this is what we’ve been searching for and damned if I didn’t forget what this felt like.”  He reeled off 8 consecutive 30-point games.  He blocked shots and rebounded like a player whose knees were far steadier.  He was the subject of semi-credible MVP arguments at the season’s quarter pole.  And game after game, he logged minute totals that spat in the face of the situation’s delicacy.

And all the while the clouds gathered on the horizon, and the Garden faithful convinced itself that the winds would blow them clear of Four Penn Plaza.

All such delusions are broken now, having bypassed us like so many dribble-penetrators unencumbered by help defense, having been scattered like so many shards of glass from a fire extinguisher’s broken casing.  The realities linger like gray clouds on a still evening – 3 more years, 60 million more dollars, young players set to leave each offseason and no space left under the salary cap to bring in their replacements.  And a one-dimensional power forward who doesn’t fit with the team’s true stars, whose scoring efficiency is down, whose body continues to wear, who seems to have fallen victim, somewhere inside himself, to the same frustration and doubt as the rest of us.

Sometimes you do everything right and life can still disappoint you.  Other times you make a mistake, but you make it with such good intentions that it feels like it just has to work out.  And sometimes it does.  Usually, it doesn’t — that’s what makes it a mistake.

I was back home in New York the day in December that the terms of the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement were announced.  My dad picked me up from LaGuardia in the 2003 Toyota Camry that he had purchased after I wrecked his old Corolla, the Corolla on whose radio Gus Johnson had described Allan Houston’s series winner against the Heat to us back in 1999.  We entered the house through the kitchen door, the door that we had opened to play basketball in the dead end out back after the Knicks had seemingly put away a playoff game against Indiana in 1995, only to discover that the game had one last twist in store for us and that we would be in no mood to shoot hoops that afternoon.   We sat down in the living room where we had watched Jordan become a legend and Starks keep shooting and Duncan become a champion and generally witnessed the longest ever stretch of Knickerbocker success come and go without full consummation.  And he asked the question that had been hanging in the air since we had rehashed the basic terms of the CBA on the car ride home.

“So, do you use the amnesty provision on Amare?”

I was ready for it.  “I just don’t think you can.  He just meant too much last year.  LeBron and Wade left those meetings laughing at us.  Joe Johnson wasn’t even interested.  And he embraced it.  Not in spite of how hard it seemed, but because of how hard it seemed.  No way ‘Melo comes here without him.  No way we’re even talking about Chris Paul or Deron Williams without him.  And now when it seems hard from our end, we’re gonna cut bait?  Gonna make him the answer to a really depressing trivia question?  Gonna move on to bigger and better things?  Not gonna let the guy who laid the first brick stick around for the Grand Opening?”

The person who taught me to love this team, taught me to love this whole beautiful, heartbreaking sport, looked at me.  He nodded.  He spoke.

“You’re a good boy, but they’ve got to let him go.  We know where this is headed if he stays, and that’s worse for us and it’s worse for him too.”

Days later the Knicks used their one-time-only amnesty provision on Chauncey Billups.  Billups who had but one season remaining under contract, whose retention would have left the Knicks sitting on ample cap space this summer.  Space that they have instead chosen to keep filled with their unreluctant hero, their imperfect star, their much-maligned redeemer.

Six months gone by and my dad’s question still hangs in the air, never fully answered, under a cloudy sky.

Grades (5 point scale):
Offense: 3
Defense: 0
Teamwork: 3
Rootability: 4
Performance/Expectations: 2
Final Grade: 2.4 (C-)

44 comments on “2012 Report Card: Amar’e Stoudemire

  1. Nick C.

    That write-up gets a 5. You neatly summed up the whole Amare mess in a few subtly entertaining paragraphs.

  2. Kevin McElroy Post author

    Thanks Nick. His Knicks legacy is going to be a complicated one. It’s important to be honest about the way things are but you also don’t want to let the good be completely forgotten.

    johnlocke, if we don’t establish some kind of concrete minimum score this whole thing could really run away with itself. If he could be minus-1 then why not minus-2? Why not minus-1 million? We’re trying to have a civilization here, please keep your fomenting of mathematical revolutions to a minimum. Thx.

  3. johnlocke

    ? It was a joke lol

    Kevin McElroy:
    Thanks Nick.His Knicks legacy is going to be a complicated one.It’s important to be honest about the way things are but you also don’t want to let the good be completely forgotten.

    johnlocke, if we don’t establish some kind of concrete minimum score this whole thing could really run away with itself.If he could be minus-1 then why not minus-2?Why not minus-1 million? We’re trying to have a civilization here, please keep your fomenting of mathematical revolutions to a minimum.Thx.

  4. thenamestsam

    This was a really, really nice writeup. I’m still holding out hope that the sun is going to emerge from those clouds because I guess that’s what fans do, but it doesn’t look like it’s headed for a good place.

  5. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    The Honorable Cock Jowles
    July 2, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Getting Amare alone means five straight years of thinking we can be a force in the East, but actually striking out in the first round, Amare sulking and complaining by the time we’re down 3-0 because there’s “not enough” around him

    ……………….

    Well, I’m two for five.

  6. PutInRolando

    Thanks again for making me laugh in a sad situation.

    You did, however, fail to blame Carmelo enough for the stinkiness of Amare’s grades.

  7. stratomatic

    When healthy, most of Amare’s “plus” value as a player is derived from his high usage efficient scoring. At his best, he’s a very effective P&R finisher with enough of a mid range game to draw big men away from the basket and beat them.

    Assuming he can even regain enough of his athletic ability to be close to 100% next year with a good training camp, no distractions, and the summer to rest his back, these are the problems:

    1. On a team with Melo his usage will drop. That’s a double negative because not only do you not get the full benefit of having Amare, but you substitute less efficient scoring from Melo.

    2. On a team with Melo and Chandler there is less than an ideal amount of space in the paint for him to operate and he’ll be guarded by quicker PFs more willing to come out and guard his mid range shots because they are quick enough to stay with him if he tries to drive past.

    3. There are fewer P&R opportunities because Chandler will get some also. So his efficiency will drop because his best scoring opportunities will be reduced.

    4. He is highly dependent on a good PG to get him the ball in good spots because when he gets it far away from the basket and tries to go ISO, he turns the ball over like crazy. So IMO it’s critical that the Knicks run the offense through Lin and not Melo or Stat will become even more marginalized.

    The bottom line is that even if we get another season of prime Stat like the first half of last season, combining him with Melo was a horrendous error.

    ANYONE can play together, but that’s the wrong question to ask.

    The question is are you matching players that compliment each other and make each other better (Amare and Nash) where 1 + 1 = 2.5 or matching players that reduce each other’s value where 1 + 1 = 1.75. Amare with Melo/Chandler is a 1 + 1 = 1.75 combo.

  8. stratomatic

    Given that I have given up all hope of Melo being traded while his value is still inflated enough to get some quality assets and good value back for him, I think best case scenario is that Amare has a good enough first half to be able to trade him at next year’s trade deadline. He’ll only have 2 1/2 years left on his contract. So if he looks good and has been healthy, someone might be willing to take a shot at upgrading their team for a year or two and giving us back lower quality players that will fit better in return. Then we go to Melo and Lin as our #1 and #2 scorers and perhaps get better defensively at PF, deeper off the bench, pick of up a draft pick etc..

  9. max fisher-cohen

    Nice writing, Kevin, but I have to disagree with the “we should cherish the memories” attitude. This reads almost like a freakin’ obituary.

    The conspiracy theorist in me believes that Dolan and co. are if not pleased than not too bothered by Amar’e's struggles as Jimmy D seems determined to undo every single thing that Walsh did (i.e. the period Dolan had no input on the team’s decisions). The worse Amar’e is, the more easily Dolan will be able to justify trading Amar’e, even if it’s for a pittance, finally erasing every one of Walsh’s major moves.

    I don’t see Amar’e as all that different a player from 2010/11. The only major difference this year was his inability to make the elbow jumper. If you look at his splits, you see that when he has the right players around him, he is still very good.

    With Lin, Amar’e shot 51%, just below his season’s average.

    The only decent floor spacers Amar’e played significant minutes with were JR Smith and Novak.

    With Smith, in 224 minutes, Amar’e averages 23.5 pts/36 on 61% shooting and 9 FTAs/36, and you have to remember Smith played like crap early on when Amar’e was still healthy, so that’s with JR shooting only 29% from 3. Just the fact that opponents respected Smith’s jump shot opened things up like crazy for Amar’e.

    With Novak, in 230 minutes, Amar’e averages 23.5 pts/36 on 58% shooting, earning 9.4 FTAs/36.

    Both of these #s are well above Amar’e's career averages.

    My guess is Amar’e is as good as ever. Early on, everyone sucked. Amar’e and Melo were both embarrassingly bad on offense. Then the shooters started making shots, Davis got healthy, and shortly thereafter, STAT got hurt. He missed most of the part of the season where this team actually had a decent supporting cast, so the numbers reflect that.

  10. max fisher-cohen

    “With Lin, Amar’e shot 51%, just below his season’s average.”

    meant to say “just below his career averages”. Better than his 2010/11 numbers.

  11. stratomatic

    max fisher-cohen:
    “With Lin, Amar’e shot 51%, just below his season’s average.”

    meant to say “just below his career averages”. Better than his 2010/11 numbers.

    I agree with much of your premise.

    He started playing much better when he lost the extra weight he put on in the off season and then he got hurt.

    How do those numbers look with Melo/Chandler?

    I think it’s clear he will play better with floor spacers and Lin. I don’t buy that we’ll ever see the best of Amare with Melo and Chandler on the court. The space he operates best with, his usage, and his best rolling opportunities almost have to decline with those guys.

  12. Kevin McElroy Post author

    I would say that max makes a pretty solid rebuttal. The fit with Melo and Chandler is still bad though and the defense will still be a disaster. And even at his very best its unlikely that he is worth 1/3 of the salary cap. If I’ve been too hard on Amare’s abilities in a vacuum, I still think the overall context of the situation is bleak.

  13. max fisher-cohen

    I agree with you, strat. Too many front court players. Too much redundancy. Amar’e is like the man in the middle. Melo and Amar’e both need to use possessions to be valuable, and Chandler’s main ability to contribute offensively is in the pick and roll, which is also Amar’e's bread and butter. Cut out one of those problems and STAT can still be effective, but not with both.

    With Chandler, Amar’e averages 17 pts/36 on 44% shooting, 4.7 FTAs/36.

    With Melo, Amar’e averages 17.8 pts/36 on 48% shooting, 5.5 FTAs/36.

    If we had a stretch 4/5 instead of Chandler — or even just a big with a little range like Ibaka or Marc Gasol, I could see Amar’e and Melo coexisting — not necessarily thriving together, but not stepping on each others’ toes.

    It’s the fact that you start your offense in the post with Melo, you end up with 3 guys in the paint because Amar’e and Chandler both want to be near the rim as well.

  14. max fisher-cohen

    Kevin McElroy:
    I would say that max makes a pretty solid rebuttal.The fit with Melo and Chandler is still bad though and the defense will still be a disaster.And even at his very best its unlikely that he is worth 1/3 of the salary cap.If I’ve been too hard on Amare’s abilities in a vacuum, I still think the overall context of the situation is bleak.

    Yes, in the context of this roster, Amar’e is a disaster, but it’s not going to just be Amar’e who is a disaster if the SL includes TC, Melo and STAT. Melo will still score because he’s a wing, and scoring wings are more versatile than scoring bigs. They can still be effective even in a dysfunctional offense.

    If Lin and Fields come back next year as knock down 3 point shooters, I could see that covering up most of the issues, but yeah, outside of that or the off chance that TC or Melo gets moved (or pigs learn to fly), last summer was the end of Stoudemire’s career as a Knick.

    That doesn’t mean he won’t get traded to a better situation, return to at least 2010 form, and leave us all wondering why we traded him for junk. Philly, who purportedly inquired about Amar’e early last season, would be a nice place for STAT. He could play center with Young at the four and two very quick guards in Williams and Holiday. That STAT/Brand trade would probably help NY as well.

    Still, I find it truly sad that we trashed a decent asset by mismanaging the roster. A well managed team would never have found itself in this situation.

  15. Brian Cronin

    Still, I find it truly sad that we trashed a decent asset by mismanaging the roster. A well managed team would never have found itself in this situation.

    Yep, roster construction for this team has been abysmal. And that’s with Lin essentially falling into their laps!

  16. ephus

    Excellent writeup.

    One small quibble. I would not give Stat a “0″ for defense, but rather a “1″. He is a bad on the ball defender, truly horrible on his rotations and fails to aggressively defend the rim. But, he is not an awful defensive rebounder, and defensive rebounds play a key role in defensive efficiency.

    Next year, I would love to see the Knicks run OKC’s pindown screen play with Chandler setting the screen and Melo popping to the elbow. If Stat sets up on the ball side at 15 on the baseline, he should be able to get open shots and/or free rolls to the basket.

  17. Kevin McElroy Post author

    ephus:
    Excellent writeup.

    One small quibble.I would not give Stat a “0? for defense, but rather a “1?.He is a bad on the ball defender, truly horrible on his rotations and fails to aggressively defend the rim.But, he is not an awful defensive rebounder, and defensive rebounds play a key role in defensive efficiency.

    I made this argument about David Lee approximately always. But he’s not such a good defensive rebounder as to even make a dent into how truly horrific he is at preventing easy opportunities. I stand by my Zero.

  18. ruruland

    Amar’e, final 19 games of the season: 600 TS, 17.3ppg

    Playoffs: .631 TS

    2011 Season jump shot efg%: .352

    Prior seasons
    2010: .440
    2009: .452
    2008: .445
    2007: .461

    Compare to Bosh:

    2010: .435
    2009: .444
    2008: .436
    2007: .414

    Compare to Garnett:
    2010: .474
    2009: .452
    2008: .451
    2007: .472

    Amar’e is the third best jump shooting big man in the NBA (behind Dirk and KG, among guys with somewhat high usage) Among power forwards, he is a floor spacer.

    Last year was a complete anomaly for he and Melo.

    Sure, he’s not as dominant with a big man near the rim as he is with another floor spacer, but there will be plenty of minutes for him (hopefully) as a 5 (with Melo as a 4). And he’s still very good with a rim-protecting big man. When he was healthy and his back was right, he and Chandler were dominant.

    And so what if you’re taking away some of his pick and rolls with Chandler — they’re arguably the two best pick and roll bigs in the NBA and there will be plenty to go around.

    With a penetrating and pnr point guard, I would venture to guess their combined TS% will be in the 630-640 neighborhood next year, and that the Knicks starting frontcourt will be over 600TS in sum with extremely high usage — it will be the best frontcourt in the NBA next year.

    Defensively, Amar’e showed us during the Woodson stretch that he knows how to play it. In a defensive culture, one Woodson is sure to create, he can be passable — and that’s all you need when you have Chandler behind you.

  19. Kevin McElroy Post author

    Apologize for the snark ruruland but I really could not disagree more strongly. I respect your candor and will let your optimism on those offensive numbers fly, but there is really no evidence — visual or statistical — to support the claim that Amare is anything other than a very bad defensive player.

  20. 2FOR18

    “With a penetrating and pnr point guard, I would venture to guess their combined TS% will be in the 630-640 neighborhood next year, and that the Knicks starting frontcourt will be over 600TS in sum with extremely high usage — it will be the best frontcourt in the NBA next year.”

    Durant, Ibaka and a randomly decent big like Collison would be a better front court than Amare/Chandler/melo.
    I really wish I lived in your fantasy world. How in the hell is the Knicks front court going to have a TS% over 600 when melo, with a career TS% of 55% will be taking over half of the shots? Amare would have to exceed his career TS% by 50 points for this to happen.

  21. Kevin McElroy Post author

    2FOR18:
    “With a penetrating and pnr point guard, I would venture to guess their combined TS% will be in the 630-640 neighborhood next year, and that the Knicks starting frontcourt will be over 600TS in sum with extremely high usage — it will be the best frontcourt in the NBA next year.”

    Durant, Ibaka and a randomly decent big like Collison would be a better front court than Amare/Chandler/melo.
    I really wish I lived in your fantasy world.How in the hell is the Knicks front court going to have a TS% over 600 when melo, with a career TS% of 55% will be taking over half of the shots?Amare would have to exceed his career TS% by 50 points for this to happen.

    [Thank you]

  22. nicos

    Kevin McElroy:
    Apologize for the snark ruruland but I really could not disagree more strongly.I respect your candor and will let your optimism on those offensive numbers fly, but there is really no evidence — visual or statistical — to support the claim that Amare is anything other than a very bad defensive player.

    Hey, His synergy numbers aren’t that bad!! He ranked 195 in ppp against, so slightly above average. And I think his man defense is actually okay- not great- but okay. He’s decent in the low post and adequate in isolation. He doesn’t get out on shooters well (see Diaw, Boris) but isn’t horrible overall. Of course, the huge, huge problem is teams don’t bother to attack him one on one when they can just put him in a pnr and know they’ll get a good shot out of it. The Knicks were able to hide him somewhat by using Chandler against the opponents most active screening big (like Bosh) but that wasn’t ideal as it pulled him away from the basket and left Amar’e as the interior rotator where he gets the occasional block but is late far more often than not. I do agree with Ruruland that he played better defense under Woodson- it was pretty obvious they told him to trap the pnr hard every time and don’t come off of the guard until someone tells you to- and that seemed to work okay.
    Offensively, again I’m with Ruruland- with decent guard play he’s a high usage .600 TS guy. His mid-range game seemed to vanish last year but for his career he’s a better jump shooter than guys like Bosh, Aldridge, or Boozer so I’d guess that he’ll bounce back there. He put up a 630 TS in the playoffs playing with one hand in two out of his four games- the guy can still score. Is he duplicative with Melo and Chandler? Yes, but I think they’ll get it figured out enough to be somewhere around the top ten in offense next year.

  23. ruruland

    Kevin McElroy:
    Apologize for the snark ruruland but I really could not disagree more strongly.I respect your candor and will let your optimism on those offensive numbers fly, but there is really no evidence — visual or statistical — to support the claim that Amare is anything other than a very bad defensive player.

    I’m not sure how closely you follow these things, or what your background is, but with all due respect, the stretch of games immediately after MDA quit, Amar’e was a plus defender in all facets. Video would be conclusively support that.

    I think most of who’ve watched Amar’e going back to earlier last decade thought that he simply lacked the requisite instincts and spatial awareness to be able to put himself in good position in team defense.

    When Woodson took over Amar’e suddenly seemed to recognize where he needed to be in pick and roll and in help — the two areas he’s been atrocious his entire career.

    So, I think it’s definitive proof he can be coached into being a passable-mediocre defender. He’ll always have lapses because those issues have been hardwired, but he can be good enough.

    I thought he was GREAT defensively in the Knicks 85-82 win in Philadelphia. I believe that gamne is on youtube. Would be fun to go over.

  24. ruruland

    Kevin McElroy: [Thank you]

    Durant, Ibaka, Collison is obviously a great frontcourt. (Ibaka was a 560 TS guy this year and Collison is the most efficient player of the bunch).

    In order for the Knicks frontcourt to have a collective 600 TS, obviously Chandler needs to be close to what he’s been the last two years, which is .708 last year and .697 in Dallas.

    Let’s say he plays at .690, with 5.5 fga and 4.5 fta.

    How do we get to .690 usage with those numbers?

    3.1/4.5 fta (under his three year trend), 3.5/5.5 fga ( under his two year trend)

    ppg: 10.2

    Amar’e was a .570 TS guy with Raymond Felton as pg (including the early struggles with Felton in the pnr), but with extremely high usage (around 32 usage).

    I think his 607 TS in the final 23 games is sustainable with a 10 percent decrease in usage (actually a 35% decrease in usage)

    We’re looking at about 12 fga and and 6 fta.

    For Amar’e to reach .605 TS, far below his career highs in Phoenix where he had much higher usage, he’ll need:

    6.5/12 fga (fg% below his five year trend) and 4.7/6 fta (ft% below at his five year trend)
    (29.28)

    That’s basically identical to his 23 game stretch when his back was better last year, where he averaged about 17.7 ppg in 32mpg.

    So, Amar’e and Chandler would combine for 27.9 ppg on 10/17.5 fga with 7.8/ 10.5 fta. (22.12)

    Combined TS%: .6301

    Again, that’s with Chandler playing less efficient than he has the last two years and with Amar’e playing much less efficient than he did with Nash in Phoenix on much higher usage.

    So , that leaves us with Melo………..

  25. ruruland

    I’ve made the argument far too many times on this board that there’s a strong correlation between point guard play and Carmelo Anthony’s efficiency.

    Carmelo Anthony is one of the three or four most versatile offensive players in the game. In that sense, he has the ability to play a very wide range of roles on offense (but you can’t expect him to be content standing in the corner, MDA).

    The distribution of his shot attempts is dependent on the kind of players you surround him with, particularly point guards.

    Give him a pg like Chauncey Billups, Mike Bibby, or Toney Douglas, guys with very low assists rates, who function more as combo guards who spread the floor, guys who create relatively low amounts of transition, semi-transition and penetration passing chances, and you’re going to get an ISO, pick and roll and half-court post-up extreme Melo, mixed in with some off screen shooting.

    Now, all of those things have their merits in terms of creating good offense for the team, but they negatively impact Melo’s scoring efficiency.

    While Melo and Billups were a highly successful duo, winning close to 75% of the games they each participated in, they played a grind-it-out kind of offensive game.

    Melo’s assisted basket percentage dropped dramatically with Billups, meaning that he took a greater percentage of lower percentage shots.

    Look at his game with Allen Iverson. While Iverson was the ultimate shot hunter and rarely got into the top 20 or 30 in assist percentage, his penetration and ability to push the ball in transition led to Melo having a higher distribution of shots off passes in both scenarios.

    Allen Iverson was arguably one of the most difficult primary ball-handlers to play with given his unpredictably in using screen and roll, and consistency in passing off his penetration.

    The two played about 110 games together. But in their final 62 contests together, Melo had a TS% of .577. Shooting over 50% from the field for 26…

  26. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Wow! .577? That’s elite.

    From the finals, I’d rather have:

    Harden
    Durant
    LeBron
    Wade
    Bosh
    Ibaka
    and yes, even Westbrook

    over Anthony. Why? They’re better at basketball.

  27. SeeWhyDee77

    Ever since Miami sent us home to regroup I’ve been thinking of ways to shake Amare. Obviously I see no way. So now I think I have no problem with keeping him in hopes that he can emulate Karl Malone when his athleticism left him. Meaning..finding better spots on the floor an being good for at least 19 and 8 with a few assists per. He can do that rite? It’s clear that him being the workhorse in his 1st season as a knick has left him a shadow of that amazing player he was for us. But that doesn’t mean he can’t be effective if he settles in as the #2 and learns how to play off of Melo without needing the PnR so much so that Tyson can be enough of a factor offensively to keep defenses honest does it? Love Stat or hate him…we are married to him as our PF til death do us part. The question is can he let go of his pride the way Bosh has and find, accept, and flourish in his new role. I know he wants to win…so I don’t see what the hold up is. I may b in the minority but I trust Melo to do most of the heavy lifting. Whereas Stat didn’t have alot of help in season 1..he now has Chandler, Melo, and Lin out there with him..about as much if not more (considering Melo’s scoring ability) help as he had in Phoenix. The system’s different..but the overall talent level is not much different. 1 thing’s for sure- the defensive talent around him is better. And if we retain Novak and Smith, our offense is every bit as explosive. So…let’s hope Stat gets some rest this offseason and comes back healthy, refreshed, and more in tune with what the team needs.

  28. ruruland

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    Wow! .577? That’s elite.

    From the finals, I’d rather have:

    Harden
    Durant
    LeBron
    Wade
    Bosh
    Ibaka
    and yes, even Westbrook

    over Anthony. Why? They’re better at basketball.

    I have no idea what “better at basketball means.” Is that a Berri term?

    Also, Wesbtrook’s career WS/48 is quite a bit lower than Melo’s, as is his TS%, so by what objective measure do you make your claim?

    Secondly, Lebron, seriously, is that your insight to this board? Lebron is better than Melo?

    And .577 is an elite number at that 30% usage. That was with less than 2 3point shot attempts per game and only 78% from the free throw line, three percentage points below Melo’s career average.

    When we start getting up to 3.5-4 3pt attempts per game (even if it’s at his 5 year trend of 36%) and we get back to the 83% ft we saw the previous two years…….

    With a penetrate and run pg, Melo will make a run at .600 TS the next couple of seasons.

    You can criticize the projection, but understand that with those kind of point guards who get Melo those kind of looks his fg% comes up quite a bit.

  29. ruruland

    Melo also had a TS% above .570 in the final 93 games he played alongside Andre Miller. Melo’s game made a huge jump in his third year, going from .515 TS as a 19 and 20 year old to .563 in his third year. Playing alongside Miller, Melo had assisted baskets rates between 15 and 30 percent higher than they’ve been with Billups and the Knicks point guards last year. Miller was a good passer who could find Melo in early post-ups, and moving off the ball. The kind of plays Lin will create with Melo.

    The transition between Miller and Iverson is where you see significant efficiency drop-offs.

    The transition from Iverson to Billups is where you see another large drop-off, though some of his 2008 numbers were affected by hand and wrist injuries.

    What’s interesting about the two long stretches of .570+ TS is that they each occurred before Melo had really developed his 3pt game.

    During his .577 TS stretch with Iverson he was only averaging about 1.7 3p fga per game — the prior offseason was really the one he started to work a lot on that aspect.

    Given the improvements in Melo’s 3pt shot (which I think will continue to trend upward given his work shooting it) and the up-tick in distribution of 3pt shots, I think you’ll see Melo break his previous TS career high (.568) multiple times with a pg like Jeremy Lin, who is the most conventional penetrating pick and roll

    SO, what is the minimum TS Melo needs for the Knicks frontcourt to have a combined .600TS???

    27.9 ppg on 10/17.5 fga with 7.8/ 10.5 fta. (22.12)

    Combined TS%: .6301

    Melo was .584 in the final 16 games last year, I think he can play at that level all year with Lin, but our number will be much more conservative.

    I think it’s safe to say that Melo’s usage should slip some with Lin. we’ll be looking at about 19.5 fga adjusted for 36 mpg, and and about 8 fta.

    What would Melo need to shoot on those numbers for the the Knicks frontcourt to reach 600 TS?

    .570, EXACTLY

  30. peteygmaxcontract

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    Wow! .577? That’s elite.

    From the finals, I’d rather have:

    Harden
    Durant
    LeBron
    Wade
    Bosh
    Ibaka
    and yes, even Westbrook

    over Anthony. Why? They’re better at basketball.

    I’m going to back ruruland on this one. The hell does “better at basketball” mean? I specifically made an account to ask why you’re making ignorant comments.

    That being said, ruruland I like your optimism but from a physical standpoint, Amare’s back issues are related to the health of his knees. With microfracture surgeries on both, his knees do not absorb enough of the shock his style of play puts on them. Thus, his back absorbs too much and has caused him to have a herniated disk. That isn’t a death sentence, but will force him to change his style of play from high-flyer to more post and elbow (kinda like timmy duncan and KG).

  31. ruruland

    peteygmaxcontract: I’m going to back ruruland on this one. The hell does “better at basketball” mean? I specifically made an account to ask why you’re making ignorant comments.

    That being said, ruruland I like your optimism but from a physical standpoint, Amare’s back issues are related to the health of his knees. With microfracture surgeries on both, his knees do not absorb enough of the shock his style of play puts on them. Thus, his back absorbs too much and has caused him to have a herniated disk. That isn’t a death sentence, but will force him to change his style of play from high-flyer to more post and elbow (kinda like timmy duncan and KG).

    Yeah, that’s a good point. It’s certainly an optimistic projection. But I think we saw a much-lower-to-the-ground AMar’e last year post weight loss.

    He still used his quickness, upper body strength and balance to finish quite well without getting high above the rim.

    If that’s the athlete we’re getting moving forward, I think he can still be very efficient. It’s when the flexibility, quick-twitch movements leave him where he won’t be an NBA player anymore. I’d like to think those won’t be issues with the kind of injuries he;s had.

  32. Frank

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    Wow! .577? That’s elite.

    From the finals, I’d rather have:

    Harden
    Durant
    LeBron
    Wade
    Bosh
    Ibaka
    and yes, even Westbrook

    over Anthony. Why? They’re better at basketball.

    I don’t necessarily agree with THCJ’s “reasoning” but taking those players over Carmelo is pretty much right on. In fact, the only one that I’d have a problem with is Wade, since I think we are getting ready to see a pretty precipitous dropoff with him unless he learns to shoot the 3 way better than he does. And even though Ibaka and Westbrook are iffy, I’d probably take them over Melo at this point because they’re both, what, 22? And they will be signable to contracts under this CBA, not the last one.

    I’m generally a Carmelo backer, but his contract is a serious albatross around the team’s neck. It’s no stretch to say he needs to play A LOT better this year to justify that — not saying last year was all his fault, but he still needs to play better.

    Speaking of albatrosses-

    I don’t think Amare is a lost cause at all, even if his contract is even more of an albatross. I think 11-12 was a little bit of a perfect storm for him – an injury to rehab, no team personnel to oversee his rehab and offseason training, his misguided plan to gain 15 lbs of muscle and to work on his dribbling (rather than turn himself into a knockdown mid-range shooter), and then the sudden addition of Tyson Chandler, who completely changed the offense as soon as he walked in the door. That’s not even taking into account the total lack of practice time during the year, his brother dying, etc.

    I thought Amare played at least average defense after Woodson came on board, and by the way, he had a TS of 60 after that also. I think it’s entirely possible he has a big comeback year, averages 22 pts/9 reb per 36 on TS of 58+.

  33. Frank

    peteygmaxcontract: That being said, ruruland I like your optimism but from a physical standpoint, Amare’s back issues are related to the health of his knees. With microfracture surgeries on both, his knees do not absorb enough of the shock his style of play puts on them. Thus, his back absorbs too much and has caused him to have a herniated disk.

    Are you an orthopedist/trainer-type or did you just make this up? I’m asking seriously, not trolling.

  34. Frank

    ruruland: Melo was .584 in the final 16 games last year, I think he can play at that level all year with Lin, but our number will be much more conservative.

    I think it’s safe to say that Melo’s usage should slip some with Lin. we’ll be looking at about 19.5 fga adjusted for 36 mpg, and and about 8 fta.

    What would Melo need to shoot on those numbers for the the Knicks frontcourt to reach 600 TS?

    .570, EXACTLY

    I think hoping for .570 is a good goal — I’d honestly be happy with anything from 0.55-0.57. Lots of ifs, but if Lin can be around the same TS, Amare gets to 58+, Chandler stays in the mid-60s+, and we can retain one of Novak/JR, this will be an elite offense.

    The only way Melo will become much MORE efficient is if he takes playing off the ball more seriously (which he has done very well at times), runs harder in transition, and shoots more 3s. For example, by comparison, LBJ had 154 possessions on basket cuts, whereas Melo only had 63 – and I think it’s fair to say they are both ball-dominant guys. Sure, LBJ has Wade to pass him the ball, but some of that difference has to be the fact that an actual basket cut was made. Melo also needs to get out in transition more (LBJ had 3x as many transition attempts as Melo) and needs to shoot the 3 more.

  35. Frank

    meanwhile- huge day for the NYK today. crazy to think a bunch of dudes in suits may determine whether or not we will be able to field a contender-type team in the next 1-2 years. I am feeling that there is a 1-in-a-million chance we win this arbitration, but like Jim Carrey says…so you’re saying there’s a chance!!?

  36. Brian Cronin

    The only way Melo will become much MORE efficient is if he takes playing off the ball more seriously (which he has done very well at times), runs harder in transition, and shoots more 3s. For example, by comparison, LBJ had 154 possessions on basket cuts, whereas Melo only had 63 – and I think it’s fair to say they are both ball-dominant guys. Sure, LBJ has Wade to pass him the ball, but some of that difference has to be the fact that an actual basket cut was made. Melo also needs to get out in transition more (LBJ had 3x as many transition attempts as Melo) and needs to shoot the 3 more.

    Yeah, I think that is a very fair assessment. While I’d like to see Melo play off the ball more, I really want to see more threes from him.

  37. Brian Cronin

    meanwhile- huge day for the NYK today. crazy to think a bunch of dudes in suits may determine whether or not we will be able to field a contender-type team in the next 1-2 years. I am feeling that there is a 1-in-a-million chance we win this arbitration, but like Jim Carrey says…so you’re saying there’s a chance!!?

    It really is crazy. Honestly, the fairness argument in a vacuum is an interesting enough argument that I could possibly see them buy into it. But man, it is so hard to argue against something that you negotiated for. “But I wasn’t paying attention to how unfair it was!” is such an iffy argument.

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