Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

NYT: In New Knicks Era, Stoudemire Is Not His Old Self

What, you thought I’d let Jim dominate all the news that’s fit to print like a certain high-usage small forward does the ball? Gimme the rock, yo! (and by “rock,” I mean I scribbled  something for the Times today too).

What if we’re watching Don Mattingly, circa 1990?

I remember it well. After a freak back injury that supposedly occurred during some clubhouse horseplay with pitcher Bob Shirley, Mattingly, the All-Star Yankees first baseman, transformed seemingly overnight from a triple crown candidate into a slap-hitting, powerless shell of his former self.

That’s what I am reminded of when I watch Stoudemire drive from the top of the key. Stripped of his explosive leaping ability and lacking the speed to beat his man to the spot, time and again he finds himself trapped under the rim or tangled in a web of defenders, unable to tap into his otherworldly athleticism. It has gotten so bad that the man who used to be one of the most devastating finishers in all of basketball is finding his shots swatted away by mere mortals like Aaron Gray and Kris Humphries.

If you’d like to read the rest of my sweat-soaked hand-wringing about STAT, here it is. If you really go coo-coo Cocoa Puffs-style for my obscure references, I also chimed in at the Mothership about all things Lin and LeBron.

1. Jeremy Lin’s emergence has been ________________.

 

 

Robert Silverman, Knickerblogger: Jeremy Lin’s emergence has been Jeremy Lin’s emergence. Not to paraphrase Gertrude Stein, but Lin has been so astoundingly compelling precisely because his emergence been such an original, archetype-defying event. He’s not Tebow or Rocky or even Teen Wolf. The best part? Because he’s smashing every available narrative convention(s), we have no idea how the rest of this tale will play out.

And here’s the rest. Lotsa reading for Knickerbloggeristas to plow through today. Better crack them e-books! HOMEWORK?!?

63 comments on “NYT: In New Knicks Era, Stoudemire Is Not His Old Self

  1. Frank

    Great article at NYT Robert!
    I too am very worried about STAT – truth is, he already looked a little like this in the second half of last year (ie. before the injury), and then he came out in game 1 of the playoffs and dunked over Garnett and O’Neal. I’m really hoping this is just rust, uncertainty over his role, and confidence.

    What would be REALLY useful tonight is for the Knicks to run a couple plays early for STAT to get him some clean elbow looks. He needs to shoot that with confidence, and hopefully that will open up the rest of his game.

  2. d-mar

    I’ll admit that I’m overly loyal to STAT because of what he did for this franchise last year, but I do think he’ll be back (no pun intended) He looked a little more focused on D last night, and his jumper will start falling, I don’t think his shot being automatic from 15 feet last year was a fluke.

    And I would love to see him throw one down on Christine Bosh tonight!

  3. ruruland

    Liked the article but I guess what I inferred was that you think STAT’s lost his top-notch athleticism for good?

    I’m not so sure. It’s not as though there haven’t been flashes.

  4. Grymm

    Stat looks to me like a guy who didn’t pick up a basketball between the end of the Boston series and December 15th. He’s bricking jumpers, dribbling the ball off his foot, and getting his shot blocked. In basketball, gaining weight is almost never good. Sure, Kerry Kittles desparately needed a sandwich but did a 240lb Stat need to try and pack on 20lbs? Certainly not playing along side a legit center.

    I highly doubt that’s 20lbs of muscle. For a guy coming off a back injury and spending months resting, it’s probably 20 lbs of potato chips. During a game, he doesn’t handle the ball much (and shouldn’t) so not having practices hurts in some areas more.

    It was nice to see him actually defending and rebounding last night but then again I think he threw a couple rebounds out of bounds as well. I *hope* a few weeks from now, he looks more physically coordinated and capable.

  5. Nick C.

    I like the Mattingly reference. As always you guys are great reads and touch upon topics that the great unwashed seem to miss.

  6. villainx

    I like Stat a lot. I think part of it is his adjusting from going from the main superstar to secondary superstar. It is tough for him, but he doesn’t complain and don’t make excuses, and he’s still trying.

    It would be different if he was option 1 or 2, but he’s not the main focal point.

  7. Frank O.

    I have a thought – yes, occasionally, I have them.
    In the video someone posted about the fitness regime Lin underwent this summer, the doctor described Lin like a rubber band that was somewhat loose, and his looseness limited his leaping ability.
    So what they worked on was physically tightening up Lin through weight lifting and strength training…or essentially tightening up the rubber band. By doing so, they added more than three inches to Lin’s vertical.
    Now, I recently also had a similar issue where my physical therapist noted I had great legs, glutes strength and muscular range of motion, meaning I should be a strong leaper. He said your gluts are like a hammer against the anvil of your upper body. If your torso isn’t strong, well, your legs can be super strong, but you’re not going to get much lift.
    This got me thinking about Amare’s back injury, which not only weakened his back and his core, but it also prevented him from doing as much core strength work through the summer. I wonder if his recovery from the back injury, which took much longer than anyone anticipated, has taken away some explosiveness and vertical leaping ability…at least for now. I mean, he can rebuild the strength, but in the short term, he doesn’t have an iron core like he once had.
    Just a theory, but it makes sense on its face.

  8. Z-man

    Nice job, Robert. I am loyal to STAT as well. I know he took the most money, etc., but he made the LeBrat fiasco easier to take. Don’t get the potato chip remark in @5, I think he’s a gym rat who reported in phenominal condition considering the limitations he was working with. He clearly seems to have residual stiffness which I hope will loosen up as the season goes on. He deserves some latitude from fans because he is a fearless and proud competitor that put this team on his broad shoulders after years of misery,he has gone through a lot more hardship in his life than Jeremy Lin could possibly ever know, and he will kill himself trying to figure out how to help this team win a title. He has already come back from a career-threatening (see: Allan Houston and Greg Oden) and sight-threatening injuries, and I have little doubt that he will come back all the way from this one. Backs take time, ask Gallo and Baron. He did not have a disk injury so the Mattingly (or LJ) comparison is not really valid, but a torn muscle can destabilize the back to the point where it just takes time to rebuild. If he can just hit that 15-18 footer with consistency, it will make a world of difference for him, especialy with Tyson in the fold. The rest will come, bank on it.

  9. ruruland

    Frank O.:
    I have a thought – yes, occasionally, I have them.
    In the video someone posted about the fitness regime Lin underwent this summer, the doctor described Lin like a rubber band that was somewhat loose, and his looseness limited his leaping ability.
    So what they worked on was physically tightening up Lin through weight lifting and strength training…or essentially tightening up the rubber band. By doing so, they added more than three inches to Lin’s vertical.
    Now, I recently also had a similar issue where my physical therapist noted I had great legs, glutes strength and muscular range of motion, meaning I should be a strong leaper. He said your gluts are like a hammer against the anvil of your upper body. If your torso isn’t strong, well, your legs can be super strong, but you’re not going to get much lift.
    This got me thinking about Amare’s back injury, which not only weakened his back and his core, but it also prevented him from doing as much core strength work through the summer. I wonder if his recovery from the back injury, which took much longer than anyone anticipated, has taken away some explosiveness and vertical leaping ability…at least for now. I mean, he can rebuild the strength, but in the short term, he doesn’t have an iron core like he once had.
    Just a theory, but it makes senseon its face.

    great post

  10. nicos

    I think Amar’e looked really stiff to start the season and then loosened up to where his athleticism was back to more or less where it was last year. Then he had the week off after his brother died and looked stiff the first two games back and okay (if not great) last night. My guess is that with any down time the back stiffens up on him so the all-star break might hurt as much as help him. He’s never going to be the Amar’e of 2004 again when he was as freakishly athletic as any big man ever but the Amar’e of the last two years was still very effective- and hopefully we’ll see that level of production again.

  11. steveoh

    It’s concerning that he just hasn’t been the same type of Amar’e this season that we’ve normally had in seasons past.

    But this hasn’t been the same type of season that we’ve normally had. And when you throw in his back-rehabbed summer and then his brother’s death this winter, I’m inclined to give him some more time.

    Playing well in February is nice.

    Playing great in May and June is the goal.

  12. Bruno Almeida

    villainx:
    I like Stat a lot. I think part of it is his adjusting from going from the main superstar to secondary superstar. It is tough for him, but he doesn’t complain and don’t make excuses, and he’s still trying.

    It would be different if he was option 1 or 2, but he’s not the main focal point.

    I don’t see where that comes from.

    most of Amare’s success came in Phoenix, where clearly he was the 2nd star to Nash, so why would he be less willing now to play that role?

    in my opinion, his struggles come from not being able to adapt to his teammate’s games, and from his plethora of injuries which have severely slowed him down.

    since he has always been a pretty terrible defender, he’s now even worse (because he’s slower) and can’t compensate for that anymore on the other end because he’s no longer the freakish athlete he once was.

    we need to trade him, but that won’t happen.

  13. Robert Silverman Post author

    ruruland:
    Liked the article but I guess what I inferred was that you think STAT’s lost his top-notch athleticism for good?

    I’m not so sure. It’s not as though there haven’t been flashes.

    Thanks for all the kind words, guys. Yeah, I hate to be Debbie Downer but I don’t think we’ll ever see last year’s STAT again. In flashes, sure, but consistently? (And I really dig STAT too), I hope I’m wrong, but for now, I think the answer’s no…

  14. Frank O.

    Robert Silverman: Thanks for all the kind words, guys. Yeah, I hate to be Debbie Downer but I don’t think we’ll ever see last year’s STAT again. In flashes, sure, but consistently? (And I really dig STAT too) No…

    of course, it could just be the beard that’s throwing him off.

  15. Frank

    Man, I haven’t been this excited for a Knicks game in I don’t know how long. I’m a little worried this will be a blowout – as great as J-Lin has played, he has not seen athletes like Miami has in this short/awesome run of his – I’m worried that he’ll have about 8 TOs that lead to 18 Miami points before he adjusts to have quickly those passing windows close.

    Or maybe he will write another chapter in this amazing story of his.

  16. Gideon Zaga

    I dont care what y’all think about the guy. I know his game is more than his explosiveness and lack of defense and unwillingness to reinvent his game. But as a fan, i love StAt. If it wasnt for him, there would be no team here today, well no good team, STAT brought in Melo, Melo flipped his baggage for Tyson, then thay all brought in Baron and JR, and then I could even say STAT played badly so we could stink so bad causing MDA to play Lin hahaha. Now that sounded better in my head. Anyhow you get the point, I love me some STAT, in this system just like Melo, u almlost hate you love em until you realise how much you need them.

  17. DS

    FWIW, his per minute rebounding and rebound % are up from last year.

    I don’t deny that he looks sluggish, but it’s also pretty clear how starting alongside Felton, Fields, Gallo, and Turiaf vs. would extenuate STAT’s scoring and esp. his blocked shots much than starting alongside ‘Melo, Chandler, and now Lin.

  18. KnickFanInCelticLand

    Robert Silverman: Thanks for all the kind words, guys. Yeah, I hate to be Debbie Downer but I don’t think we’ll ever see last year’s STAT again. In flashes, sure, but consistently? (And I really dig STAT too), I hope I’m wrong, but for now, I think the answer’s no…

    I’m inclined to go with rururulands take. I was a national and sometimes world ranked athlete in the past and also treat sports injuries. I had my share of muscle injuries. My observations are that you get back about 90% of your function in the first 2-3 months. Then progress meanders getting worse after too much or too little of the sport. That final 10% takes about a year. I found I could compete but not “get into the zone” during those 9-10 months post injury. Then, without fanfare you realize that the injured muscle hasn’t hurt for x number of weeks and chances of “getting into the zone” have returned.

    Robert, Mazel Tov has not deserted Amare. These problems sometimes need longer to heal than you think.

  19. hoolahoop

    Yeah, it’s sad. Amare’s a good guy and he’s not his old self.
    The list is long for back injuries: Bird quit because of his back pain. Bill Walton went through hell.

  20. jon abbey

    Walton’s injuries were foot-related, he didn’t have back issues until well after he retired.

    what’s strange about the Amare situation is how little we actually know, everything is just guesswork. where are the beat writer stories on this?

  21. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    If you all had forgotten what a real max player (or three) look like, there you go.

  22. daaarn

    This is what I was afraid of. Not to say the Heat needed anymore motivation, but all the Lin hype is probably going to make all other teams go into “i’m gonna show ‘em up” mode on the Knicks.

  23. jon abbey

    do you Fields lovers notice how as soon as Smith comes in for Fields, the lane opens right up for Lin?

  24. TheXman

    This game would be much worse if Heat made some of their layups, we’re lucky to be this close. Novak and Smith need to really make up ground for us against the Heat’s 2nd unit. That’s our only chance to keep us in the game.

Comments are closed.