Despite all the physical trauma Amar’e Stoudemire has endured throughout his 10 year career, he is still finding a way to produce at a high, All-Star caliber level. From season-ending knee injuries, to a detached retina, to back spasms and the infamous fire extinguisher incident, many NBA scouts and experts assumed that at this point, Amar’e should be a shell of his former self and on his way to an early retirement. While he may not be the high-flying, electrifying athlete that once competed in the slam dunk contest, STAT has been proving his critics wrong the past several weeks by producing at a high level.
Amar’e Stoudemire has simply flourished in his role coming off the bench. He understands his physical limitations and does not want to jeopardize the chemistry this Knicks team has. Former superstar Pau Gasol, who has turned into a backup to D’Antoni favorite Earl Clark, should really learn from Amar’e and how he has transformed himself from a bona fide superstar into a potent bench player for the betterment of his team. Amar’e’s class, selflessness and team first mentality are what help make the “off the bench role”so seamless. Stat off the pine is truly a win-win-win scenario for Amar’e himself and of course the Knicks squad and the fans. Amar’e is able to keep his minutes down to a reasonable level which lessens the stress he needs to apply to those old knees. He is able to dominate the 2nd unit big men which should contribute to a victory for the blue and orange.
In Stoudemire’s past 5 games, he has been averaging 17 PPG and 6.2 RPG, while shooting efficiently from both the field and the charity stripe in just under 25 minutes. He has been making crucial plays down the stretch that have been the difference between wins and losses. How did he contribute? Mainly his clutch free throw shooting and put backs off offensive rebounds. Although he is still a liability on the defensive end, Stat has chipped in with 4 blocked shots in the past 3 games, as he is attempting to re-establish himself as a premier shot blocker. Not to mention, he and Carmelo Anthony have been proving their harshest critics wrong and keeping the press off their backs by exhibiting fantastic offensive chemistry. We are beginning to become accustomed to seeing Melo look for Amar’e slash play to the basket which usually leads to a monstrous tomahawk slam.
Amar’e Stoudemire may no longer be the MVP caliber, $100 million dollar man the New York Knicks signed back in 2010, but he is still proving to be a valuable asset to this Knicks team. He is no longer the main course to the Knicks game plan, but instead the icing on the cake. As a member of the second unit, Stat, along with J.R. Smith, form a tantalizing duo that should strike fear into any opponent’s bench players. Stat’s offseason training with Hakeem Olajuwon may finally be paying off. Since watching his play of late, he has been nothing short of a dream.
Aaron Kopperl @AKop47 – Knickswag Contributor
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