Knicks star Amar’e Stoudemire has struggled mightily this season getting his offensive game going. Over the past few games, I’ve paid more attention to where he was getting the ball and where he took his shots. Stoudemire has been cold this season but often times he is receiving the ball in a position that does not help his game. Today against Orlando, I decided to log where he got the ball on impact plays. Meaning, I didn’t record if he got the ball and passed it off but I logged possessions in which he shot, assisted or turned the ball over. Here is what I recorded:
- left elbow coming off screen – travel
- left elbow coming off screen- missed jumper
- left post- pass out, near turnover
- ran fast break – assist
- post mid-left- blocked shot
- right post- miss
- middle paint on movement- hook shot-good
- free throw line off screen- pass: play was designed for STAT but taken away by defense
- right elbow off screen- jumper good
- left elbow off screen- penetration to the rim- shot good
- left elbow- penetration- got to free throw line
- left mid-range baseline- penetration- dunk
Overall: 22 minutes, 4/7 shooting, 2/2 from free throw line, 12 points.
Analysis: Despite his foul trouble, Stoudemire’s offensive game showed a few signs of improvement. His post play was poor but that’s to be expected against Dwight Howard. I liked Stoudemire’s adjustment of driving the ball in the second half as opposed to settling for jumpers. I thought Stoudemire did a nice job of not settling for stagnant jump shots. When he shot the mid-range jumper he was coming off a screen and shooting a rhythm jump shot. A lot of his success came against Glen “Big Baby” Davis who Stoudemire routinely destroys (as noted in my game preview). I thought he showed some great explosiveness on the poster dunk of Davis. It was the type of explosive move we haven’t seen from Stoudemire this year. It is one thing to drive the ball but I thought in the second half, Stoudemire did a good job of exploding to the rim to get to the line and get some shots in the paint. D’Antoni did a nice job of getting Stoudemire moving in the offense and not just isolating him 22 feet away from the rim. Against Oklahoma City, there were times where Stoudemire was running isolation beyond the arc which was asinine and ridiculous. Today there was none of that which was good to see and despite his smaller sample size of shots, Stoudemire was efficient today. I liked a lot of what I saw in terms of running him off screens and getting him rhythm jump shots.
However, there were a few things I did not like. How many pick and rolls do you see in that list above? 0. The Knicks did not run any pick and roll to Stoudemire. At times he set screens but there was no effort to get him the ball off the roll. The pick and roll what Stoudemire does best and the Knicks do not even run it. I understand there’s no point guard but that doesn’t mean abandoning the pick and roll is a good idea. Clearly Stoudemire is best moving towards the rim, why not even TRY to get him the ball on a pick and roll? Especially when Stoudemire’s jump shot has been cold and struggling. The second thing I did not like was Stoudemire’s lack of usage in the 4th quarter. He started the 4th quarter on fire and then the Knicks went away from him. Part of this is on Melo. Part of this is on the point guards and the coaches but I think Stoudemire needs to receive blame as well. I thought he did a poor job of presenting himself for the ball in the middle and late stages of the 4th. As a result, he barely touched the ball and when Melo went cold the Knicks were done.
Looking past his foul trouble and limited minutes, I thought Stoudemire played a decent offensive game. His impact was not felt after about the 8 minute mark in the 4th but he did show some good signs when he had the ball. His jump shot is still cold but he did show good willingness to adjust his game and get to the rim. Clearly he can get to the rim when he wants and I would like to see more of that from him. I want to see some pick and rolls as well but the Knicks seem hesitant to do it until Baron Davis gets back. Stoudemire must stay on the court first and for most but overall he did do some good things today.Follow @tarmosino