Amare the great? Or at least let’s hope so (for the sake of NYC). In one of the first big moves in this free agency frenzy, Amare Stoudemire has reportedly agreed to a 5 year 100 million dollar deal with none other than the New York Knicks. Even with Stoudemire’s rocky past with current Knick’s Coach, Mike D’Antoni, I saw this one coming and predicted Amare to land in New York on a post I made just before the free agency period began on the first.
Amare is a good fit for New York. He is flashy. He is fun. And the bright lights should be something that he really does well with. There are two big questions though that need to be asked at this time. First of all is Amare worth a 100 million dollar contract? Secondly, is he that big of an upgrade from current Knick star David Lee?
So for the first question. Is anybody actually worth 100 million dollars? I mean that is a boatload of money. Since joining the League in 2002, Amare has averaged over 20 points per game in all but 2 seasons (his rookie year and the 05/06 season where he only played in 3 games due to injury). The man can flat-out score. In addition, he has averaged 8 or more rebounds in each of the past 4 seasons. So the man will grab some boards. Lastly, in each of the past 4 years (since his major injury), he has shot at over 50 percent from the floor and converted over 77% of his attempts from the charity stripe.
However the man does have many weaknesses for a 100 million dollar man. He struggles playing offensively with his back to the basket. So if he is unable to face up, his offensive prowess is neutralized. In addition, he has never been known as a great defender. At that power forward spot, there are many great players that you generally have to check throughout a game. Can Amare handle guarding any of these stars somewhat effectively (guys like KG, though there are more PF stars in the West). Lastly, many think that a lot of his accolades are due in large part to his former point guard, Steve Nash. And this may be true. We will have to wait and see.
As for question number two. David Lee has steadily improved in each of his 5 years with the Knicks. To the point now where he is a 20/10 guy who is very efficient on the offensive end of the floor. He has similar shooting percentage numbers to Amare from both the field and the free throw line. Lee struggles defensively in a similar fashion to Stoudemire. The only difference is Amare is 2 inches taller and appears to have a much longer wingspan.
So Amare is not a huge upgrade from Lee. The guys are both very similar players. There is perhaps a few items that Amare brings with him that Lee does not. First of all he has flash. And who does not want to see some Showtime like plays in Madison Square Garden. Secondly, he has a bigger name than Lee in that he has been playing at a high level for a good few more years than Lee. Next, Amare has great wingspan and length. And as I have stated many times, length is a defining factor in this League right now. Length wins games. Lastly, the Knicks should have a much easier time signing another elite player with Stoudemire advertising versus a Lee. Perception is reality and Amare is perceived as more of a star than Lee (whether you agree or not).
Best of luck to David Lee though. I highly doubt to see him in New York next year. Whichever team signs this guy will be very happy with their decision. Lee is an up and comer who will continue to be a double/double guy for years to come.
So I will state the verdict remains to be seen on whether Amare is a good pickup for the Knicks. As of now, he really is not worth the 100 million, unless he brings another elite player to the Garden. Will LBJ, Melo, or another big time player suit up for the Knicks next season?
What will be the domino effect of this signing by the Knicks?
Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.