Why Stoudemire's return could hurt Knicks
January, 1, 2013
By Ryan Feldman | ESPN Stats & Information
Steve Mitchell/US PresswireAmar’e Stoudemire has not played in a game yet this season.Amar'e Stoudemire is expected to make his season debut tonight for the New York Knicks. Normally, having a former All-Star return to the lineup is a good thing, but Knicks fans might want to temper their expectations about Stoudemire’s return.
The Knicks were nearly nine points worse per 48 minutes with Stoudemire on the court last season. They were significantly worse on both ends of the court with Amar'e. The biggest difference came in the turnover department, where the Knicks committed one more turnover and forced three fewer turnovers per 48 minutes with him on the floor.
Their four worst defensive lineups (in terms of points allowed per 48 minutes) that played at least 15 minutes together last season included Stoudemire. The worst lineup also included Mike Bibby, Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert and Bill Walker, and was outscored 42-29 in 16 minutes. That also happened to be the Knicks' worst lineup overall (in terms of plus-minus per 48 minutes).
Overall, Stoudemire was a part of the Knicks' three worst lineups.
The Knicks have often been exposed defending isolation plays this season. They've allowed the most isolation points in the league.
Amar'e isn't known as a one-on-one defensive stopper. Last season, he ranked 120th in points per isolation play allowed of the 184 players to defend at least 50 isolation plays.
One area in which the Knicks are struggling this season is rebounding. They're the 6th-worst rebounding team, grabbing just 48 percent of available boards. They've only outrebounded eight of their 30 opponents -- only the Boston Celtics have outrebounded fewer opponents (6) this season.
Conventional wisdom would suggest that Stoudemire -- a 6-foot-11 athletic power forward who averages nearly nine boards per game for his career -- will help the Knicks in the rebounding department.
But that may not be the case.
Stoudemire only made the Knicks a slightly better rebounding team when he was on the court last season, as they grabbed 50.4 percent of available rebounds when he was on the court compared to 49.5 percent when he was on the bench.
Last season, Amar'e grabbed 13.7 percent of available rebounds, an improvement from the 2010-11 season. This season, the Knicks have added assets like Kurt Thomas, Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace that have helped on the glass. Each of them, along with Chandler, have a rebound percentage higher than 13.7 this season.
With Chandler, Thomas, Camby and Wallace (when healthy) all sharing frontcourt minutes, Stoudemire's presence may not help the Knicks much on the glass.
Different offensive game plan
The aspect in which the Knicks really change with Amar'e is their shot selection. When he was on the court last season, 50 percent of the Knicks' shot attempts came in the paint and only 22 percent of their attempts were 3-pointers. But when Stoudemire was off the court, only 42 percent of their shot attempts came in the paint and 35 percent of their attempts were from beyond the arc.
That trend has continued this season without Stoudemire, as 35 percent of their attempts are 3-pointers and only 38 percent of their shots are in the paint.
Adding Amar’e to the rotation could disrupt a Knicks offense that currently ranks second in offensive efficiency and is on pace to be the Knicks’ most efficient offense in the last 40 seasons.