There is no question that Amare Stoudemire has consistently been one of the most dominant offensive big men in the NBA for the majority of his eight-year career.
He is an athletic specimen with an uncanny ability to finish at the rim and a sweet shooting stroke. Needless to say, there aren’t many holes in his offensive repertoire.
But you have to wonder, how much of Amare’s success came from playing with the point guard who can turn anyone with the slightest bit of talent into a potential All-Star?
Is Amare prepared for life after Steve Nash?
Is Amare ready to run the pick and roll with Chris Duhon and Toney Douglas rather than a two-time MVP? Will his jump shot be as crisp without as much room to fire?
Of course, Amare won Rookie of the Year in 2003 and was a 20-point per game scorer the following season, all before Nash came to town. But I’m certain that Amare wouldn’t be the player he is today without Nash spoon-feeding him for dunk after dunk.
Nash obviously makes whoever goes to war with him significantly better, but Amare’s game is so tailored to Nash that he will struggle at times without his running mate.
The majority of Stoudemire’s points come from pick and rolls and cuts to the hoop, which are a direct result of Nash’s point-guard play, along with Amare’s activity.
According to Synergy Sports Technology Amare made 165 field goals out of the pick and roll last season, which was more than any other play type. He also converted on 144 field goals by slashing or cutting to the hoop, which was a close second.
Yes, a lot of those statistics have to do with the fact that he’s a tremendous finisher, but you can’t convert at the hoop if you don’t have a point guard to hit you in stride. Luckily STAT is a solid post-up player, as he is fantastic at facing up and attacking the defender.
But during his eight years in Phoenix, Amare’s role was different than that of your average power forward. He wouldn’t get 20-30 touches on the block, but rather thrived off of moving without the ball and hoping that Nash would find him in a favorable spot to finish.
How many times have Suns fans seen Amare struggle with one-on-one isolation situations late in games? In fact, STAT shot 47.9 percent on isolation plays, scoring 0.93 points per play and turning the ball over 11.3 percent of the time.
He really isn’t that dominant of a post player either. Amare did shoot a decent 50 percent from the field on post-up plays, but he turned the ball over 14.3 percent of the time, which was the highest percentage among all of the play types.
When he’s able to face up and attack with a full head of steam, it’s pretty much over for the defense. But if he’s going to be the workhorse down low he’s going to struggle from time to time.
However, if he does go to New York it’s hard to argue that his stats will deflate, simply because of the nature of Mike D’Antoni’s offense. But simply put, STAT needs a good point guard to be as effective as he was in Phoenix — which has to be a big reason why the Suns’ front office was hesitant to pin him as the franchise player after Nash calls it quits.
Without a legitimate playmaker like Nash, Stoudemire won’t be such a force to be reckoned with. There’s no question he’s a talent and an athletic freak. But as his body wears down and he has to rely more on his skills and the people around him, Amare Stoudemire is going to long for the days when he was spoon fed dunk after dunk.
He’s going to miss his point guard of six years and realize how integral Nash was in making him the type of player he is today. The highlight dunks will still be there, he’ll still explode for 40 every now and again, but without the spacing that Nash creates, it will be so much harder for STAT to put up his usual numbers Planet Orange was accustomed to during his eight-year reign.
Simply put, Amare Stoudemire needs Steve Nash, but instead he’s opting for a few more millions, the bright lights of Madison Square Garden and point guards with zero All-Star appearances and most definitely zero MVPs. Although he won’t admit it, Stoudemire will be yearning for Nash in no time.
Points Per Play