Amare Stoudemire: Will he be the same without Nash?

Amare Stoudemire doesn't realize how much he will miss Steve Nash on the court.

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.

Synergy Stats

Play Type
% Time
Points Per Play
Pick-and-roll man17.8%1.211816527659.8%9.1%
Isolation 14.8%0.934611423847.9%11.3%

Tags: Amar'e Stoudemire Steve Nash

  • A.j

    The Suns need to pull this LB deal with the Boston quick and make sure that Wallace retires. I think the more cap room may give us a shot to convince Dirk to reject the Dallas offer and join his old friend Nash at the same price Dallas is offering. Dallas isn't making any big splashes this off season and the Dampier expiring contract isn't going to motivate a trade with teams with all-star players. The LB trade may also give Suns more chance at convincing Lee to join. I don't get why there hasn't been any news about Phoenix scheduling a meeting with David Lee yet? Wasn't Sarver motivated in pursuing Lee if Stoudemire rejected the Suns offer?

  • Barry

    @Hanks, Completely agree that David Lee would be a damn good fit with Nash.

    Sarver takes a lot of criticism but I can't blame him for not maxing out Stoudemire. I wouldn't. Suns fans know all too well what a great big man is when we see one – having seen Tim Duncan lead the Spurs to championship after championship at our expense. Amare, given his lack of rebounding, lack of defense, lack of basketball acumen and lack of leadership is not fit to tie up Duncan's shoelaces. Anyway, things might be tough but at least we're not the Knicks!

  • Bob

    I see Dirk as a bigger long shot than Amare now. I think if we go with anyone we should go for David Lee. But right now I really think we're just bloated at the bigs position without an actual big. We got like three tweeners and Frye. None of them are very moveable either right now. If anything we use the money we save from a LB deal with Boston to sign a defensive 2-guard. Just someone to defend Kobe. Doesn't even have to be that great considering Kobe is only playing with 9 fingers from now on.

  • next year

    With Tony Parker he will be even better !

  • Dave


  • Mike

    Amare will follow the same trend as:
    - Raja Bell
    - Boris Diaw
    - Shawn Marion

    All had career numbers in Phoenix as a result of Nash (and, to be fair, Amare himself). But Nash makes everything tick and when you remove him things aren’t so easy anymore and Amare’s weaknesses will be exposed: 1) no back-to-the-basket post game 2) poor ball protection fundamentals which leads to turnovers.

    1. He’s overrated as a max-player on offense. He can’t post up reliably. He’s no Tim Duncan, obviously, but most good players have a go-to move in the post. Amare doesn’t. No solid fallaway like Malone, no dream shake like Hakeem, no 10 foot automatic bank shot like Duncan, no hook shot like Kareem. He is easy to defend in the post.

    Even when he faces up, he is relatively predictable. He has a borderline travel jab step to the right and when that fails, he ends up going left for one stride before jumping off the wrong foot and shooting a really awkward fadeaway.

    He usually gets away with this unless he’s in a playoff series against a good team defense (see also: 2010 western conference finals), if Nash is clicking or if the other team simply can’t match up on the perimeter.

    2. Of all the players on the free-agent list I’ve seen, he has the worst ball control and protection fundamentals. He keeps the ball below his shoulders most of the time, and when he makes his marquee moves he is usually thrusting the ball directly in front of his defender across his body — making it vulnerable to an easy strip or deflection.

    He makes poor decisions on when to dribble and when to pick it up as well. Often times, when he posts up, he will put the ball on the floor and get it poked by either the primary or weak defender (in the event of a weak-side show and/or double).

    When he doesn’t do that, he’s picking up the ball prematurely when he shows back to his left after the defense takes away his strong right move (the one you see just about 90% of the time he goes to the basket) and you’ll notice that instead of continuing his left dribble, he jumps way to early and ends up off balance. This leads to a terrible shot that he sometimes banks in, a turnover via strip or block or a foul by a slower defender.

    Even on fast breaks and open court situations he brings the ball down below his chest to wind up for a dunk. You never see Duncan or Garnett do this. And that is because they watch tape and have had proper training.

    Overall, Amare is still raw at 27 when he should be at his peak. I’ve never been a big fan except one game in Indiana where he simply destroyed the Pacers by himself. I haven’t seen that player again, and that big game against the Clips when he got injured doesn’t count because it was the Clips.

    He’s going to be a 20 pt, 6 rbs guy in New York. Maybe 25/10 — but the one thing I am sure of is his turnover rate will increase dramatically, his shooting percentage will plummet and by the end of his first season away from Phoenix he’ll be wishing he spent more time fixing flawed fundamentals instead of relying on Steve Nash to compensate.

  • Billy Masterson

    *GASP* You mean Amar’e’s patented post move of facing up to the basket and standing there for ten seconds is…ineffective?

  • Dogg

    >by the end of his first season away from Phoenix he’ll >be wishing he spent more time fixing flawed >fundamentals instead of relying on Steve Nash to >compensate

    Well, he’ll still get his guaranteed $$s… which appears to be the most important thing for him

  • Brian

    Just like D'Antoni

  • HankS

    I think Amare will just about maintain his offensive production thanks to D’Antoni’s brand of basketball, but unless they somehow convince LBJ or Wade to sign up, which at this point doesn’t seem likely, that might not be enough for them to make the play-offs. The Knicks fans won’t be too happy…
    Meanwhile in Phoenix, if RoLo keeps improving as he should, the Warrick-Lopez 2010-2011 combo might not lag much behind the 2009-2001 Amare-Lopez combination.
    While I still wish they got D-Lee for Amare, I think there’s no reason to panick.

  • Mel.

    “With Tony Parker he will be even better !”

    Oh, absolutely. We all know TP’s hanging next to his phone, just waiting for Amar’e to drop that dime and give him the all-clear.

  • A.j

    I was watching ESPN earlier and the experts were saying that the Suns were considering trading Nash and that the Hawks were looking for a PG. I don’t know where this guys are getting this rumors, but the only place I would want Nash to go is to the Lakers since he would have a clearer shot at a title replacing Fisher at PG.


    I think if the suns trade away lb i think they should get some valuse like a first round pick or a player like tony allen from the celtics who plays defese. If you think about it suns are becoming a defensive team jared dudley jason richardson grant hill robin lopez earl clark steve nash evens try to play defense now and u add a guy like tony allen sweet who can guard koe the best in the league

  • suns68


    It’s a mixed bag. Marion, Bell and Diaw left Nash and were never heard from again.
    On the other hand, Joe Johnson left and became a superstar.
    I do recall Amare did pretty well when he played with Marbury and practically had to rip the ball out of his hands to get touches.
    Will Amare be as good without Nash? My feeling is probably not. But I guess I don’t care all that much if he’s not in purple and orange. Especially if he’s in the east, which might as well be Italy given our chances of making the finals with Hakim Warrick and Earl Clark at power forward.

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  • micheal

    with nash he is not the best power forward so without he will be for sure worse

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