Amare Stoudemire has star company, but can he become a championship-caliber big?

When Amare Stoudemire entered free agency last season, the question the Suns asked themselves was whether he was the right player to build around at a max-contract price.

The Knicks instead took that risk and now Amare has company among New York superstars after Carmelo Anthony FINALLY was dealt to the Knicks Monday, but I wonder if either of those guys have the chops to be the lead player on a championship-caliber team.

If the Knicks can find a way to finagle an all-world point guard from the free agency class of 2012 (cough cough CP3 or D-Will) then they’ve got a title contender to rival the Super Friends in Miami.

Perhaps it’s OK for now for New York to be a team with a second-round ceiling after so many years of misery in the Garden, but I’d be wary of giving up all those assets for a guy in Carmelo whose advanced stats numbers don’t exactly scream “superstar” thanks to his low efficiency, high usage nature. The Knicks are now also extremely thin although that’s what D’Antoni prefers I suppose.

I also question how Carmelo fits into a D’Antoni offense that has so long been known for the pick-and-roll, spacing for threes and transition points. Of course he could score in any offense, especially one drawn up by an offensive mastermind like D’Antoni, but Melo doesn’t exactly complement Amare in a Nashian way, and let’s not get started about his defensive fit.

All along I’ve thought the Knicks should find a way to upgrade the big man spot next to Amare and then pray for one of the point guards in 2012 rather than toss all their assets into the Carmelo derby.

If nothing else the Knicks just got a whole lot more interesting and with two All-Star starters among their starting five they will be a perennial playoff team for the foreseeable future.

I still feel the Knicks are one stud away from being able to challenge the Bostons and Miamis of the world, but in the coming years we will find out if Amare Stoudemire can become the championship-level big man he never was in Phoenix.

And on the flip side….

The biggest ramifications of the deal for the current Suns involve the slide Denver is likely to take without its two best players, especially since some of the Knicks they acquired could be packaged for future assets.

The Nuggets are currently tied for sixth in the West two games up in the loss column on the Suns. It’s hard to imagine Denver is a playoff team with the lineup it will put out.

With Utah floundering without Jerry Sloan and Memphis in trouble with Rudy Gay out for a month, a playoff berth for Phoenix seems much likelier than it did a few weeks ago.

Tags: Amar'e Stoudemire Carmelo Anthony

  • Freddy

    There is Playoff hope for PHX.

  • shazam

    phx. will win it all this year..championship written all over them

  • Wierzbi

    Definitely some good news for phx, but still, phx has way more remaining games with teams >.500 than the 5-8 playoff spot holders, so it may be slightly a difficult chase with any one of them.
    On the other hand – phx seems to perform better as an underdog and ultimately fail as a favorite (arghhh, those losses to the Kings!!!), so having to play better teams may really be this kind of experience that would forge a playoff-capable suns team :)

  • Phil

    Great news for the Knicks, they now have the two most overrated ‘superstars’ in the NBA. Melo can get you 25 points a night, but needs 20 shots to do it. Amare is an offensive machine who can’t be relied on to get boards when it counts. There are still only 5 top teams in the East.

    I don’t think the Nuggets will drop off that much either, unless they make further moves as Melo’s shots can get shared around

  • Zak

    How the rest of the Nuggets’ season goes depends on what other trades they have in the works. I’ve heard from more than one source that the reason they finally pulled the trigger on this trade a few days before the trade deadline was that they have a few more potential trades in mind that were dependent on the Melo trade. And lets not forget that they’ve not only lost Melo to the Knicks but Billups as well. Billups is still a very good PG.

    I does add up to the Nugs probably struggling the rest of the season which helps the Suns’ chances of making the playoffs.

  • Jason

    I disagree. I think this will galvanize the Nuggets now that they are freed of all the distractions, and Karl will coach his ass off. They’ll make the playoffs. But so will we!

  • Zak

    Jason, IF Denver doesn’t make any more trades, I can see your point. But there are rumors that they aren’t through and the more trades they make could disrupt the team even more for the rest of the season. And I believe that trading Billups will create more of a disruption in their offense than trading Melo. To a certain extent, I think trading away Billups will have much the same effect on the Nugs as trading away Nash would have on the Suns. LOL, okay, I know I’ve opened myself up to a lot of criticism here for comparing Billups to Nash but Billups IS a very good PG and was a big part of Denver’s success since he joined their team. Billups is the wild card in the NY/Denver trade.

  • Lloyd

    Great news for the Knicks. At least they were smart enough to realize that a player the caliber of Carmelo doesn’t come around very often, and they pounced on it.

    Notice the ex-players that are now announcers that say this was a great deal for the Knicks. I rest my case.

    The only good thing, is that Carmelo didn’t end up with the Lakers.

  • Phil

    @Lloyd – half the terrible GMs in teh league are ex players, so your case doesn’t rest at all. Melo is massively overrated because he is not an efficient scorer – there is a reason he only got a talented Denver squad to the second round once. I agree with Jason – the Nuggets will still make the playoffs, and so will the Suns