So as it turns out Amare Stoudemire ended up winning as many playoffs games as Steve Nash this year.
That was the case after the Boston Celtics finished off Amare’s New York Knicks this afternoon in a series that was very competitive in Boston but not so much in Madison Square Garden.
Stoudemire’s advanced stats were beyond atrocious this series. The Knicks lost 46.90 points per 100 possessions with Amare on the floor, according to Basketball Value, thanks in large part to his horrendous Game 3 effort. In that contest he shot 2-for-8 for seven points to go with three boards in 33 minutes while recording a stunningly awful minus 34.
In today’s Game 4 he went for 19 and 12, but he shot just 5-for-20 and posted a -11 in his 44 minutes. I will say the rebounding is impressive, but that’s not the kind of shooting performance the Knicks could afford out of their usually efficient big man.
Even in STAT’s superb Game 1 effort in which he went for 28 points on 12-for-18 shooting and corralled 11 boards the Knicks lost nine points in his 39 minutes on the floor of a two-point loss.
For the series he posted a below average PER of 11.93, 21st among power forwards, to go with a very un-Amare-like true shooting percentage of 44.2 percent.
Of course, Amare has struggled with a back injury the past three games that has most definitely limited his effectiveness, but then again injury issues are one of the biggest reason he’s not a Phoenix Sun these days.
For the season Amare averaged 25.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game on 50.2 percent shooting. As for his advanced numbers, he ranked 12th with a 22.78 PER but was very average in terms of Wins Produced (4.4 and a 0.073 WP48) and adjusted plus/minus (-0.90), and his 56.5 true shooting percentage was well below the elite true shooting percentages in the 60s he put up year after year in Phoenix.
Stoudemire’s season more or less corroborates with his advanced stats history. He has always been a PER beast, yet for some reason that makes no sense Amare consistently has performed poorly in terms of adjusted plus/minus as he did this season and his career Wins Produced numbers have never justified his max contract status.
This leads me to conclude that both the Suns and Amare were harmed by his departure, as opposed to the conventional viewpoint earlier in the season that Stoudemire was doing just fine on his own. The Suns, of course, never found a go-to guy and consistent low scoring option without him, and their pick-and-roll offense suffered greatly before Marcin Gortat established himself.
Although Stoudemire got to be “The Man” in Manhattan for a few months before Carmelo showed up, he led the Knicks to just two more regular season wins and no more playoff wins than the Suns while playing in the easier Eastern Conference.
Watching STAT struggle in the playoffs against a tough, physical team like Boston also should remind Suns fans why many were against a Stoudemire max contract at the conclusion of last season’s playoffs when Amare could not handle the Lakers.
Of course there’s the school of thought that the Suns should have re-signed Amare to maximize the end of Nash’s career and forget about what happens thereafter, and certainly the Suns would have been a playoff team with a shot to make some noise with STAT in a Suns jersey this season.
Overall the jury on this deal will still be out until the final years of Amare’s deal when we see if his knees really do crumble as the Suns predicted they might, but even now despite all the glitz and glamour of Stoudemire “reviving New York basketball” at the beginning of the season his poor playoff performance reminds us why Suns fans weren’t convinced Amare was the max-contract player to take Phoenix to the promised land.
Former Suns not shining in Orlando
Meanwhile in Orlando, the Suns should be thanking their lucky stars that Hedo Turkoglu isn’t on their books for about $35 million over the next three years after watching his epic fail in the Magic’s series against the Hawks.
Turkoglu has attempted 36 shots in the series and knocked down just nine on the way to compiling a 3.25 PER. He has shot atrociously bad in every game this series: 2-for-9, 4-for-16, 3-for-11, 2-for-12. Yet as he did in Phoenix he just keeps shooting, and tonight in a crucial Game 4 he missed a contested game-tying three at the buzzer as the Magic fell behind three games to one.
Jason Richardson, meanwhile, wasn’t even in the arena Sunday night after being suspended for the game for slapping Zaza Pachulia in the face during Game 3.
Even when he has played J-Rich isn’t making near the impact he did during his stellar playoff run last season in Phoenix as he has knocked down just 30 percent of his shots while attempting 10 per game. His three-point stroke isn’t there either, having hit 4-of-15 (26.7 percent) while averaging 8.7 points per game overall, and the Magic have lost 10.57 points per 100 with J-Rich in the game.
Considering the Suns got back Marcin Gortat, the most positive part about their future going forward, I don’t think J-Rich or Hedo are exactly missed in the desert these days.