Is Amar’e An Improvement?
The New York Knicks made the second major move of the NBA Free Agency season by signing ex-Phoenix Suns power forward to a five-year contract worth close to $100 million. The move creates a number of questions, including the concept of “is the signing really an improvement over David Lee?” Others include: Who is going to pass Amar’e the ball? In Phoenix, he had Steve Nash essentially making him the offensive player he is today with deft passes that gave Stoudemire the opportunity to attack the rim. Where are these passes going to come from now that Amar’e is with the Knicks?
As of today, the only point guard on the Knicks roster, thanks to Chris Duhon’s signing with the Orlando Magic, is Eddie House. While House is an amazing shooter, that’s about all he brings to the table for an NBA team. He’s not a player who will make others around him better with nifty passes out of the pick and roll.
Without a point guard, the Knicks plan for replacing the dirty-work-doing David Lee is with a player who needs others passing him the ball to be an effective scorer; one that doesn’t rebound as effectively as Lee either. If the Knicks don’t sign a point guard of note — think Raymond Felton, perhaps — then they just paid a whole lot of money for an incomplete player who needs a set-up player to make him the offensive threat he was in Phoenix.
So far, the Knicks are very much a work in progress. As for Amar’e being more effective than the apparently-outgoing David Lee, thoughts aren’t clear here, either:
[When] Stoudemire arrives, he will bring along a history of injuries that have raised questions about the potential longevity of his career. In 2005, Stoudemire underwent microfracture surgery on his knee and played only three games. A detached retina in the 2008-9 season limited him to 53 games, and The Arizona Republic reported that Stoudemire’s contract cannot be insured because of the injuries, which caused Phoenix to hesitate in offering him a long-term commitment.
Lee played in 81 games each of the last three seasons, but his Knicks career may be over without a meeting.
That’s not exactly the most glowing response to the changing of the guard at the Knicks’ power forward position. With close to a $20 million a year contract, one would expect Amar’e to be head-and-shoulders above David Lee, and that’s just not the case. If the Amar’e signing is any indication, Knicks fans, ones waiting for the Summer of 2010 NBA Free Agency tour, might have had their hopes up for nothing.