Think back to a year ago. In January of 2011, people were already unofficially handing out early season awards. Given the anticipation of last season, it was only natural. A recipients of one of those awards was brand-new Knick, Amar’e Stoudemire. And he was just being handed any ol’ award. Many were tabbing him as an early season MVP. And it was well deserved.
Heading into the famed summer of 2010, many were hesitant to anoint Amar’e as max-contract worthy. Well, he was granted one by the Knicks regardless, and never disappointed. His detractors thought that he was largely a product of Steve Nash, but he proved that theory wrong. His early season play even prompted me to question whether or not he was better off without Nash. He would eventually go on to become the first Knick to start an All-Star Game since Patrick Ewing, led the team its first winning season since the 2000 – 01 campaign, and injected new life into a franchise that so desperately needed it.
Fast forward to today, and things don’t resemble those memories at all. His points are down to the tune of 17.4 (from 25.3 last year) and he seems like he’d rather be doing something else most nights. The obvious reaction to why he’s scoring eight less points per contest is because he’s playing with another bonafide scorer in Carmelo Anthony. But in watching the games, you can tell it’s more than that. He’s not him self. He seems uninterested and uninspired.
It could be one of two things. Either his back isn’t fully healed from when he hurt it in the Boston series last April, or he’s secretly upset that Carmelo has come in and dominated the ball, fan support and attention. The fans absolutely loved Amar’e last year. He could do no wrong. Now he has to share that with a guy who is unilaterally perceived as the superior player. Often times, there are stretches during Knick games where you forget that Stoudemire is even on the floor. Minutes upon minutes will elapse without him even touching the ball, let alone taking a shot. I don’t put that on D’Antoni. That has to do with what’s inside Amare’s chest.
I won’t even get in to the fact that he NEVER posts up any more, or that he’s now shooting entirely too many 3s. For today, I’m just focused on the fact that if Amar’e doesn’t figure out whatever is ailing him, be it mental or physical, the Knicks won’t even sniff the postseason this year.
If you’re looking for your everyday, predictable basketball talk, then go somewhere else, because Kevin Burke of The Kevin Burke Project brings provocative, thought provoking content about basketball as only he can. Kevin also hosts The Hoop Doctors weekly podcast show, which you can subscribe to for free on iTunes. Follow Kevin on Twitter and Facebook