If I was running an NBA team, I’d want no part of Stoudemire. He still has some scoring ability, but he’s an absolute sieve on defense, giving back two baskets for every one he scores. And he’s a particularly bad fit on the Knicks, as his presence on the floor forces Carmelo Anthony to play small forward, where he’s a bit less effective.
But that’s real basketball, where defense and fit and wins and losses all matter. Grade Stoudemire purely for his fantasy potential and the picture is very different. Consider: Mike Woodson has shortened his rotation and returned to a bigger lineup, featuring Stoudemire as a starter. He’s also asking the Knicks to push the ball more, resulting in a faster pace of play. Those are big reasons why Stoudemire is averaging 20 points, seven boards and over 31 minutes in his last two games. Combine that with the fact that nine of New York’s next ten opponents are under .500, and suddenly Amar’e – who is just 48 percent owned in Yahoo! Leagues – looks like a really good buy, especially as a short-term substitute what I’m sure is a very competitive league.
With just under a week remaining until the Feb. 20 trade deadline, the rumor mill has been curiously quiet. Maybe the teams working on deals have gone into double-secret stealth mode, and they’re waiting to drop a shocker like “Deron Williams to the Nets” on us. Or maybe all the general managers are too busy clearing snow and ice from their driveways to even think about deals.
Or maybe there just isn’t that much going on.
You can never really tell, until you’ve seen them play together, how well NBA players will fit together on a team. Some pairings are inspired, like Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett or Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. Others, like Gasol and Dwight Howard, or Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, never really click.
Will this season’s new player combinations click? Twelve games might not be enough time to really make an assessment, but based on what we’ve seen so far, we should be able to make an implication.