Melo-drama has held court throughout most of this season, but the amber alert was also lit for Amare Stoudemire’s game. We’ve all seen him struggle to replicate the output he brought forth last season. The Amare that was playing at a MVP level during the first half of last season is just not around anymore, period.
This season has been a struggle for STAT to say the least – he went out of his way to strengthen his aching back from last season’s playoffs, going as far as adding 20lbs of muscle during the off-season. The added bulk slowed down Stoudemire’s game, he looked stiff and rusty. Earlier this year, Amare admitted that he hadn’t played basketball in almost 7 months before the season started. His timing was completely off. The the unthinkable happens for him, he loses his older brother in a car accident down in Florida. Terrible.
Fans and Media alike gave him a pass – anyone dealing with real-life issues can always hurt their productivity at work.
Since the All-Star break Amare has lost weight, played much more effective, and seems as if he becoming a lot more confident in scoring situations. He’s not averaging typical STAT numbers, but his field-goal percentage has increased since All-Star Weekend.
Before ASW: 19.7ppg on .44 from the field
After ASW: 17.9ppg in .53 from the field
Those post ASW numbers are slightly skewed because Amare had a few games where he scored under 10 points, but those were blow-out wins. The key here is the percentage, the increase shows that his attack to the basket is improving as the season is growing closer to the playoffs. A healthy, consistent, aggressive STAT is totally necessary in the post-season. With coach Woodson’s slight change in the offensive scheme to make STAT & Melo as the first priority, we should see the STAT that originally brought the Knicks back.