Thursday, May 17, 2007

Amare's Value

Last night conveyed a lot of things about basketball and the state of the NBA. Some of these things are very specific like "it is hard for a 34-year old guy to play double his usual minutes" and some are more general like "I think maybe the NBA has become irrelevent."

One of the issues on display that fell somewhere in between is how valuable Amare Stoudemire is to the Suns. I was among those basketball fans that started to think he could (and maybe should) be moved this offseason to sooth Marion's ego and switch things up a bit. After watching Game Five, I've changed my mind. Amare has certain fearless quality that makes him extremely valuable to the Suns. There was a great column about this at the AOL Fanhouse yesterday, and I will just urge you to read it, rather than repeat everything.

Everything discussed in that link was evident last night. Without Amare, the Suns looked like plucky underdogs. Like a bunch of scrappers hoping to knock down enough threes to win. They didn't have anyone to finish on the pick-and-roll, to rise up and challenge Duncan, and to block shots at the other end. For all of Stoudemire's deficiencies (namely: on-the-ball defense and staying put on the bench), we saw in Game Four just how much he means to this team. And we saw last night - as Marion followed a brilliant first half with a disappearing act and Kurt Thomas could barely run fast enough to catch Nash's sick bounce passes - how much they miss him when he's not on the floor.

He may be a bit of a nut and a hard guy to have in the locker room and all the other things we hear about Amare Stoudemire, but he doesn't seem poisonous like T.O. and other locker room cancers we've seen ruin teams over the years. And as long as he is willing to be a loyal teammate and work on his game (I hear he is lazy, but considering he came back from two knee surgeries and was armed with a finely-tuned jumper, I would say that is, at the very least, somewhat inaccurate), the Suns have to keep him.


John said...

Great Blog guys, I'm a huge fan of Argentine basketball especially Manu GINOBILI & Luis SCOLA.

howlingfantods said...

I've been fighting the "you can't come back from microfracture an even better player if you're lazy" battle with Blazer fans for the last few weeks about Zach Randolph. It just blows me away how people form these judgments about pro athletes that completely contradict what's going on right in front of their faces.

Good post. It was sad to see Nash have maybe his best game against the Spurs, running the pick and roll like a surgeon and not have a guy like Amare to feed off everything he was creating.

Adam Hoff said...

I'm just glad that a Blazers fan reads the blog. It is going to be glorious next year when Section F Sports is the first one on the Portland bangwagon as they head back to the playoffs.

howlingfantods said...


Wow. It's been a looong time since the last time I've seen the words "Portland" and "bandwagon" together like that. Here's hoping you're right -- I like our chances at playoffs next year too, even if those Wages of Wins guys insist on ruining my buzz by claiming that Rondo was the best rookie last year.