After getting bought out by the hapless Knicks following a disappointing tenure with the franchise, Amar’e Stoudemire signed for the veteran’s minimum to join the Mavericks as they continue their push toward the playoffs.
Dallas has been thin in the frontcourt since trading Brandan Wright and Jae Crowder to the Celtics in a package that netted point guard Rajon Rondo. Wright’s departure forced head coach Rick Carlisle to lean on wildcard options like Greg Smith, Charlie Villanueva and Bernard James. The addition of Stoudemire brings a tested veteran who will earn a spot in the rotation immediately.
Essentially, STAT will fill the void left by Wright, who served as the primary backup behind Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler. But how do Stoudemire’s stats with the Knicks compare to Wright’s numbers when he was still playing for Dallas?
Note: You can click on each player’s name to see their individual page featuring career stats and interactive graphs.
On resume alone, Stoudemire is a much more polished offensive player. Even though he’s far beyond his athletic prime, Stoudemire's ability to step out and knock down mid-range jumpers is a skill Wright hasn’t added to his repertoire yet. Hence why the former Mavericks' field goal percentage was a whopping 74.8 percent, a huge chunk of his field goals were easy dunks. In fact, throughout the 2014-15 season, a mammoth 86.1 percent of Wright’s attempts have come within the restricted area:
Defensively speaking, Wright is the superior rim protector. In stints with Dallas, Boston and Phoenix this season he’s blocking 1.2 shots per contest. Stoudemire, on the other hand, swats less than one attempt per game (0.9) despite playing nearly seven more minutes on average compared to Wright.
During his tenure with the run-and-gun Suns of the mid-to-late 2000s, Stoudemire’s defense was always an area of concern that his offense often swept under the rug. As was the case the last time Amar’e played for a Western Conference contender, his abilities on the offensive end will be his calling card once again.
In 36 games (14 starts) with the Knicks, New York’s offensive rating with Stoudemire on the court was 106.8. When he went to the bench, that mark dipped considerably to 99.3. That may be a misleading stat, nevertheless, it’s still noteworthy that Stoudemire made such a big impact for Derek Fisher’s floundering crew.
He’s even been a difference-maker on the offensive glass, as a respectable amount of his rebounds have provided second-chance opportunities:
Most noteworthy of all, though, is the system he’ll be joining in Dallas. According to NBA.com, Mavericks shooting guard Monta Ellis runs pick-and-roll plays 46.8% of the time. J.J. Barea executes pick-and-roll situations 44.4% of the time. Jameer Nelson did so at a 43.8% clip when he was still a member of the Mavs, and Rondo, since coming over via trade, has worked around screens during 38.8% of his offensive possessions.
Of the five players who boast the highest percentage of plays as the “roll man” in said scenarios, three are (or were) Mavericks: Greg Smith, Wright (before getting shipped out) and Dwight Powell, per NBA.com.
Simply put, the Mavericks love running pick-and-roll sets. With guys like Dirk knocking down open looks on the pick-and-pop, and Barea blitzing past lead-footed defenders to the basket when opponents switch on screens, Dallas clearly has the personnel needed to succeed in that realm. Inserting Stoudemire to the mix could be a pairing more intriguing than red wine and bathtubs.
During his days in the desert with Steve Nash acting as pick-and-roll maestro, Stoudemire made five All-Star teams from '04-05 through '09-10 (he played just three games in '05-06 due to microfracture surgery on his left knee). The numbers he put up over that span were truly elite. He averaged 23.2 points and 8.9 rebounds per game in those five seasons with the Suns.
The pick-and-roll was head coach Mike D’Antoni’s bread-and-butter play. The tandem of Nash and Stoudemire was one of the best to ever do it—right up there with John Stockton and Karl Malone. When STAT suits up in his new threads, he’ll be able to try and embrace what made him so lethal with Phoenix once again.
Stoudemire is a bargain-bin pickup for a Western Conference contender in the thick of the playoff race. He may not add much value on the defensive end (if any), but his fit as a pick-and-roll aficionado in an offense that adores those sets could ultimately prove to be a perfect match.
More from Ben Leibowitz:
- Ranking the NBA’s 50-Point Scorers of the Past Decade
- Every NBA Franchise’s Best Season Ever
- What Does Kobe Bryant Have Left to Play For?
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