Through the six games that Amar'e Stoudemire has played in this abbreviated 2011-12 season, he has not looked like the Amar'e Stoudemire from 2010-11. Most notably, his scoring and FG% are down from last season. It's fair to attribute some of this to rust from not playing NBA basketball since April, and to adjusting to new teammates.
There has been a lot of griping from Knicks fans (myself included) about Stoudemire's offensive production, and how he just does not look the same as last season. As mentioned, his overall numbers are down, and while his past 3 performances have been encouraging as his scoring and rebounding have picked up, he does not look like the same old STAT.
However, a look upon Stoudemire's early production from last season shows that his abated offensive output may not be so abated at all.
Jump from some analysis!
Through the first six games of last season, Stoudemire was actually only averaging 19.5 ppg and had only shot above 50 FG% once. Just like this season, the team had trouble adjusting to new members, and point guard, Raymond Felton, could not hit the open man on offense or hit Stoudemire in the pick-and-roll (sound familiar?)
According to Hoopdata, Amar'e was averaging those 19.5 ppg with a usage rate of 32.95% and an assist rate of 49.93%. This means that about 33% of the Knicks' possessions went through Stoudemire during their first 6 games. When Stoudemire scored, nearly 50% of his field goals were assisted.
To compare, this season, Amar'e is averaging 20.3 ppg on .454 FG%, while using less of the Knicks' possessions - 30.73% USG - and scoring at a much higher rate on assisted field goals - 70.46% AST.
In addition, through the first six games of 2010-11, Amar'e's true shooting percentage (TS%) was 50.22%. This season, through his six total games, his TS% is 55.17% (although that TS% number this season is likely inflated by an incredibly efficient shooting outing during their season opener against Boston - 8-11 FG, 2-2 3FG, 3-4 FT).
By those statistics, Stoudemire is actually scoring at a more efficient rate than he was to begin last season. Those numbers indicate that last season, Amar'e was scoring much better in isolation, and that Raymond Felton and Toney Douglas were struggling mightily to hit Stoudemire in his sweet spots on offense.
His high %AST indicates that the combined efforts of Douglas, Carmelo Anthony, Mike Bibby, and Iman Shumpert have actually produced good results, statistically. Amar'e is likely struggling to score in isolation because of a new presence in the middle (Tyson Chandler), a more potent offensive threat (Anthony) and a lack of reliable 3-point shooting to spread the floor. However, overall, Amar'e's scoring has been better than his first six games last season.
But what of that jumpshot? Surely our eyes cannot be lying to us in the same manner. Amar'e's jumpshot has been flat through nearly all of the season, almost to the point that fans cringe when he jab steps and takes an arrhythmic jumper.
Well, his shooting statistics have been as bad as it's looked on the court. At the rim, Amar'e has been near-automatic field goal percentage of 81.9%. Through all of last season, Stoudemire's FG% at the rim was 63.7%. However, his shooting further way from the rim has been abysmal this season.
Once again, Hoopdata provides all of this wonderful numerical information.
- From 3-9 feet, Stoudemire is shooting just 2-11 for a FG% of 18.2%.
- From 10-15 feet, he is 1-8, 12.5 FG%
- From 16-23 feet, he is 10-37, 27.1 FG%.
His numbers from last year don't even need to be compared to those, because I'm sure they're better. Hell, I'm pretty sure Darko Milicic shoots better numbers than that away from the basket.
This is where Stoudemire thrives with a real point guard as opposed to the Douglas-Anthony-Bibby-Shumpert combo. A real PG can hit Stoudemire in rhythm, whether it's curling on the elbow for the mid-range jumper, or on a drive-and-kick.
Overall though, Stoudemire's offensive production does not seem to be as terrible as what it may seem. His TS% and %AST are higher through the beginning of this season than last season. Likewise, he is averaging more points per game.
What needs to be improved is his jumpshooting, which will come with: a.) time, and b.) a real point guard. Amar'e is still adjusting to playing with another potent scorer in Anthony and a true center who has virtually no offensive skill, as well.
If he is still kind of sucking 20 games from now, then we can pull out our torches and ptchforks and riot in MSG. But for now, give it some time; STAT will find his way.