Amare Stoudemire insists he's ready to bounce back from a forgettable 2011-12 season. And there are reasons to believe he will do just that.
Stoudemire has been working out all offseason, something he couldn't do last summer/fall because he was rehabilitating from a back injury.
He will enter training camp in basketball shape -- something that didn't happen last year because of added muscle weight he put on during rehab.
And he'll enter this season with an added wrinkle to his game that wasn't there last season: a post-up game.
So, if you're a Knicks fan, there are reasons to be optimistic about Stoudemire coming into the season.
But, as far as his play in the post goes, expectations need to be based in reality.
There's no way Stoudemire can come into the season with the moves of Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, with whom he worked for two weeks over the summer in Houston. Stoudemire himself said earlier this summer that playing in the post will be one part of his game, but it won't change his overall approach.
And that makes sense.
As one NBA scout who keeps tabs on the Knicks said recently, "He might come away with one or two new (post) moves, but to master it takes more than two weeks. ... He might add it as a wrinkle to his game."
Stoudemire will be best used in the post when he's not sharing the floor with Tyson Chandler, according to the scout.
Chandler draws an extra defender in the paint, which could give Stoudemire less room to work down low, the scout says.
If Chandler were to drift outside the paint, it might not help because he isn't much of a threat to knock down a mid-range jumper. He attempted just two shots from between 10 and 15 feet last season, and went 3-for-12 from 16 to 23 feet.
So a defender wouldn't necessarily be forced to follow Chandler outside of the paint. Instead, he could sag off and be in position to help defend Stoudemire in the post.
"If you want to make it work where Stoudemire's a featured person in the post-up game, (he and Chandler) don't fit very well," the scout said.
That's where Marcus Camby comes in.
Camby is more of a threat to knock down a perimeter shot than Chandler. He went 8-for-21 from 10 to 15 feet and 34-for-81 from 16 to 23 feet last season.
If Camby and Stoudemire shared the floor, a defender would be more apt to pay attention to Camby if he drifted outside the paint for a perimeter shot. This could, in theory, give Stoudemire more space to work in the post.
"You could move Camby up high and he would stay out of his way," the scout said. "(Camby's defender) would still be able to sag and help out (on Stoudemire) but Camby has a better chance of making an outside shot than Chandler does -- neither of them really needs to score but I would think Camby would handle it better than Tyson."
So Camby -- or another big man who can knock down an outside shot -- could be key to Stoudemire's success in the post.
Question: How much impact do you think Stoudemire can have in the post? Do you think he can bounce back from last season?
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