Upon making his season debut in a loss to the Portland Trailblazers it was clear to the masses that Amar’e has a little rust to shake off. We’re assured he can be a dominant presence on the offensive end, but the main concern is STAT’s defense.
After a putrid performance with a few highlight dunks ensuring Stoudemire found his hops in the offseason, the main focus in his 16-minute, six-point, one-rebound debut Tuesday night was his defense.
STAT has always been a defensive liability on the floor but the Knicks power forward has vowed to improve on defense as the season plays out.
Stoudemire pointed to his connection with the strictly offensive minded coach Mike D’Antoni in Phoenix and New York to have stunted his growth as a well rounded ball player, noting that he finally has a “defensive coach” in Mike Woodson.
“Just having a defensive coach for the first time in my career is going to help,’’ Stoudemire said. “I’ve never been taught defense my whole career. To now have a coach who actually teaches defense and strategies and knows positioning and posture and how to guard different plays is going to be helpful and I’m taking it as a challenge and try to improve as a player.’’
Woodson said Stoudemire mostly struggled on their pick-and-roll defense, saying a lot has changed since last season on how they defend it.
With the improvements we have seen in Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith’s all around game, one can only hope Woodson helps Stoudemire improve his game.
It might take some time but Knicks fans are hopeful the injury prone power forward will adapt to his team, adopt Woodson’s defensive schemes and help this improved Knicks squad flourish.
Joseph Turuseta | Elite.
Photo Credit: Getty Images