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New York Knicks News: ESPN Lists Amare Stoudemire 43 On #NBARank; Fair?

By Jason Van Hoven, Posted: 09/18/12 05:45PM EDT
Amare Stoudemire
Stoudemire may need to return quickly during the Knicks' playoff series against the Pacers if New York hopes to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. (Photo : Facebook)

The top 50 players of ESPN's NBA Rank have been released and there's a member of the New York Knicks that while having cracked the crème of the crop has experienced a significant drop-off from where he was ranked before last season started.

Forward Amare Stoudemire was ranked the 43rd best player in the NBA on Tuesday in ESPN's group of players ranked 41-50 behind Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins and Oklahoma City Center Serge Ibaka. That's a decline of 30 spots from the 13th rank -- just three spots shy of the top 10 -- he secured during the 2011 offseason, and rightfully so.

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Overall, the 2011-12 season was a disappointment as Stoudemire averaged 17.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists and one block compared to an All-Star worthy 2010-11 season of 25.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, a career-high 2.6 assists and 1.9 blocks. One could argue many reasons for that: a bulging disk, weight gain, the loss of a pick-and-roll ball distributor in Chauncey Billups and the arrival of an isolation-friendly superstar in Carmelo Anthony.

However, one overarching reason many can agree with is Stoudemire's lack of a diverse low-post game besides his trademark power dunking. It was apparent that since the 2010-11 season, he did develop a mid-range game, but was rarely a force in the paint with jump-hooks, lay-ups and back-to-the-basket fadeaways.

Now, Stoudemire has worked out with Hakeem Olajuwon to become more of a threat closer to the basket throughout the upcoming season. The Knicks also added point guards Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd, who should be able to distribute the ball more to Stoudemire and get him back to or very close to his old pick-and-roll form.

Of course, Stoudemire playing well enough this season in order to climb back up the NBA Rank list next offseason will also depend on the evolution of the chemistry he has with the other two members of New York's "Big Three": Anthony and center Tyson Chandler. Both will be ranked higher than Stoudemire in this NBA Rank list, which also signals just how much Stoudemire's talent has taken a tumble.

If Stoudemire increases his numbers this season while showing off what he has worked on with Olajuwon, he will most likely see his rank increase maybe not substantially but back into the 20s or 30s.


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