The RIGHT move…

 

Former Sun Amar'e Stoudemire welcomes the New York stage-and pressure-with open arms.

 

You’re not really surprised Amar’e Stoudemire landed in New York, are you?

Consider this glowing review he dropped on my 1050 ESPN Radio program (pre Jody Mac) last May when asked about the orange and blue:

“I will be totally serious about that, I spent a lot of my childhood there, I have a connection with the state, and I also love the entire coaching staff.”

“I think Coach D’Antoni’s doing a phenomenal job with the Knicks, NY’s a great city, I follow them closely.”

Pretty good sales job, considering his relationship in Phoenix with D’Anotoni, was in spots, well,  spotty.

Anything else is a bit of spin, a carefully crafted tale of how coach and player enjoyed an amazing relationship in Phoenix.

They didn’t. And anyone with at least one, reliable NBA source will back that up, trust me.

Who cares.

Still, Stoudemire’s no dummy, and coming into the interview, he was well prepped and well aware of the free agent market and the summer of 2010, despite the fact that it was still roughly 14 months away. He had an agenda, an agenda to get paid.

Well, here’s a news flash. I had an agenda that day as well, and that was to create some sparks, and hey, as long as there was no blood on anyone’s hand–all good. Quite frankly, I have an agenda everyday, and it’s not to produce boring, stale, predictable radio. I’m there to entertain, and to pursue stories and also, if necessary, to make some people uncomfortable.

Sometimes, a particular subject has no interest in walking that fine line, as they just jump right in. It happens, and from second one, Amar’e was ready to roll, and that left an imprint.

Mission accomplished.

What I certainly didn’t see coming (though you better believe the bait was out long before he hopped on the show) was his candid and very aggressive take on how he compares to Chris Bosh, another All-Star forward destined for a different mailing address.

After setting the stage with some small talk, I attacked the rim…

“Are you better than Chris Bosh,” I asked.

“Are you serious? Ask Chris Bosh that question,” he countered.

Standing my ground, I shot back, without much hesitation, “Is that a yes?”

In this case, tone and inflection meant everything. 

“No doubt about it, I’m better than Chris Bosh, yes” said Stoudemire.

And he’s right.

I believe Amar’e Stoudemire is better than Chris Bosh, the same way Amar’e Stoudemire believes Amar’e Stoudemire is better than Chris Bosh.

Well, perhaps my position lacks the same conviction, because it is very, very close. They’re both terrific talents, the new age forward who strokes J’s as effortlessly as he rips down rims on two-handed tomahawk jams. Want to really point to the evolution of the power forward position in the NBA, you may as well start with these two immensely gifted All-Stars.

But specifically, why is Stoudemire a better fit on the court, and why will he mesh better with the rabid fans of New York City?

Simple.

Because he wants to be here.

Amar’e Stoudemire is not looking to sneak thru the side door on his way to 22, 23 points and 8 or 9 rebounds a night. He wants to confidently bounce along the busy streets, interacting with people that comprise the decaying fan base for the Knicks. He’s already looked this city square in the eye and boldly proclaimed “the Knicks are back!” He WANTS to rejuvenate the fans.

Would Chris Bosh do that? Would he say that?

Sure, he’s a shot to the retina of having some serious, life-altering issues, so let’s crazy glue the goggles on every night before the opening tip and hope for the best. But are you really worried about the micro-fracture procedure nearly five years ago? Or are you just another love-sick college kid, scorned by the one girl on campus you wanted to date more than anything, thus making it very difficult to commit–even though you’re now in you’re 40’s?

Get over it.

Amare’ Stoudemire is not Antonio McDyess, and he’s certainly not Eddy Curry. What he is, and has been for a while now, is one of the most physically gifted athletes in the NBA. He can go around you, and he can most certainly go over you. Just ask every team in the league.

Eat that!

 

And he’s a better fit than Chris Bosh, in my opinion. If David Lee’s numbers are hollow and lack merit, why doesn’t anyone say the same about Bosh? If Lee racked up big numbers on a bad team, hasn’t Bosh, for a large chunk of his career, done the same? I know Lee never affected the bottom-line, the standings, but then again, neither has Bosh. Want proof?

Chris Bosh’s win total in 7 NBA seasons: 33, 33, 27, 47, 41, 33 and 40.

There’s no doubt Bosh packs a smooth game, and is a top 25 player, maybe even top 20, but I still rank Stoudemire a tick ahead.

“Yeaaaaah, but Bosh is a better rebounder, what are you talkin’ about BT!”

Trust me, I’ve already fielded hundreds of calls like that in the past few weeks, and I love it, but here are the facts:

Chris Bosh: 9.4 rebounds per game (career)

Amar’e Stoudemire: 8.9 rebounds per game (career)

Advantage Bosh, sure, but it’s hardly comparable to the gap between say, Moses Malone and Keith Van Horn, as so many Bosh-supporters incorrectly point out.

In Stoudemire’s 52 career playoff games (Bosh has played in 11) he increased his point total by more than 3 points per game compared to his regular season output, despite having to deal with Greg Popovich’s suffocating playoff defense and someone by the name of Tim Duncan on four different occasions.

Again, this guy craves the stage, and when he gets it, he performs.

I’m not saying Bosh can’t or won’t, moving forward.

But I’ll take my chance with the player A) with a track record and B) who so clearly wants to be here.

I’ll take my chance with the guy who crammed 42 playoff points down the collective throats of the eventual World Champion Lakers.

And that guy is Amar’e Stoudemire.

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5 Comments

  1. bdegrande

     /  07/07/2010

    I think that Amare and Bosh are very close as players, but Amare is also a better fit for a couple of other reasons. Bosh does not want to play center, which either of them might have to do in New York, and Amare is a very tough physical payer, which the Knicks’ big men – Lee, Curry, Gallinari – have not been.

  2. BT, I cant agree with you here.

    Amare isnt even better than D. Lee. Amare minus Nash = what? Amare IS the better scoring PF. Fine, BUT D. Lee is the better passer, hustler, cheaper, and better rebounder(which is part of defense since you seem to think Lee is the worst defender in the NBA).

    Lee lead the NBA in big men assists and was 2nd in rebounds playing against 7 footers half the time.

    Bosh is the more crafty PF on the FA list. He cant get his own shot anytime he wants, unlike Lee and Amare. You discredite Lee’s numbers because he was on a bad team but do you question how much lower Amare’s FG% will go down without Steve Nash playing at the PG?

    Love the show.

    – @JSNWWF on Twitter

  3. giantg

     /  07/07/2010

    Amar’e is a rockstar and NY is the biggest stage

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