Earlier last week, we recognized the fact that Amar'e Stoudemire is poised to be on a minutes cap this coming season.
How that affects the type of impact he'll be able to make for the Knicks next season remains to be seen. Still, General Manager Glen Grunwald believes that STAT can return to All-Star status. Upon making such a suggestion on a conference call with the media on Tuesday, no one appeared to challenge Grunwald's mind set.
That raises the question…Amar'e Stoudemire: 20 minutes per game All-Star?
Given how mightily STAT struggled to stay on the court last season, it makes sense that to better preserve his body over the next two seasons, the Knicks will work with doctors to hone in on the perfect minutes cap going forward. Such a limitation has been suggested as 20-25 minutes.
In 29 games last season, Stoudemire looked good around the basket and displayed some of the post moves he worked with Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon on last summer. He was able to provide the Knicks with instant offense, and did so in bunches.
But such an injection of life was only provided to New York in 29 games, of course.
The debate as to whether or not Stoudemire will ever again live up to his reputation as the $100 million man is non-existent. He won't. But in giving credit where credit is due, the forward's presence in the Big Apple started a domino effect of talented players joining forces in New York in hopes accomplishing something special. It's just anyone's guess as to how much (or how little) Stoudemire will be a part of that going forward.
For Grunwald to suggest Stoudemire can return to All-Star status is pretty naive. That said, given his increased work in the post (he'll be working with Olajuwon yet again this offseason), it'd be interesting to see how Stoudemire fits in as the "everyday' backup center. Obviously still a little limited defensively, STAT did fly in for some impressive blocked shots this past year. Starting Tyson Chandler as the team's defensive anchor, and then bringing in Stoudemire to spell him with some scoring prowess off the bench may work out well.
It'd be great to see Stoudemire make a worthwhile contribution to the Knicks' forthcoming success. If that even means limiting his minutes so he can do that effectively in bunches, fans should be all for it. Still, to make the assertion that STAT will play like an All-Star once again some day only provides false hope.
Stoudemire is such an easy guy to root for, but let's start with hoping he can stay on the court as much as possible. Should expectations be kept low, many will be pleased with any relatively productive outcome. The Knicks' acquisition of Andrea Bargnani only proves they have a similar mind set with regard what Stoudemire will bring to the table next season.