It’s been much discussed this summer — Amar’e Stoudemire went down to Houston to learn post moves from the master, Hakeem Olajuwon (following the pattern of a lot of big men).
The idea is that it will provide him more opportunities in the Knicks offense because he’ll space out better with Carmelo Anthony. We’ll see, Tyson Chandler was already hanging out on the block and he seemed to disappear in the playoffs. The spacing will be different, that’s certain. The upside is Stoudemire will have more weapons in his arsenal to turn to when he does get the rock.
What was interesting in Stoudemire talking about his summer with the New York media was why he said he never developed a traditional post game. From the New York Post:
“I’m a player who adapted to the system I played in,’’ Stoudemire said. “I’ve been under D’Antoni for seven, eight years. Post-up wasn’t a factor for us. We were such a high-octane, up-tempo team where speed and quickness was to our advantage. I’m now allowed to develop a post game where my speed and quickness will still be used to my advantage but add a lot of [post] skill.’’
Certainly, classic post play was a limited part of the D’Antoni offense. But as Tom Ziller pointed out on twitter, Stoudemire did have a very good turn and face-up post game before.
Defining post play as only with your back to the basket is kind of like Shaq saying the other day that Dwight Howard is somehow not a real center because he gets a lot of opportunities out of the pick-and-roll — it’s a narrow-minded, dated way of looking at things. What a player should do is what is effective — if you are a dangerous big man on the pick-and-roll and you are playing with Steve Nash, you should run P&R until your legs fall off. Stoudemire’s advantage has long been quickness and athleticism, so to use face-up post moves that allowed him to better use those traits makes sense. As he ages, he’s looking at other options.
What matters is simply how effective it is. We will see how effective Stoudemire can be in the Knicks offense this year.
There’s this overplayed angle talked about by some fans and pundits suggesting the Warriors just got lucky last season — for example, they faced a banged-up Rockets’ team in the conference finals then a Cavaliers’ squad without two of their big three through the Finals. Then there was Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers saying the Warriors were lucky not having to play the Clippers or Spurs in the postseason.
The Warriors are sick of hearing they were lucky.
Friday Klay Thompson fired back at Rivers, via CSNBayArea.com.
– “I wanted to play the Clippers last year, but they couldn’t handle their business.”
– “If we got lucky, look at our record against them last year (Warriors 3-1). I’m pretty sure we smacked them.”
– “Didn’t they lose to the Rockets? Exactly. So haha. That just makes me laugh. That’s funny. Weren’t they up 3-1 too?”
– “Yeah, tell them I said that. That’s funny. That’s funny.”
Warriors big man Andrew Bogut phrased it differently.
If you think the Warriors just won because they were lucky — you are dead wrong.
They were the best team in the NBA last season, bar none. They won 67 regular season games in a tough conference, then beat everyone in their path to win a title. Did they catch some breaks along the way, particularly with health? You bet. Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant didn’t win a title without catching some breaks along the way, either. Nobody does. Luck plays a role, but it was not the primary factor in why the Warriors are champs.
All this talk of them getting lucky is fuel for the fire they needed not to be complacent this season. Way to give the defending champs bulletin board material, Doc.
Dwyane Wade has earned his status as an elder statesman, the E.F. Hutton kind of veteran who speaks and everybody listens.
Rookie Justise Winslow is listening.
Winslow (who should have gone higher in this draft) is a perfect fit for the Heat and he’s going to be part of their rotation off the bench from the start of the season (along with Josh McRoberts and Amare Stoudemire). Wade has already fully stepped into the mentor role with Winslow working with him on post moves, reports Jason Lieser at the Palm Beach Post.
“As his career develops, hopefully he’s able to do multiple things on the floor, but right now there’s gonna be certain things (Erik Spoelstra) wants him to do, and some of those things I’m good at,” Wade said. “I’m just passing down knowledge to someone who I think could be good at things that I have strengths at. It’s gonna take a while, but if he figures it out at 21, he’s ahead of the curve. I figured it out at like 27.
“All of us are where we’re at because someone before us helped us. They helped by letting us sit there and watch film with them or having conversations with them. If he’s a student of it and he really wants to know, I’m a pretty decent teacher in certain areas.”
This is what you want out of a veteran leader and some of the young teams out there have done an excellent job adding this kind of mentor — Kevin Garnett in Minnesota may be the best example. Someone who can pass on his wisdom and show the team’s young players how to be a professional and win in the NBA.
It’s a little different for Winslow, he and the Heat are more in a win-now mode, but he should be able to contribute to that.