Amar’e Stoudemire is off to a slow start, to put it lightly, this year. His struggles have been documented on this website and across the Knicks blogosphere, in pieces like this one by Jared Dubin.
I decided to take a look at Stoudemire’s struggles using NBA.com’s StatsCube to see what affect Tyson Chandler was having on Amare, among other things.
Let’s start by comparing Amare’s shot distribution to last year. Contrary to popular opinion, that due to the acquisition of Tyson Chandler Amare is drifting away from the rim, Stoudemire’s shot selection is not much different from last year. Stoudemire is still attacking the rim as shown by the fact that 60.7% of his field goals come from the restricted area and the paint, compared to 63.7% last year. This is not a huge difference at all. Last year Stoudemire took 34.8% of his shots from mid-range compared to 34.0 this year. By looking at the numbers, Stoudemire is still able to get the same type of shots like last year, but he is simply not making them.
Amare’s FG percentage at the rim has gone up one percentage point, to 60, but there is a huge dip in his percentage from both the paint and mid-range. These zones make up 55.5% of Stoudemire’s shot attempts this year, compared to last year’s 58.1%. But what is staggering is that Amare is only 22% from the paint this year and 31% from mid range, where as last year he was 44% from both. Although there are many possible explanations to why Amare is missing these shots, we can all agree that Amare must be better from these zones, as they make up more then 50% of his offense. If Amare keeps up his 60% FG at the rim, these shots make up his 40% of his selection, he should be able to get back on track.
Next, I decided to use StatsCube to look at Amare’s performance when Tyson Chandler is on the Court v.s when he is not and the numbers are simply staggering.
Amare’s points per 36 minutes jumps nearly 11 points, his field goal percentage increases from 36% to 52%, and he goes from a -7.1 to 1.3, when Tyson is on the floor with him. These numbers are simply astounding, and worrisome. Although it is a very small sample size, it appears that with Tyson of the court Amare is more or less the same player he was last year. Many point to the fact that Tyson creates poor spacing on Amare’s drives to the rim, but I had remained skeptical of that, due to the fact that Amare had arguably the best stretch of career playing next to Shaq, but as they say, the numbers dont lie and it’s been night and day with Tyson on the court compared to off, for Amare.
Next, StatsCube also was able to show Amare’s FG percentages with Tyson on the court compared to off.
As you can see, the sample size is incredibly small, but I cant help to note that Amare is shooting 16% from the paint with Chandler on the court compared to 44% when he is not. This is again a number that if the Knicks expect Amar’e to make a contribution like last year simply must go up. Additionally, his mid-range percentage also benefits by going from 27% to 40% when Tyson is not on the court.
As StatsCube has shown, Amare is struggling to make shots in the paint and from mid-range this year. These zones are crucial to Amare, as they make up more then 50% of his shots. There is also a correlation between his struggles from these zones when Tyson Chandler is on the court, and when he is not. When Chandler is on the bench, Amare’s FG% reverts back to career norms and in turn leads to the type of production we are used to seeing from him. The Knicks’ coaching staff will have to figure out a way to get Amare in his comfort zone playing next to Tyson and I remain convinced that this is possible, due to the stretch of great play that Amare had next to Shaq, who clogs the paint more than any other center.