Knicks

NBA: Knicks Owe Success to Landry Fields, Not Amare Stoudemire

| by David Berri

The Knicks this season got off to a very bad start. And early on, Amare Stoudemire was actually the least productive player in the NBA. Stoudemire played so poorly, one person offered the following comment (yes, this was Italian Stallion):

Sorry to take this a million miles off topic, but I have to vent.

Amare Stoudemire can’t play basketball to save his life. He’s athletic as hell and can score when he gets a clear path to the basket or decent mid range shot, but he can’t handle, pass, or make plays at all, is mediocre as rebounder at best, and is a turnover machine.

Thanks. I feel better now.

In response to this comment, Andres (Dre) Alvarez – of newly re-designed Nerd Numbers – offered the following:

First off it won’t stay that way. You guys beat a top team in the East with Amare playing like crap. Right now Conley, Rudy Gay and Melo are playing super well. It won’t last. If Randolph and Amare at least return to average (for big men) and Fields keeps playing well then you guys look in good shape. Right now your roster is actually above average on the whole! 40 wins baby. Still it does amaze me that Amare is dead last in Wins Produced right now.

Just as Dre expected, Stoudemire and the Knicks did get better. In fact, Stoudemire has been playing so well that someone (yes, this was Italian Stallion again) thinks our perspective on Stoudemire would be very different if we ignored his awful start. Here is what IS recently said about Amare:

“I think it might make sense to look at Amare’s stats for the first 11 games (the Knicks were 3 – and since then (17 – 6).. . . It’s sort of like the Heat. When people evaluate the Heat now, they totally disregard the early games when they were playing very inconsistent basketball while working out their roles and style of play etc….”

Typically I don’t offer analysis over just a part of the season. But once again, Dre comes through with a response. And that response (which you should read) indicates that

  • Stoudemire would not be considered MVP if one ignored the first eleven games.
  • Landry Fields is still the primary reason the Knicks have improved.
  • the Knicks do not need to do much to be a contender in the Eastern Conference.

Again, one should read everything Dre has to say on this topic. And don’t forget to check out the automated Wins Produced numbers. Yes, this site has also been updated (and it looks great).

Let me close by noting this short post at NYK Mistakes on Landry Fields. Wins Produced argues that Fields is the primary reason the Knicks have improved this year. John Hollinger’s Player Efficiency Rating, though, disagrees. According to PERs, Fields is actually below average. The problems with PERs have been documented (in this forum and by Wayne Winston in Mathletics), and so I agree that how PERs evaluates Fields is incorrect. But there is a part of this brief post where I think I disagree. The post argues that Hollinger actually “hates” Landry Fields – and again, although I think PER is incorrect – I doubt Hollinger has any feelings for Fields one way or the other. And the same would be true for people who employ Wins Produced (or any other performance metrics). In other words, I doubt people who employ Wins Produced in the evaluation of players “love” Dennis Rodman and “hate” Allen Iverson. At least, that is true for me.

- DJ