Amar’e Stoudemire has been regarded as an average-to-poor defensive player over the course of his entire career. It's always been one of those things, like his injury prone nature, that everyone has just accepted about him.
As it turns out, though, Stoudemire’s complete ineptitude as it pertains to half of what basketball is about isn’t his fault. No, it’s actually the fault of the guy who coached him for the vast majority of his time in the NBA – Mike D’Antoni.
“I think having a defensive coach for the first time in my career is going to help,” Stoudemire told the New York Daily News (via LBS).
“I’ve never been taught defense in my whole career. So to now have a coach who actually teaches defense and teaches strategies and knows positioning and posture and how to guard different plays, it’s going to be helpful.”
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So that’s what the problem has been. D’Antoni, apparently, didn’t teach this grown man basketball player how to do something that he could have at least attempted to learn by himself with just a little bit of work. Oddly enough, you never hear Stoudemire credit his old coach with teaching him how to play offense, though. That, it would seem, is something he could learn all on his own.
Stoudemire is a bad defensive player because he never wanted to play defense. End. Of. Story. And his weak attempt to blame someone else for his own deficiencies is a great example of why no one ever has (or will) view him as a leader or great player.