We can only best appreciate the full fantasy basketball impact of Amar’e Stoudemire’s signing with the New York Knicks (five years, $100 million), once they have finished making their moves as they attempt to assemble a team worthy of Championship contention. In that light, I’m going to keep this one short and sweet.
Young, all-star-caliber big men are not that easy to come by. While there are a few of them on the market at the moment (Bosh, Boozer, Lee), the Knicks did themselves well by landing arguably one of the best available. The short of it is that even if they do not get to sign LeBron James or Dwyane Wade, they at least were able to secure reasonable franchise building block in Amar’e who is only turning 28 this November. As I said, the Knicks are far from done. They still have a lot of wooing, wheeling, and dealing to do; and as soon as things firm up as to who Stoudemire will actually be playing alongside we will then be able to better gauge his fantasy outlook for 2010.
As far as fantasy basketball is concerned, we’ve only really known Amar’e Stoudemire (and his stats) in the context of playing alongside Steve Nash. We’ve seen Shawn Marion slip into fantasy mediocrity ever since he parted with Nash and the Suns. It is scary (at least for Stoudemire fantasy fans) to think that Amar’e just might suffer a similar yet scaled down fate.
We love Stoudemire’s awesome field goal percentage, which is arguably his single biggest contribution to any fantasy team. We also enjoy how his line often flirts with that alluring “20-10 zone” on an almost nightly basis. The big question for managers this season is “How will his stats hold up in his new team?” Temporarily, I have him penciled in as a late first round to early second round fantasy draft option. I don’t really see him, or his current situation, pointing to him being able to return to his top-five-level fantasy form. If the Knicks get to sign a point guard with some respectable passing ability, like say Raymond Felton, I’d bump a Amar’e a spot or two.
Amar’e is the first “big name” to land in a new team so far. The bigger impact, as far as I see it right now, can be felt in the players Stoudemire’s left behind. Off the top, Channing Frye, Robin Lopez (slightly), and Jason Richardson all deserve some minor draft upgrades; as we can expect them all to benefit from Stoudemire’s absence. They’ll be sharing in the “Nash assist lovefest” coming their way.
Stay tuned to our continued coverage of the 2010 free agency and it’s impact on fantasy basketball.
By the way, on a real-life note, congratulations Knicks fans! He might not be LeBron, and I know you won’t be truly happy with anyone less, but Amar’e is not too shabby. Enjoy your blessings!
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