by Justin Cherot
Amazingly, my fiancee Shanta was the one who stopped me from dropping Amar’e Stoudemire from the Tripset 30 All-Stars earlier this season.
It’s not that she had Jerry West-like GM abilities and told me to weather the storm, that Stoudemire would eventually get used to the New York lifestyle. Nope, she had stopped me for an entirely different reason.
“Babe, you can do that anytime. We’re here to watch ‘Toy Story on Ice’!”
By now, you know how I am: my short-term memory is flaky. I completely forgot about dropping STAT. Good for me, because starting with a 37-point outing against the Detroit Pistons, the guy has been completely unstoppable. If he had a quicker release on his last second three against the Boston Celtics Wednesday, the Knickerbockers would be hosting the Heat tonight trying to protect a nine-game winning streak. Instead, they’ll try to start a brand new one while simultaneously trying to cool off the Miami Heat (shoot me now for the cliche), winners of ten straight themselves.
Back to STAT, who is obviously putting up ridiculous, NBA2K-playing-12-minute-quarters-on-rookie stats. Trust me, I know: I’ve checked his box scores every night and, along with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love (who I actually DID cut only to re-sign after his historic 30-30 game) have been absolute money for me this season.
But, after watching him play Wednesday, one thing became painfully obvious to me:
He’s built for this.
By “this” I mean the bright lights, the high expectations and the alpha dog status. Even though he wasn’t exactly chopped liver in Phoenix, I never before got that impression. Like many basketball pundits, I felt like his production was a bi-product of Steve Nash‘s once-in-a-lifetime playmaking ability. While Raymond Felton has re-vitalized his career in Mike D’Antoni’s offense, Stoudemire has at times put the Knicks on his back, playing with an “eff you” attitude that has him on the short-list of MVP contenders (my list: Manu Ginobili, Stoudemire, Dirk Nowitzki, and that’s it) and A-listers flocking to the Garden again.
Will he will them to a win tonight against the Miami Thrice? I don’t know. I just think we’re in-store for a show.
Or at least an appetizer for the Phoenix Suns and my DALLAS MAVERICKS!!!
(drops the mic)