Amar'e Stoudemire is struggling, that much is certain. The Knicks star power forward is averaging 17.6 points per game, four below his career average and nearly eight full points below the 25.3 he averaged a season ago. He is getting four fewer shots per game (15.2 to 19.0) than he got a season ago. He is shooting a career-worst .413 from the field (Stoudemire has a career .534 shooting percentage).
The common belief is that Stoudemire is trying to find a place in an offense that does not have a real pick-and-roll point guard, and in which Carmelo Anthony is the central ball-handler and first option. There might be another reason, however. The presence of center Tyson Chandler in the middle.
The Knicks Wall took a look at Stoudemire's play with Chandler on the court and without him on the court, and the differences are startling. Stoudemire averages 27.5 points per game if you pro rate his minutes without Chandler on the floor, and only 16.6 points per game teamed with the Knicks' prized free-agent acquisition. He shoots 36 percent when Chandler is in the game, 52 percent when he is not.
Clearly, finding his shots with the presence of a true center sharing the paint -- and the pick-and-roll opportunities -- is an issue for Stoudemire.
Watch the Knicks play and it is obvious that Stoudemire is not consistently getting the ball in the places he has been accustomed to during a career that has seen him average 21.8 points per game, and better than 20 per game every full season since his rookie year.
If coach Mike D'Antoni wants to salvage the season for the reeling 6-10 Knicks he needs to figure out how to get Stoudemire more shots, from the areas he is accustomed to working in. If he can't, the Knicks will continue to flounder. And D'Antoni might find himself being shown the door.