Hope. Savior. MVP. Amar’e.
Amar’e Stoudemire came to the Big Apple with only one thing on his mind; Be the biggest thing in the biggest city in the world.
In order to King Kong his way through New York, he was going to have to bring wins, stats, and a shift in paradigm. Over the last dozen or so games, he has done just that.
The Knicks stumbled out the gates to start the season to a 3-8 start. But Amar’e took ownership of this team and put the weight of Manhattan on his shoulders and has absolutely destroyed the competition while leading the Knicks to a winning record.
Sure, the Knicks haven’t played the best of competition. Over the last 14 games, Only three teams had a record over .500 and New York only one 2 of those 3 games. But they can’t control who they play they can only control how well they play. And New York has done just that through the leadership of Stoudemire.
THere are others who are much more deserving of the MVP award thus far in the young season. Players like Dirk Nowitzki, who has Dallas tied for 2nd place in the NBA. Or Kevin Garnett, who is having MVP type numbers on defense and has an aging Boston team atop the Eastern Conference. But Amar’e is playing in New York, the capital of all media relations. It’s no secret that the MVP is a popularity contest. If Amar’e can win the hearts and minds of the New York media he can win the MVP.
During his 8-game “MVP” campaign, Amar’e has been putting on an offensive show. According to ESPN, Amar’e’s 8 straight games of 30+ points is the 3rd longest streak of consecutive 30-PT since 2005-06. During his 8-game run he is averaging 33.9 points on 58.6% fg%, 10.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.6 blocks and 4.0 turnovers (okay, that’s pretty bad). But the Knicks are 8-0 and have won 13 of their last 14 games. Currently their 16-9 record is good enough to tie Atlanta for the 4th best record out East.
When Amar’e first landed in New York, fans were hopeful for some wins and maybe even a playoff birth. As the season has progressed it looks like playoffs are more than a possibility and now the idea of a home-court series at MSG is lingering in the back of everyone’s mind.
Amar’e has brought a change of culture to the Garden. With that change, he is drawing the attention of fans, media and superstars from around the league. With players like Carmelo Anthony lining up to become a disciple of Black Jesus, it seems like the Mecca of Basketball is once again Holy Land.