Charles Barkley is known for his brash and bold proclamations both on television and off, but he also happens to be one of the best basketball personalities for the simple fact that he is frequently correct in what he is saying.
What Barkley is basically saying here is that Stoudemire is a shell of his former self and there is no comeback story in the future for him.
In this instance, Barkley is using the word ‘talent’ to describe Stoudemire’s unique blend of athleticism, explosiveness and verticality that allowed him to frighten many defenders as he barrelled down the lane or posted up on the block.
It is no secret that he relied heavily on those attributes to elevate his game to another level when he played with the Suns and in his very first season with the Knicks.
Unfortunately, those attributes have escaped him due to various knee injuries and surgeries to the point that he is clearly no longer the player he used to be.
He gets repeatedly blocked near the rim by lesser defenders and his moves in the post no longer have that extra bite to get him fully around his defenders to dunk or lay the ball in the basket. His defense, which was never a strong suit of his, has gotten progressively worse to the point that he is a serious hazard for the Knicks to have on the defensive end.
To make matters worse, the Knicks don’t run the offense that was tailored to Stoudemire’s game in Phoenix and his first season here in New York, the pick-and-roll.
Barkley summarized the outlook on Amar’e with this quote in an interview with ESPN New York on 98.7 FM which was used in this Ohm Youngmisuk article for ESPN:
You all in trouble with Amar’e. I like Amar’e as a person, but I don’t see him doing anything in the NBA, to be honest with you. I think he has lost his skill. He lost his talent.
This may end up being the end of the road for Amar’e Stoudemire as he has not found a way to adapt or adjust his game based on his weakened athletic abilities.
And now, with Tyson Chandler’s injury that will keep him out for four-to-six weeks, Stoudemire and aging veteran Kenyon Martin, both on minutes restrictions, will be counted on to pick up a lot of the slack; Andrea Bargnani might end up playing minutes at the center position as well, which invokes little to no confidence from this observer.
Mr. Barkley is unfortunately correct, Knicks fans. Stoudemire cannot play this game to the level we once saw in his inaugural season in New York or even remotely close to it. Injuries and surgeries have sapped his greatest strengths and also enhanced his biggest deficiencies on the court.
To play any significant and meaningful minutes going forward, he would need to reinvent himself as a different type of player because right now Stoudemire is a big risk to the team when he is on the court.