So Amar’e Stoudemire is talking about defense. As in he’s talking about learning defense for the first time. This guy’s been in the league since 2002, and he’s talking about learning defense for the first time. What?
Here’s Al Iannazzone from NewsDay with the story:
Mike Woodson is the reason Stoudemire said he will be better defensively and seemed to take an unintentional shot at his former offensive-minded coach Mike D’Antoni.
“Just having a defensive coach for the first time in my career is going to help,” Stoudemire said. “I’ve never been taught defense in my whole career. To now have a coach that actually teaches defense and teaches strategies and knows positioning and posture and how to guard different plays is going to be helpful. I’m going to take it as a challenge, accept the challenge and try to improve as a player.”
You know, this isn’t the first time he’s talked about learning defense. Let’s go back to November 2010 in a story by the New York Daily News!
“It was fair,” he said. “I was never taught defense. I just never was taught it in high school and also in the NBA.”
Stoudemire added that prior to his final season with the Suns “I took it upon myself to get better defensively” and that Phoenix head coach Alvin Gentry was responsible for that new outlook.
“I’ve got to give it to Alvin Gentry,” Stoudemire added. “He really implemented some strategies that were helpful to me. I took what I learned last year and carried it over to this year.”
He seemed to take pot shots at Mike D’Antoni both times. D’Antoni also made him look like gangbusters on the offensive end. While D’Antoni has never been known for his defensive coaching, it’s not like guys like Shawn Marion, Tyson Chandler, and Iman Shumpert were known for standing around on defense.
Stoudemire has been in the league for a decade. It’s really strange that he’s talking about learning defense for the first time. It’s understandable if he can’t defend anybody because he’s unathletic like Luke Walton. But stuff like staying in front of your man and making the effort to go after your man shouldn’t have to be taught. Put forth the effort, Stat. There are many times where he’s just been caught looking or just letting his man blow him by. He could’ve been a devastating defensive player with his athletic ability.
This is just unbelievable. He’s been in the NBA for so long. And to say he hasn’t been taught defense? Twice? I just don’t understand it. I do understand that defense is not fun and not for everybody. Everyone that plays basketball wants to score. There’s nothing glamorous about defense.
But seriously, Amar’e? It doesn’t take geometric proofs and brain surgery to know how to stay in front of your man.