Stoudemire: ‘I was never taught defense’

Stoudemire admitted he'd never been taught to play defense.

Apparently you can teach an old dog new tricks, as Knicks power forward Amar’e Stoudemire admitted following a spirited defensive practice that saw head coach Mike Woodson  grilling the former all-star on the finer points of defense.  

“Just having a defensive coach for the first time in my career is going to help,’’ Stoudemire said. “I’ve never been taught defense my whole career. To now have a coach who actually teaches defense and strategies, and knows positioning and posture, and how to guard different plays, is going to be helpful. … I’m taking it as a challenge and [will] try to improve as a player.’’   

NBA fans who know Stoudemire’s game may scoff at that quote because he was never known as even a solid defender. Stoudemire has always been a credible shot-blocking presence, averaging 1.4 blocks per game for his career, but as good a weakside shotblocker he’s been, no teams have ever game planned for him on the defensive end.

Woodson said rescuing the defense is obviously not all on Stoudemire, especially since the entire frontcourt has been compromised in recent weeks with injuries to Marcus Camby, Rasheed Wallace and Carmelo Anthony. But he was happy to finally get some practice time these past few days to refocus everyone on what’s really made the team successful.

“Early on we were committed and practicing and getting after each other. But there’s been a major drop off from the time we started until three days ago,” said Woodson. “But the good thing is that we’ve had a chance to practice the last couple of days — even if we weren’t able to have everybody here to practice. It’s been a long drought from the last time we were able to practice our defense like this, so we’ve had to teach and get guys committed the best way possible. And the best way to do that is here [practice floor] and watching tape. … Sometimes it’s registering and sometimes it’s not, because we’ve had some slippage as of late and we have to get back to not having that slippage.”     

The month of December (6-4) wasn’t as kind as November (15-5) was to the Knicks — specifically on defense — as they saw their points allowed average dip to 97.2, which ranks them 15th in the league.  

 

The Knicks’ coaching staff is hoping once Wallace returns from the stress reaction in his foot (no timetable though), and Stoudemire gets back up to speed, their combined length could help plug some holes in their defense. 

Knicks notes

 

» The Knicks gave days off to point guard Jason Kidd, center Tyson Chandler and Anthony, in what they’ve always dubbed as a “recovery day” for veterans. Woodson assured they’d all be in the lineup tomorrow against the Spurs though.  

» Point guard Pablo Prigioni was seen working on his shot a lot after practice, a sign that Woodson wants the unselfish-to-a-fault point guard to be more aggressive on the offensive end. It’s been a season-long process for the Knicks coaching staff to get Prigioni to shoot more, as he has a decent jumper. But the Argentine star made his sterling reputation in the Spanish League as one of the premiere pass-first, play-making point guards, so it’ll be difficult for him to unlearn that trait.  

» Swingman Iman Shumpert (ACL) worked out with the team in defensive drills and half-court offensive sets Wednesday. He did not participate in any contact drills, though. Shumpert is still weeks away from his first action since last May, but was seen running a lot of point guard in the offensive sets, a sign that he’ll also ease the load on Prigioni and Kidd until Raymond Felton returns in 5-6 weeks.



Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.