New column at FanHouse today, an attempt to capture the essence of Amare Stoudemire. The man has been a lightning rod of debate in Phoenix, and even though no real rumor has tied the Kings to him, he's already sparked debate. The Chris Webber comparisons have rolled through, the accusations of malcontent and defensive-less stick have been levied.
From my vantage point, there's nothing wrong with Amare that cannot be fixed simply with oxygen and a decent coach. For his career, he's a better rebounder than Webber had been. He is an equal in shot-blocking. He's a better, more efficient scorer (even if you make some impossible Nash adjustment). As I outline in the column, his scoring is down because his touches are down; he went from playing center next to a role-playing power forward (Shawn Marion) to playing power forward next to a veritable black hole (Shaq). Marion had below-average usage; Shaq's is in the same neighborhood as Amare, at 24%. Amare is a SCORER. If you don't give him the ball, his scoring will suffer. Not rocket science.
I don't know who you would want to, or who you would have to give up to land Amare. If other teams want him and a bidding war breaks out, you might not be able to compete. But Sacramento has options. Sacramento has a need for a dynamic frontcourt scorer and rebounder, an Alpha-2 to pair with Kevin Martin. Tell me right now Amare + Martin isn't a top-10 offense on its face, never mind the other pieces. S.T.A.T. surpasses 61% True Shooting on high usage in his bad years. Speedracer is off this season, and he's knocking on 60% on the highest usage of his career. You might as well throw 50 points on the board from the start and hope the three other starting positions and entire bench can make up the difference. Yes, you'll have defensive problems. Assuming you keep one half of Shock and Hawes, you'd better hope he turns into a defensive beast -- someone that can chase guys like LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol around the perimeter. (I think J.T. can do that, for the record.)
I don't want to live on a planet where Kings fans say no to this.