Blog Entry

Did the Knicks win in Amar'e vs. Bosh?

Posted on: July 5, 2010 8:00 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2010 8:16 pm
Now that the signing of Amar'e Stoudemire by the Knicks has been agreed upon (though it can't be finalized until Thursday), we have to look at several angles. But how Stoudemire will fit on the Knicks is a question that has yet to be answered, because there are other max free agents in play for the Knicks. We can't look at the impact for Amar'e without knowing who could really be playing next to him (KB has some info on a possible sign-and-trade for a Knicks point guard ).

But what we can look at is if the Knicks made the right decision, committing close to $100 million towards Stoudemire. Amar'e comes with tremendous explosiveness and top-level scoring ability. But he also comes with significant questions as to whether he can play elite level defense, or even acceptable defense, and if he's a good enough player when he's not on offense. So the question is, would the Knicks have been better off if they'd managed to get Chris Bosh?

I took a look at the numbers on each player defensively via Synergy Sports . Synergy Sports tracks every moment of every NBA game and brings you an in-depth look, possession by possession, on how players do not only overall, but in certain situations. For example, their key stat is PPP, points-per-possession. It factors how many points are scored with a player as the primary defender, and then divides by the number of instances a player was in that certain play scenario. It factors turnovers, free throws, and points to bring you how many points per each possession a player gave up overall, and in certain possessions.

I looked at four specific play types breakdowns for Bosh and Amar'e in comparison: overall, pick-and-roll man (guarding the player providing the pick and rolling (as opposed to the ball-handler), isolation (pretty simple, one-on-one defense), in the post, and spot-up (off a pass in a catch-and-shoot situation). The results were pretty surprising.

Play Type Amar'e PPP Bosh PPP
Overall .86 .89
Pick-and-roll man .76 1.13
ISO .95 .65
Post-up .89 .84
Spot-up .84 1.03

Right off the bat, Amar'e Stoudemire allowed fewer points per possession last season than Bosh did. The first thing that you'll say is that the Raptors' defense was a crime against basketball. And you're absolutely right. It's certain that Bosh's defense was impacted by how terrible the rest of his team defended.  But the individual play types are kind of startling in terms of where he was good and where he was bad. The same can be said for Stoudemire. Pick and roll being the biggest alarm bell if you're a team out there still looking at Bosh as your signature big. Stoudemire, despite being known as a terrible help defender, was ranked 18th in the league overall as a pick and roll defender, one of the more complex defensive sets requiring combination and knowledge of where your teammates are.

But Stoudemire certainly struggled in ISO situations. If you put him straight up on a player, he gave up .96 points per possession, a far cry from Bosh's .65. And there were nearly twice as many instances of ISO defense versus pick-and-roll man situations. At the same time, help defense is something you can account for, and switching assignments is something Mike D'Antoni can do to alleviate a situation where Amar'e is getting taken repeatedly straight up.

How about the post-up numbers? I had anticipated a huge advantage for Bosh in this area, with a more physical reputation and Amar'e's notorious softness. Yet Amar'e is still allowing less than .89 in the post, and Bosh is at .84. A difference of .05 points per possessions? Not exactly what I would have expected.

Finally, spot-up, which deals with recovery, is probably the most affected by the Raptors' terrible defense. Bosh was repeatedly having to overcompensate to help his teammates, meaning his man was open for jumpers as he tried to cover too much defense to recover. It's a terrible mark for Bosh at 1.03 while .84 is reasonable for Stoudemire.

The big takeaway here is that Bosh is a better defender, no doubt. But the separation is not one where you would feel the Knicks made a horrific mistake in getting Stoudemire. Stoudemire's defensive numbers match up favorably with Bosh, both play in high-possession systems last year, and both have issues in various defensive sets.

Many will claim that the Knicks got the rough end of this choice between Bosh and Amar'e. But if the evidence from last year is any indication, the Knicks may have gotten a better deal than the consensus believes.


Since: Jul 5, 2010
Posted on: July 6, 2010 8:05 pm

Did the Knicks win in Amar'e vs. Bosh?

Amare is heralded as this FA class' most coveted big man.  I cannot believe any bball 'enthusiasts' agree, this isn't 2004-05.

If ur not 20 and 10 ur not a dominating big.   (He avergaed 6 Rebounds, 6!)

He doesn't rebound or play defense and has never suited up without the greatest point gaurd of the decade in Steve Wonder.

Bosh played in a primarily offensive system and has always cleaned the glass.

Amare should call and Marion to see how life went after taking Mr Granite for grantite, not so well individual stat-wise.
(although those situations were entirely different)

Bottom line might just make the playoffs with STAT, but if they dont land a supremely talented PG then good luck.

If my beloved  are pursuing a realistic PF right now I can, with all sincerity, say I hope it is .

Amare will get eaten alive by the NY media when then realize D Lee had better numbers the previous year.

Since: Jun 24, 2009
Posted on: July 6, 2010 2:03 pm

Did the Knicks win in Amar'e vs. Bosh?

The thing that is interesting to me through all of this is that everyone talks about how overrated D Lee is because he played for the Knicks and they had no one else to do anything up front and thus, someone had to do it and his numbers are over-inflated because of it. That he wouldn't put anywhere near those numbers up on a team with other quality players.

No one talks about Bosh this way... Yet this is why I think he too is overrated! Who else did anything in Toronto last year? Hedo was a total bust. Bargnani was a nice surprise, and another big up front with him, yet his defensive numbers being one of 2 trees upfront, were still not great on a terrible defensive team.

People keep talking about Amare's numbers being better because he played with Nash and other solid players, but use the opposite argument when talking about Bosh. If you switch their teams, does Bosh suddenly get railed on too that he's only good b/c Nash was feeding him the ball? Did Nash ever finish for Amare?

D Lee gets ragged on for being overrated, again as I said before. But he hammered the pick'n'roll with the likes of Chris Duhon and T Douglass getting him the ball, the same T Douglass who is now Amare's PG. Its the system, that system made Nash. No one seems to remember that. He was a great PG before the D'antoni system, a superstar after. The system is still run there. Go look at Nash's numbers when Porter ran the show, not so hot at all.

Amare knows the system, smart player or not. Its all he's played in. D'Antoni can get any PG to play it and he now has a better finisher than he had in D Lee.

Yes defense wins championships, but this notion that Bosh is so much better than Stouds is absurd. What has Bosh ever done? Has he won a playoff game? Is he that much better than D Lee? His numbers don't say so. His playoff wins don't say so. Amare was the best PF available in this class, Bosh is the overrated one.

Since: Jul 30, 2007
Posted on: July 6, 2010 1:10 pm

Did the Knicks win in Amar'e vs. Bosh?

It remains to be seen, doesn't it?  Past performance is no guarantee of of future performance.  Amare Stoudemire is a step in the right least.  Chris Bosh may be more physically gifted but he is an immature fool.  He can keep his tweets and go somewhere else now.  When I look at him, listen to him, and watch him play, I can't help but think he would only have been a larger version of Latrell Sprewell.

If Stoudemire can help reel in LeBron James then he will be worth the gamble.  Though, I've said before that I expect James to stay with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Dwyane Wade to stay with the Miami Heat.  The Knicks should focus on getting a mid-level player to help run the point this year, and a mid-level player to block shots.  Next year, they'll have enough cash to get another max free agent such as Carmelo Anthony.  Or, they could do a sign and trade for Anthony with the Denver Nuggets this year and contend for the title immediately.  After that, I don't give a damn where the "King" is playing.  The championships will have to go through New York.

Since: Apr 22, 2007
Posted on: July 6, 2010 12:37 pm

Did the Knicks win in Amar'e vs. Bosh?

Bosh is definitely the less athletic but more intelligent and skilled player.  Steve Nash and D'Antoni have both in the past said Amare has a hard time learning certain plays.  His stupid1ty increased when he was on a New York radio show calling out Bosh and claiming he was a better player then him

The sad part is, if the Knicks don't get James, or Wade, Amare k1lled any option for Chris Bosh to add as his front court teammate.  Maybe Amare should just figure out that he's a complimentary player in any signing and just really shut his stup1d f2cken mouth until all the availeable free agents get signed. 

The funny part is his signing wasn't even official and he's showing everyone in New York he's a loud mouth cancer.  Knick fans have a lot to look foward to.

Since: Nov 6, 2006
Posted on: July 6, 2010 11:50 am

Did the Knicks win in Amar'e vs. Bosh?

Three simple letters: L, O, L :)

Since: Sep 2, 2006
Posted on: July 6, 2010 11:47 am

Did the Knicks win in Amar'e vs. Bosh?

wht the fuck are you talking about?  What part of this article was biased to you?

seriously, this place is full of moronic reader's who don't know how to read

Since: Oct 10, 2006
Posted on: July 6, 2010 10:25 am

Did the Knicks win in Amar'e vs. Bosh?

I guess the thing you didn't do, because you're probably a New York writer trying to pacify the troops, would be take the differences in defense, open that up into points allowed per game for both, then take last years Knicks games and figure out how many more games the Knicks would have won with Bosh instead of Stoudemire. I notice you're already following the spots announcing manuals calling Stoudamire by his first name, and Bosh by his surname. 
Many will claim that the Knicks got the rough end of this choice between Bosh and Amar'e. But if the evidence from last year is any indication, the Knicks may have gotten a better deal than the consensus believes.They also may have bought themselves 5 additional losses and lost a shot at the playoffs. Balance my friend, balance.

 CBS sportsline is a national institution. New York is not the home team. If I want biased self centered reporting I'll read the Toronto papers. I expect better from Sportsline

Since: Aug 25, 2009
Posted on: July 6, 2010 2:26 am

Did the Knicks win in Amar'e vs. Bosh?

Interesting analysis. I have to agree with Moore that the post-up defensive numbers are far closer than expected. As one who has not had the opportunity to see Bosh as much as I would like, I am reduced to relying on the chattering class and the consensus has been that Chris Bosh is far superior to Amar'e Stoudamire in post-up defense. I have seen Stoudamire on numerous occasions and I would have to say that he is a terrible man defender on most occasions I have seen him play. Whereas Bosh has the rep of being a good defender. But the numbers show a far closer comparison, although as other commenters have noted, Bosh is often forced to defend smalls, bigs and other mismatches that Stoudamire never has to contend with, which affects his numbers. 


As far as the two categories where Stoudamire has far better numbers than Bosh, I would argue that both are heavily affected by the Raptors' pathetic team defense. In pick-and-roll, the defenders must work together, but since Bosh's teammates were so horrible, he may have often been forced into situations where he was trying to defend two players because his teammates wouldn't or couldn't help. And if he were forced into these situations, then of course his numbers would be affected. Moore has already made the point about spot-up, which is also an area where Bosh's teammates were dragging down his numbers because he was forced to cover too much ground to recover. 



So my take-away is pretty simple. Stoudamire is a pathetic man-on-man defender. And Phoenix was one of the better teams at defending the pick-and-roll, due to the help defense provided by guys like Hill - one of the few Suns who is a good defender. So I would say that Stoudamire's good numbers against the pick-and-roll are probably buoyed by his teammates, just as Bosh's are probably dragged down by his teammates. On a different (and proabbly worse) team, would Stoudamire's numbers against the pick-and-roll still be as impressive. it says here they will not. On the other hand, if Bosh is on a better team, would his numbers against the pick-and-roll improve with better teammates. I would bet the answer is yes.


Team defense, as Moore noted, is something that is affected by many factors and both Bosh and Stoudamire will be affected by their new teams. In Stoudamire's case, he is going from a team that was under-rated defensively (yes, I know Nash and Stoudamire are both horrible defenders, but they had a team defensive scheme that mostly managed to hide their worst deficiencies. In New York, those scheme will not exist, as d'Antoni, for all his offensive brilliance, can't coach defense to save his life. Bosh on the other hand will be going to a team that is almost certainly better than the Raptors and so he will naturally be helped by this.


Ultimately, the true mark of a great defender is how he performs when he is guarding another guy one-on-one. And here is where the stats don't lie. Even though Bosh was often asked to step out and guard guys he wasn't really suite to guard (much like Duncan guarded all five positions in his early years), he still gave up only .65 points per shot in ISO situations. Whereas Stoudamire gave up almost a point per shot. Huge difference, and this is why I think that regardless of what these numbers may say, Stoudamire is not anywhere near Bosh's class as a defender. But Moore provided some excellent analysis and I appreciate the research - it certainly got my thought processes churning!

Since: Jun 14, 2009
Posted on: July 6, 2010 1:29 am

Did the Knicks win in Amar'e vs. Bosh?

Bosh is a far better player still. Stats may not show it, but Stoudemire has the benefit of playing with Nash. If you watch enough Raptors and Suns games, Stoudemire has the benefit of Nash making plays for him involving pick and rolls with stoudemire going against smaller defenders in those situations. Bosh is also double teamed a lot more than Stoudemire. And though Amare had a higher shooting percentage, Bosh is a much better jump shooter. And a better rebounder. And a slightly better defender. Forget the stupid PPP stats listed here, just watch both of them play.

That being said, the Knicks may not regret choosing Stoudemire as their first big FA signing. If they manage to get Lebron, a playmaker himself, maybe Stoudemire will still benefit greatly from Lebron's passing abilities and the fact that Stoudemire may be open a lot more than he was in Phoenix.

Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: July 6, 2010 12:54 am

Did the Knicks win in Amar'e vs. Bosh?

Great post.

The trick is to blend stats--which can demystify idle chatter--with naunced assessment of total situations in which stats are generated.

Stoudemire, defensively, might be better suited to Knicks under D'Antoni than Bosh, at least during the season--with their pace, he won't face so much ISO.  However, in the playoffs, that kind of tenacious man D is crucial--both the Lakers and Celtics were simply outstanding in that department. 

Bottom line: neither Bosh nor Stoudimire can key a championship tea--the D has to be guilt out from other guys.  That may well go for LeBron as well.

Fact is, Knicks would do well to get Boozer, and toughen up that frontcourt.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or