Knicks’ Stoudemire Still Learning Defense?
Knicks’ Head Coach Mike Woodson has repeatedly said he’s not worried about forwarsd Amar’e Stoudemire finding his offense after returning from a left knee injury. Woodson is more concerned about Stoudemire’s defensive game and Stoudemire knows that’s where he needs the most improvement.
In fact, Stoudemire admitted after Wednesday’s practice that defense was something he had never really learned until now with Woodson as his head coach. While Woodson was an assistant coach in New York last season, Stoudemire had mostly played under Mike D’Antoni’s offensive game plan during his career.
“I think just having a defensive coach for the first time in my career is going to help,” he said. “I’ve never been taught defense in my whole career, so to now have a coach that actually teaches defense and teaches strategies, and knows positioning and posture, how to guard different plays, it’s going to be helpful. I’m going to take it as a challenge, and I’m going to accept the challenge and try to improve as a player.”
Woodson spent a lot of practice time explaining defensive rotations where he stressed effort and communication, two factors that many Knicks have pointed to during their recent slide. Afterward, Stoudemire worked with assistants Herb Williams and LaSalle Thompson on defensive positioning while guarding pick-and-rolls. Both of them were showing Stoudemire how to maintain a strong defensive stance, and to keep his hands high and active.