Why is Amare Stoudemire struggling?
Mike D'Antoni has a theory.
The coach said on Sunday that Stoudemire may be having a tough time adjusting to spacing when he and Tyson Chandler share the floor.
"I think we're trying to find a relationship between [Stoudemire] and Tyson, trying to free up some room," D'Antoni said, noting that Stoudemire has had a tough time finding easy shots thus far this season. ".... I'm not worried about his game other than we need to get it straight as soon as we can. But that's [the same for] everybody."
The season is still young, of course. But it's become clear through the first 12 games that Stoudemire has had a tough time finding his offensive footing in 2012.
One reason for this? Fewer attempts near the basket.
Chandler has taken over as the primary screener on pick-and-rolls. This role used to belong to Stoudemire and it often provided attempts at the rim for the big man. That isn't happening with as much frequency this season.
As we documented here last week, Stoudemire is averaging fewer attempts near the rim and in the paint this year. So it's no surprise that, he's shooting just 42 percent, compared to 50 percent last season. After getting in early foul trouble and scoring just 10 points against Orlando, Stoudemire's scoring average dropped to 17.9, down more than five points from last season.
But Stoudemire's shot selection issues date back further than this season.
In fact, the numbers show they started when the Knicks acquired Carmelo Anthony, breathing life to the popular theory that Stoudemire has struggled to adjust to life with Anthony.
According to numbers compiled by ESPN Stats & Information's William Cohen, Stoudemire has considerably altered his shot selection since Anthony came to town.
Prior to Anthony's arrival, Stoudemire took 41.7 percent of his shots in the restricted area. With Anthony in tow, that number dipped to 38 percent. Additionally, Stoudemire has taken taken more midrange jump shots since the Anthony trade (38 percent post-trade; 32.8 percent pre-trade).
That explains the low shooting percentage; Stoudemire has 59 percent of his shots within the restricted area with the Knicks and just 43 percent of his shots outside of the paint.
A few additional takeaways from Stoudemire's stats pre- and post-Anthony trade: He is averaging 3.5 fewer points (25.6 to 22.1) and shooting nearly 4 percent worse (50.7 to 47.1) per 36 minutes with Anthony here.
Stoudemire's play in the "clutch" -- defined as fewer than five minutes left in the fourth quarter (or overtime) and the score within five points for either side -- has also diminished since the Anthony trade.
His shot attempts in such situations have dipped from 22 to 12, which is only natural considering Anthony takes plenty of shots late in a close game.
But Stoudemire's shooting percentage in the clutch has dipped nearly 25 percent (53.4 to 29.2). His PER -- John Hollinger's measure of a player's statistical performance per minute -- dipped from 35.77 to 9.04. The league average is 15.00.
All pre and post-trade statistics provided by ESPN Stats & Information's William Cohen and were tabulated prior to Monday's game against the Magic. You can follow ESPN Stats & Information on Twitter.
You can also follow Ian Begley on Twitter.