Do-it-all Aminu keeps Mavs together
It's hard to replicate what Shawn Marion brought to the Mavericks in his five years in Dallas. In addition to being a unique player on the roster, Marion was the basketball spackle that coach Rick Carlisle could apply on any issue. Whether it was rebounding, defense or hustle plays, Marion provided that unique versatility.
Al-Farouq Aminu is proving to be a similar type of player.
Although he doesn't always fill up the stat sheet, the key reserve leaves his mark on the game when he's out on the floor. In addition, Aminu is willing to do the dirty work that many of the other reserves aren't willing to do. More importantly, he does many things the other reserves are unable to do.
He guards just about every position and goes after every rebound and loose ball. In just his fifth year in the league, Aminu has a sharp mind in regard to timing and technique when he's out on the floor. The best display of that is when he comes from the weak side as he blocks shots.
Carlisle continues to rave about the work Aminu has put in as he's tried to improve his game. After falling out of the rotation in mid-December, Aminu kept his head up.
He bought in to Carlisle's "Be Ready" mantra and showed the mental fortitude necessary to capitalize when he got another opportunity. After being given another chance, he's truly maximized his minutes.
Outside of Amar'e Stoudemire's impressive debut, Aminu owns the best net rating among his teammates this season. He's also right behind Tyson Chandler in rebounding percentage on the team. In addition to holding a role as a consistent scorer, Aminu has had to carry the bench's level of productivity in his own way.
Although Stoudemire can provide a punch as a backup center, his durability is a question mark. If he is sidelined with an injury, it all rests on Aminu's shoulders again to carry the frontcourt duties for the second unit.
Whether you call him basketball spackle, a Swiss Army knife or an excellent role player who provides athleticism, Aminu can make the biggest impact off the bench. His ability to do nearly everything as a key reserve makes him the glue that keeps things together.
Stoudemire filling Carter's shoes
Amar'e Stoudemire can perform at an All-Star level in Dallas as long as he's playing limited minutes and banging against a lot of backups.
Look at his per-36-minute numbers with the sorry New York Knicks this season: 18.0 points and 10.2 rebounds. Count on his scoring numbers rising after his move southwest. He's averaging 45.8 per 36 after his 14-point, 11-minute American Airlines Center arrival, although odds are he'll cool off just a bit from that pace.
As good as Wright was for the Mavs, the 6-foot-10, 245-pound Stoudemire is an upgrade -- and better suited to the physical style in playoff series.
He can't sky as high as Wright, but Stoudemire proved in his three-dunk Dallas debut he can still throw down. "STAT," a superior rebounder, fills the void left by Wright as a pick-and-roll partner for Devin Harris and J.J. Barea. And the Mavs can feed Stoudemire on the block, where he might really flourish in Rick Carlisle's system.
Synergy Sports data ranked Stoudemire as a very good post-up threat (77th percentile in points per possession) with the Knicks this season. ESPN Stats & Information research reveals that the Mavs rank among the league's top five in points per play and field goal percentage on post-up shots. However, the Mavs ran a league-low 266 post-up plays before the All-Star break, with Nowitzki (217) as the only player with more than 10.
Carlisle will find ways to get Stoudemire touches on the block as well as the pick-and-roll/pop opportunities that will come in the flow of the offense. He'll fight for some putbacks, too, like he did when he ripped the ball away from two Charlotte Hornets and went up strong.
Stoudemire also stands to benefit from working with one of the NBA's best athletic training staffs, softening concerns about his durability. The Mavs should be able to bank on him for 20 strong minutes a night.
Stoudemire isn't just replacing Wright as Tyson Chandler's backup and an option for spot duty behind Dirk Nowitzki. He's also filling the shoes left by Vince Carter this past summer as a former All-Star sixth man who can serve as an offensive focal point.
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Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle speaks with Marc Stein about new addition Amar'e Stoudemire and the Western Conference playoff race.
ESPN NBA analyst Tim Legler weighs in on Amar'e Stoudemire heading to the Mavericks, how James Harden's performance will affect the Rockets' playoff depth, Chicago being a threat in the East and more.
Michael Smith and Jemele Hill discuss Kobe Bryant's future, Amar'e Stoudemire committing to the Mavericks, the Packers releasing Brandon Bostick and more.
ESPN NBA Insider Brian Windhorst covers where Amar'e Stoudemire could land, potential moves that could occur by the trade deadline and Carmelo Anthony's future.
Mavericks F Dirk Nowitzki discusses his decision to take a pay cut, basketball's growth throughout his career, Dallas' acquisition of Rajon Rondo and the depth of the Western Conference.