|"Well, if he blocks shots he must be a good defender." (Getty Images)|
We'll forgive you if you're not salivating at the thought of an expected improvement in Amar'e Stoudemire's defensive rating next season, but he's saying all the right things again.
Stoudemire spoke to reporters Monday at a book signing in New York, and after talking about the things he worked on with Hakeem Olajuwon, including a move to more of a post game, Stoudemire made what seems like his yearly vow to improve defensively. From the New York Post:
As far as his play on the defensive end, or lack thereof at times, Stoudemire said he's focused on getting better at that end of the floor. Woodson has emphasized the important of defense and Stoudemire is ready to buy in.
“Defense is the key to win championships, that's something I'm dedicated on also, to become a much, much better defensive player,” he said. “It's going to happen. It's a matter of preparation and practice and getting that chemistry down on that end of the court.”
Well, that's a good sentiment. After all, defense is systemic more than anything in the NBA now, and even if Stoudemire doesn't have the individual skills, he can work inside the system. But wait, what's that? From 2010:
"When trying to win ball games, defense is what does it," Stoudemire said. "Getting stops, getting rebounds ... it's imperative for me to bring that defensive intensity."
Stoudemire's long talked up defense but hasn't actually committed to it. It's possible that Raymond Felton can help him offensively get back into the groove that Carmelo Anthony stole from him, and that Woodson with a full year can mold a defense that limits Stoudemire's weaknesses with tactical adjustments.
But don't hold your breath, that's just a dangerous proposition.