By Charlie Widdoes

Year in Review: After injuries limited him to 47 and 29 games played in the past two seasons, respectively, Amar’e Stoudemire bounced back in a big way this year for the Knicks. Amidst the disappointment of a season that didn’t live up to lofty expectations, STAT’s resurgence stood out as a bright spot.

Not only did he manage to play in 65 games, but he grew stronger as the year progressed. He maintained his offensive efficiency as his workload increased, ultimately forcing his way into the starting five for good on March 3rd in Detroit. Once there, he rewarded the coaching staff by leading New York to seven straight wins in games in which he played.

Season Highlight: With one week left in the season, the Knicks’ playoff hopes were hanging on by a thread. After a loss in Miami, they had a few days to regroup for the stretch run against four Eastern Conference playoff teams. With the season on the line, Stoudemire put together arguably his best performance of the season, lighting up the division-leading Raptors for 24 points (on 10-of-14 shooting) and 11 rebounds.

Looking Ahead: The upward trend of his campaign has to be encouraging for Stoudemire and the Knicks going forward. It took some time for STAT and the team to find the sweet spot between optimal impact and preventative rest, but once they settled on a role, his impact was truly eye-opening.

In 14 games in March, he averaged 16.9 points and 6.6 boards per contest, while averaging 28.3 minutes.

He shot better than 50 percent from three to 16 feet and even showcased the range, making a respectable 42 percent of his looks from 16-23 feet this year. As I wrote last summer, his jumper is a deadly weapon that can help prolong his career. If he continues to work on his face-up game, including passing out of the high post, that could go a long way toward helping the Knicks’ offense return to 2012-13 levels.

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