NBA

MONROE: Nene, Amare show plenty of promise

Share This Story

Mike Monroe

 
   
 

DENVER

I went out to Pepsi Center Wednesday night to watch the NBA's future Karl Malones have a go at each other. Phoenix's and Denver's didn¿t disappoint. For one thing, it was the last time to see the youngsters before their combined ages matched the number of candles on The Mailman's last birthday cake. Stoudemire turns 20 on Friday, but on Wednesday night there were two 19-year-old All-Stars-in-waiting banging one another in the paint. Stoudemire walked off the court with a big smile because his held off a fourth-quarter rally by the for a 75-72 win in a game matching the NBA's two most offensively challenged teams. Hilario had the better of the head-to-head matchup, scoring 14 and grabbing 10 rebounds to 12 and eight for Stoudemire. Stoudemire, though, blocked six Denver shots and knocked in a 3-pointer from one long stride over the halfcourt line at the end of the third period, and two of his blocks came in crunch time and probably kept the game from going to overtime. For a couple of days leading up to the game, Hilario heard a lot about what a big mistake the made by passing on Stoudemire, whom the nabbed with the ninth pick after Denver had instructed the to take Hilario on their behalf with the seventh pick, part of the deal on draft night. The Brazilian power forward still doesn't speak much English, but he's got an interpreter, and he's no fool in any language. He was anxious to show everyone he was a match for the ' man-child in the paint. It's clear neither Hilario nor the need to feel bad about that seven vs. nine decision. Now, Denver GM Kiki Vandeweghe might be regretting for a very long time that he used the fifth pick on instead of Stoudemire, but that's another story. GM Brian Colangelo doesn't have to regret a thing. He is willing to show anyone who wants to see it his draft-night rankings that shows Stoudemire at the very top of his list, No. 1 or 1A, right there with . Everyone in the league knows why Stoudemire dropped to No. 9. It was family history, including the fact his mother had spent time in prison. There were reports of Stoudemire's "anger management" problems. Hey, if your father had died when you were 12 and your mother had been sent to prison and you'd been shuffled from one high school to another to another — six different schools, in the end — you'd be angry, too. As Stoudemire talked to NBA personnel types, pre-draft, he had to talk about the situation in which he was forced to grow up. "I wouldn't say it was uncomfortable," he said a few hours before Wednesday's game. "That's the way I grew up. Everybody has a different life story. My life story just seems to be a lot different. I think that just makes me a stronger person inside. "I come from that and to now I can make it into a basketball player, and now I want to make it into a great basketball player to put the exclamation mark on the end." He's off to a good start, to be sure. Fact is, Stoudemire is logging more playing time than any rookie in this early stage of the season and he's having as significant an impact as any first-year player. Through the ' first seven games he has blocked 14 shots, including the six he swatted Wednesday, and is averaging 8.9 points and 8.3 rebounds in just over 25 minutes a game. Hilario isn't quite Denver's best big man — remains a very productive post player, though his $20 million salary makes him one of the league's most grossly overpaid players as well — but he certainly is Denver's most imposing post presence. His early numbers are nearly identical to Stoudemire's despite some difficulties related to the language barrier that retarded his transition to the NBA game. Watching the two 19-year-olds banging away at one another under the boards made an otherwise-unwatchable game very entertaining. What was truly amazing was the fact neither of them fouled out, though Hilario had to head to the bench for the bulk of the third quarter after picking up his third and fourth personals in less than a minute. "I think you have to give a lot of credit to the refs for understanding it was two 19-year-olds going at one another," coach Frank Johnson said. "Now, if either one of them had been playing that way against Karl (Malone), he'd have been (fouled) out in the first half. That's a lesson both rookies will have to learn the first time they face one of the league's elite power forwards. For Stoudemire, that will come next week, when he goes up against The Mailman himself on Tuesday. Stoudemire no longer will be a teenager when he faces The Mailman, but Malone has children older than the rookie, which is one of the most amazing facts of this, or any other, NBA season. Before Stoudemire or Hilario can become the new , the old will have to hang up his sneakers. Mike Monroe can be reached at his e-mail address, mmonroe@foxsports.com.
Tagged: Bulls, Nuggets, Knicks, Suns, Jazz, Juwan Howard, Antonio McDyess, Nene Hilario

More Stories From Mike Monroe


NBA Videos

NBA considering mid-season Vegas tournament? Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Adam Silver confirms the NBA has engaged in early conversations about the possib...

LeBron and Blatt 'will work together beautifully' Posted: Jul 14, 2014
Cavaliers head coach David Blatt on LeBron James' decision to return to Clevelan...

LeBron's back and so are the Cavs Posted: Jul 11, 2014
FOX Sports 1's Gary Payton weighs-in on LeBron's decision to return to Cleveland...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Clippers/browse/featuredproduct/491845/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_491000/ff_491845_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red
    adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/498609/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_498000/ff_498609_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black
    adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Knicks/browse/featuredproduct/620470/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_620000/ff_620470_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey..
    Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Antonio_Spurs/browse/featuredproduct/692239/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_692000/ff_692239_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat
    Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/851828/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851828_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black
    Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/851842/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851842_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White
    adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/890174/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890174_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Wh..
    adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room Flex Hat - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/890384/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890384_xl.jpg&w=100 19.99 adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room F..