NEW YORK, NY – Last night was the first night back for New York Knicks big man Amar’e Stoudemire, who has been recovering from a knee injury. And of course… the Knickerbockers lost 105-100 to the lowly Portland Trailblazers – at home. So, this loss once again begs the question and/or overreaction: Can Amar’e Stoudemire and offensive powerhouse Carmelo Anthony coexist on the New York Knicks? My answer? Yes. Here’s why:
When healthy, Amar’e Stoudemire is one of the best power forwards in the NBA. Productive power forwards come at a premium in the NBA. When you have one you don’t to let him go. Only about a third of NBA teams a good power forward and their records reflect that asset. The best examples?
–Atlanta Hawks with Josh Smith (3rd place in the Eastern Conference)
–Oklahoma City Thunder and Serge Ibaka (1st in the Western Conference)
–LA Clippers and Blake Griffin (1st in the West)
–Miami Heat and Chris Bosh (1st in the East)
–Memphis Grizzlies and Zach Randolph (4th in the West)
These players don’t come along every day. Amar’e is an asset.
Who else would play power forward for the Knicks? Currently Mike Woodson has the Knicks playing Carmelo somewhat out of position at the Four while bringing in Ronnie Brewer at small forward. Here’s the problem: When the Knicks face teams like the Hawks, Thunder or Grizzlies, the opposing teams will have players stronger than Mello at the four who will be able to out rebound him and shut him down offensively. Stoudemire needs to be quickly placed back in the starting lineup so Carmelo can move back to where he’s comfortable. At the Three.
The Knicks now have good point guards. Finally, New York has something they lacked throughout the “Amell’o” era (copyright that because it will be BIG one day): consistent play from the point guard spot. Last season they messed around with an array of players form, aging Mike Bibby and Barron Davis, to an out of position Iman Shumpert and to the NBA’s version of Ryan Fitzpatrick with Jeremy Lin. Just to name a few… Now the Knicks have two great point guards in Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd to evenly distribute the ball between Carmelo and Amar’e. Most importantly, Melo doesn’t have to try and be a point forward either.
All and all, stick with Amar’e because he will help guide the Knicks back into relevance by take the Heat to Game 6 in the Eastern Conference Finals in the spring.
Cam James and/or Lori Levine, tomorrow.