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Stoudemire, ‘Melo return and things change for Jeremy Lin

Feb 13, 2012, 12:49 PM EDT

Knicks guard Lin smiles during player introductions before the start of the Knicks' NBA basketball game against the Timberwolves in Minneapolis Reuters

It is the sentence I never expected to type and nobody ever expected to read:

Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony are about to be back in the Knicks lineup, but how do they blend them in?

It should be a no brainer fitting the Knicks two best players back in with their new point guard that runs the offense as designed. But things are never that simple in New York.

Jeremy Lin has transformed the Knicks on the court into a team that actually looks like a Mike D’Antoni coached team — fast pace, pick-and-rolls, floor spacing and guys making cuts to the basket. So, kind of the opposite of what we saw when Stoudemire and Anthony were in the lineup.

Stoudemire is due back first, he will return to the team Monday following the unexpected death of his brother, but also should be the easier to blend in.

Remember the STAT the Knicks signed two years ago? Remember what a beast Stoudemire was on the pick-and-roll with a real point guard? (Granted, an insanely good point guard in Steve Nash.) He rolls to the rim and finishes ferociously, he can pop out for the midrange, he reads the play well and makes the other team pay for mistakes in coverage. Now he has a real point guard to run the pick-and-roll with him again and he should benefit.

Carmelo Anthony is tougher (and it is unclear when he comes back, it is expected later this week). He has been playing the point-forward role — and to the best of his ability, his assist percentages are way up and his shots are down, but this is just not a role he was built for. Now he is freed up from that responsibility.

Instead he can catch-and-shoot off the ball, get points in transition and pick his spots when to take over the ball in isolation because the matchup favors him. He can put up points but he can work with the new point guard to do it efficiently. The question is will he — ‘Melo has been known to go outside the offense before. A lot. And stop the ball.

A lot of this responsibility falls back on Lin — his job as the point guard is to integrate these guys into the offense. He’s got to get Stoudemire the ball on the roll and ‘Melo when he has the matchup.

But if ‘Melo is his inefficient self, he’s going to hear it from New York fans. Right or wrong. Lin is now the savior and Golden Child who can do no wrong and if the Knicks struggle it is Anthony and Stoudemire who will take the blame.

On paper, this should all work out well. But as we said, do things ever go smoothly in New York?

  1. zblott - Feb 13, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Once those two come back, it’s a given that any gains the Knicks made in the Power Rankings in their absence will disappear.

    You gotta think NY wishes they had Galinai, Felton, Chandler, Mozgov, 3 future draft picks, and the $100 million they gave Amar’e back.

    • leearmon - Feb 13, 2012 at 2:38 PM

      This type of rhetoric is absurd. How in the world can Amar’e hurt the Knicks’ offensive flow? Although Lin has been amazing during this stretch, one of these games (Yes it was against the Nets, I know) Lin, STAT & Melo all were on the floor together. As a Knick fan do I wish the Knicks chose to not sign Stoudemire to his $100 million dollar contract although last season he was an MVP candidate for much of it? Of course not. He’s now playing with a real point guard and he should return to old form. And do I wish the Knicks still had Felton? Are you drunk?? How soon we all forget, last season STAT had most “experts” saying Felton was a “good point guard” have you seen him play since the 54 games he was with New York? Are you sure you want to call Felton and his whopping 11.0 PER and a 406 eFG% a good point guard? How was it then that a player like Felton, who during his entire career played like a below average player all of a sudden turns into a borderline All-Star last season, just to see his numbers crash back down to oblivion? I think Knicks fans can live with STAT’s contract, I’d much rather have him than David Lee or Carlos Boozer at $80 million.

      The Melo argument is a fair one, will he/ can he adjust his game to play with a true point guard? Its is a legitimate question one that players similar to Melo’s skill set have answered as well. Remember Paul Pierce, his and Melo’s games are quite similar, and although at the time no one knew Rondo was a great player, Pierce’s numbers and games had to adjust. I think it will take time, time Im sure this site probably won’t give them, but from what I’ve seen from Melo, especially prior to the injuries was a guy willing to pass, but a player who was asked to have the ball in his hands. There will always be times when an offense, no matter how effectively run, will need a player to bail them out and make a play. Melo will always be able to hit tough shots against strong defenses, its just a matter of choosing that time and letting it come naturally. We shall see if Anthony has that part of his game figured out, but Amar’e? Come on! Instead of feeding Jared Jeffries and Bill Walker for cuts or pops off of screens he’ll have STAT and Melo, may be a rough adjustment but if you’re arguing a Jeffries Walker lineup is better, I’d suggest you ease up off of whatever you’ve been smoking.

  2. metalhead65 - Feb 13, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    and you and the rest of the press will blame lin if they do not fit in or claim he was just lucky when they keep wining and his stats go down because he is doing what he has to get those 2 involved.

  3. bearsstillsuck - Feb 13, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Things went pretty well for the giants.

  4. chargerdillon - Feb 13, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    It’s amazing what happens when you have a team that listens to their coach. It could almost be said that even though Melo has had great coaches to play for, all of his success and talent has shined despite his coaches and not because of their gameplans.

    In every situation you look where Melo once was and now isn’t you seem improvement. Is Denver any better or worse without him? I’m not sure, but I know damn well they’re a better TEAM without him. Is the story any different in New York?

    You have a NOBODY in Lin suddenly looking like an all star at a position that his COACH happens to know a few things about turning good PG’s into MVP’s. You hae a great coach with a player who will listen.

    When Melo returns, it all goes away unless Melo goes away. Melo is one of the most consistent players in the NBA, you know EXACTLY what he’ll give you. 15-30pts on offense, and no help on defense. That’s Melo.

  5. pl4tinum514 - Feb 13, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    It’s up to D’Antoni to figure it out. Lin should just be allowed to continue doing what he’s done the last little while if they want things to continue to flow.

  6. icu84bs - Feb 13, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Steve Nash is my fav player so I have a bias for point guards and I really like the way J. Lim plays BBall.

    Once N.Y. and Lim have beat OKC, Miami, Chicago and some of the other good teams we will have something to discuss. Nice streak but need tougher competition before we know if Lim can continue his great play.

    Lim is also better rested than a lot of the payers who have played many games in a short time. Let us see if how well can keep it going after playing 20 games in a month. I hope as he is a team first player. Cheers.

    • edweird0 - Feb 13, 2012 at 3:23 PM

      Are you new here? I swear that’s the most sense someone has made on this site in quite some time.

  7. losangelasbasketball - Feb 13, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    New york sucks… So does spike… Dantoni is garbage…mello is a bumb.

    • drobstad - Feb 13, 2012 at 3:30 PM

      LA is the dirtiest city in the country, more than double the amount of money/business flows through NY than the entire state of California, Giants just won the Superbowl, Every California football team is garbage, Melo, Spike & D’Antoni have accomplished more than you will in your entire life, NY has more sports championships than any city in the US…

      Get a life loser

    • dacapt704 - Feb 13, 2012 at 3:35 PM

      Melo is a bumb? And you’re illiterate so now what? Learn how to spell before you take cheap shots! SMH…

  8. lunasceiling - Feb 13, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    This matter all boils down to one thing: will STAT and ‘Melo (And ShaoLIN, for that matter) care more about the W than their own stat lines? Personally, I think the answer is “yes.” Reputations aside (and I recognize ‘Melo in particular has a bad rep for ballhogging, etc.), nothing feels better to the hyper-competitive athlete than to win. The Knicks’ offense can work very well indeed with what will soon be the likely starting lineup, well enough to win a lot of games.

    There will be adjustments, of course. For example, with Stoudamire back in the lineup alongside Chandler, defenses will tend to sag into the middle more, leaving less space for Lin’s dribble penetration. But if these adjustments are made, the Knicks should be a very, very dangerous teem, capable of a deep playoff run.

  9. knicks4life - Feb 13, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    Trade melo for d12 and Ryan Anderson

    • raidmagic - Feb 13, 2012 at 4:29 PM

      hell no…said the Magic

  10. thetooloftools - Feb 13, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    Melo is over rated.

  11. losangelasbasketball - Feb 13, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    Yo… When did the knicks last win a title? Ill give u a hint….”im not a crook”

  12. bklynfatpants - Feb 13, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    At least we don’t have to talk about Baron Davis anymore.

  13. goforthanddie - Feb 13, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    There shouldn’t be a problem, but there will be. I strongly doubt the 2 alleged stars will defer to Lin, even though his continued success would mean success for the team. But Mr. Vasquez needs to keep chucking up garbage to get his points, and Amare is already pissed he’s #2, I don’t see him happily taking the 3rd spot even though he still gets paid.

  14. africanballer - Feb 14, 2012 at 2:09 AM

    I really hope it works out for NY. I was comfortable and enjoying knicks basktball with Lin, it would be tough to see him ‘dissapear’

  15. dysraw1 - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    people are complete idiots with no understanding of the game of basketball yet they are allowed to air their dumb opinions an say stupid things related to the game in sites like this 1 trade Melo never happen.

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