Skip to content

Mike Woodson’s big hurdle: Fitting Amare Stoudemire back in

Apr 18, 2012, 2:40 PM EDT

Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony AP

If your biggest problem is how to fit a six-time All-Star who gives you 18 and 8 a night back into the lineup, you should be feeling pretty good about yourself.

But this is the New York Knicks, a team with a rabid fan base and a small margin for error, so even something like brining back Amare Stoudemire to the lineup is seen as a challenge. And potential disaster.

The Knicks are on a hot streak entering the playoffs — including a win over the Celtics Tuesday — and in the next few days they will get Stoudemire back. Likely by Friday. So far, Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony — two guys who like the offense to work through them at times and who like some of the same spots on the floor — have not blended well. John Schuhmann has the numbers at NBA.com, but since last year’s trade the Knicks have been four points per 100 possessions better when Anthony is on the floor without Stoudemire than they have been together. And the defense has been better with just ‘Melo, too.

With coach Mike Woodson admitting that ‘Melo has found a comfort level in the offense right now, and with the Knicks winning, how do you fit Stoudemire in and get him touches without throwing off the rhythm that has been built? Yes, the Knicks went 6-1 with Stoudemire and Melo together when Woodson took over, but this team now is different.

The obvious answer is to keep one of them on the floor at all times and try to stagger their minutes — they are going to have to play together at some points, particularly crunch time, but you can have one on without the other for long stretches.

Which has led CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger and others to suggest bringing Stoudemire off the bench.

He should take a page from the book of Doc Rivers, who had the clout and cojones to leave Avery Bradley in the starting lineup over Ray Allen once the aforementioned future Hall of Famer returned from an ankle injury. How did Rivers do it?

“He just sat me down and said, ‘You’re coming off the bench,’” Allen said.

Woodson has said Stoudemire “absolutely” is starting. As Berger notes, it’s easy for Rivers — with a multi-year deal and the backing of management — to tell a star to come off the bench, it’s tougher for the interim Woodson. At the end of the season he will be the Knicks fallback as coach, owner James Dolan will be reaching for the stars first.

If the Knicks had even a few weeks to work out the kinks with their star combo, this might not be as big a deal. But they are going to have three games or so, then they are going to likely get the Miami Heat in a best of seven series. The only way the Knicks stand a chance is if they are firing on all cylinders and are knocking down shots like they did against Boston.

Mike Woodson, welcome to coaching the Knicks. Never a dull moment, even when your All-Star returns.

Latest Posts
  1. After punching high schooler, P.J. Hairston follows Josh Gordon controversy with agent scandal

    Jul 10, 2014, 11:48 PM EDT

    PJ Hairston PJ Hairston

    Hornets first-round pick making a lot of headlines for the wrong reasons

  2. Gerald Wallace: LeBron James ‘not willing to take over a game’

    Jul 10, 2014, 10:47 PM EDT

    Boston Celtics v Miami Heat Getty Images

    Of course, Wallace believes Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant take over games

  3. Shelly Sterling says Donald Sterling backed sale until last minute

    Jul 10, 2014, 8:59 PM EDT

    Shelly Sterling Shelly Sterling

    Closing arguments are set for July 28, so no quick end to this.

  4. Report: Isaiah Thomas meets with Suns on Thursday

    Jul 10, 2014, 7:35 PM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers  v Sacramento Kings Getty Images

    The Suns already have a deep backcourt, but Thomas would fit their offense.

  5. Shabazz Napier alley-oop to James Ennis, this could be Miami’s offense next season (VIDEO)

    Jul 10, 2014, 6:50 PM EDT

    Shabazz Napier, Peyton Siva AP

    This will either be the garbage-time sideshow for Miami next season, or the lone bastion of hope for the future of what remains of Heat fans.

  6. Phil Jackson says he has not heard from Carmelo, has tried to recruit Gasol

    Jul 10, 2014, 5:59 PM EDT

    Phil Jackson

    Like everyone else, Phil Jackson is in a holding pattern.

  7. People gathering at LeBron’s house in Ohio because… I got nothing

    Jul 10, 2014, 5:40 PM EDT

    Why would you show up to LeBron’s empty house?

  8. Blazers’ C.J. McCollum has advice for incoming NBA rookies

    Jul 10, 2014, 4:16 PM EDT

    CJ McCollum AP

    “Instead of thinking of reasons why your coach should be playing you, honestly assess reasons as to why he isn’t.”

  9. Report: Trail Blazers signing Steve Blake

    Jul 10, 2014, 1:02 PM EDT

    Chicago Bulls v Portland Trail Blazers Getty Images

    Signing likely signals end of Mo Williams’ time in Portland

  10. Report: Timberwolves interested in signing Evan Turner

    Jul 10, 2014, 12:33 PM EDT

    Indiana Pacers v Washington Wizards Getty Images

    The market for Evan Turner has been a bit dry. To put it kindly.

  11. Jusuf Nurkic reportedly joining Nuggets this season after all

    Jul 10, 2014, 12:02 PM EDT

    Denver’s first-round pick, acquired from Bulls, won’t spend another year in Europe

  12. Wizards flirt with Luol Deng, trying to make Trevor Ariza jealous

    Jul 10, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

    Chicago Bulls v Washington Wizards - NBA Global Games Rio 2013 Getty Images

    Washington reportedly refusing to pay Ariza more than $9 million per year

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. L. James (6568)
  2. C. Anthony (5000)
  3. C. Bosh (3661)
  4. K. Bryant (3177)
  5. D. Wade (2902)
  1. P. Gasol (2683)
  2. K. Love (2594)
  3. G. Hayward (2317)
  4. C. Parsons (2308)
  5. J. Lin (2201)