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Report: New York Knicks want Amar’e Stoudemire to come off the bench initially

Dec 29, 2012, 11:01 AM EDT

New York Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire waits to take a foul shot against the New Orleans Hornets in the second half of their NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York Reuters

Let’s add everything up. The Knicks are 21-9 without Amar’e Stoudemire this season. Carmelo Anthony is having the best year of his career and is a legitimate MVP candidate, all while playing most of his minutes at Stoudemire’s position.

But now Stoudemire is close to returning, and the Knicks are finally presented with the potential issue fans have been kicking around for weeks. Do they start him or do they bring him off the bench? Ian Begley of ESPN New York provides some insight:

“As long as injuries don’t necessitate otherwise, New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire will come off the bench when he returns to the team, league sources with knowledge of the Knicks’ thinking said.

The Knicks hope Stoudemire will return to the lineup Tuesday at home against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The team would like Stoudemire to come off the bench initially, though sources cautioned there is a possibility he will have to return as a starter because of injuries. Carmelo Anthony was to miss his second consecutive game Friday night against the Sacramento Kings with a left knee ailment, and Raymond Felton is out four to six weeks with a fractured right pinky finger.

“It’s a fluid situation (because of injuries),” one source said. “But they want him to come off the bench to start.”

Ian Begley | ESPN New York

At this point, there is a fair amount of data that suggests Carmelo Anthony is a more productive player when he plays at the 4. It makes sense — he’s a very good post player, and he’s a guy that needs space to operate. A smaller lineup provides him the freedom to back his man down low or slash and kick off the dribble. While Chandler can take a backseat to the Melo show just fine and still be a very effective offensive player, it wasn’t as easy for Stoudemire  to do the same last year.

Although it may take some creative lineup juggling by Mike Woodson once everyone is healthy, it’s not like the Anthony-Stoudemire-Chandler frontcourt trio is a death knell for the Knicks’ chances — in certain matchups, that lineup can work. Can Amar’e Stoudemire occupy Ronnie Brewer‘s spot and shoot at least 37 percent from the field like Brewer has this year? I would say yes.

Stoudemire may not be “stretchy” per se, but he’s posted really good numbers from 16-23 feet over his career, usually checking in at around 45 percent from that range. He can make that shot with consistency  The days of Stoudemire being the linchpin of a pick-and-roll attack, however? Those are gone — at least while he’s wearing orange and blue. This is Carmelo’s show offensively, and you can’t argue with the results produced so far this year.

Ultimately, it’s a good problem to have. Adding another productive player to your rotation always helps, especially when your roster is old and injury prone. Stoudemire may not fit well next to Anthony and Chandler in the starting lineup, but you could find much worse players to act as your third big man — so long as Stoudemire is amenable to being that.

  1. nbascreed - Dec 29, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    OMG…how is this news?!?!?!

  2. reupjosh - Dec 29, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    Didn’t Amaré already agree to come off the bench? Isn’t this story already weeks old?

  3. dko83 - Dec 29, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    Amar’e is ok with coming off the bench when he comes back.. for a little while. I see this situation imploding (hope it doesn’t though) and wonder if he will be on their roster at the end of this year.

  4. elComandanteenJefe - Dec 29, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    That is one expensive 7th man; that is if you’recounting JR Smith as the 6th man who was had at a bargain price!

  5. davidly - Dec 29, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    I see trades and rumors of trades in 2013…
    …two major American metropolitan centers are coming into focus…
    …do the words Amar’e and Pau say anything to you?


    No Straw Damn Us

  6. andiroid71 - Dec 29, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    If any player wants to win, they should do anything they can to do that. Coming back into a team that has been so successful so far, that you have had NOTHING to do with, then you are the one that needs to fit. It doesn’t mean you can’t be a star still.

    Some of the most exciting players on most teams come off the bench. Just look at the Clippers, Jazz, Denver, and yes, even The Knicks. Melo has changed his game and attitude. So has J.R. Time for Amare to do the same.

    If he does, and when Shumpert gets back. Damn! They just got very scarey again!

  7. fanofevilempire - Dec 29, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    who is going to trade for a contract they can’t insure……
    he will be a Knick and Woody will work it out……….
    right now hey have to get healthy again.

  8. monsterofyourgirlsmidway - Dec 29, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    a fractured pinky keeps you out of playing for 6 weeks? Didn’t kobe play with a broken finger on his shooting hand a couple seasons ago? and still average close to 30 points a game… man up little felton!!

  9. clevelandschronic2 - Dec 29, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    And the collapse of the knicks begins. You all say melo changed his game. Lol its the same melo he jus hasnt had to worry about amare getting his touches yet. Stat and melo will clash and the knicks will suffer. I refuse to buy into this knicks are championship contenders. Make it out the first and second round of the playoffs and we’ll talk then. They were horrible together last year because their styles dont compliment each other and that isnt gonna change.

  10. demo3356 - Dec 30, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    Stat can be very effective coming off the bench and spelling melo at the 4 and Chandler at the 5. He and JR Smith along with Novack will lead the highest scoring Bench in the NBA..

  11. dysraw1 - Dec 31, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    just want to see homie on the floor

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