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Amar’e Stoudemire’s return could hurt Knicks
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On May 9, 2013 @ 7:05 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
You don’t pay someone nearly $20 million a year to be a stylish cheerleader, so the New York Knicks might be forced to return Amar’e Stoudemire to their lineup when his knee heals. The plans already are being laid out for Stoudemire to come off the bench and play 10 to 15 minutes a game should he return for this second-round NBA playoff series vs. the Indiana Pacers.
But you don’t add a player to the mix who might stunt everything you’ve done right this late in the season, either. So the Knicks are put in the precarious position of balancing logical solutions to a problem they created themselves in handing Stoudemire a five-year contract worth nearly $100 million in 2010.
“I can play whatever the coaching staff wants me to play,” Stoudemire said Thursday, when coach Mike Woodson explained his plan for a possible return in Saturday’s Game 3 (8 p.m. ET, ABC). Stoudemire said he felt good after a 4-on-4 scrimmage Thursday, a good sign for his return.
Carmelo Anthony is the offensive leader for the Knicks, and he has played better this season with Stoudemire off the court. So have the Knicks: They are 16-13 when the six-time All-Star played this season, 43-18 without him.
Anthony and Stoudemire are scorers who fit best at power forward. When they play together, Anthony must shift up to small forward or Stoudemire down to center. A study of their shot charts shows Anthony and Stoudemire both perform best on the right low post, where Anthony has shot 53.9% (146-for-271) and Stoudemire 69.5% (57-for-82), according to Vorped.com.
And make no bones about it: The Knicks are better with Anthony on that block. They are 4.7 points per 48 minutes better with Anthony on the floor than without, according to 82games.com. With Stoudemire, they are negative-3.0 points per 48 minutes worse.
Stoudemire forces the Knicks into more traditional lineups because of his ineffective defense at center. New York set an NBA record with 891 three-pointers this season, and much of that hinges on smaller lineups featuring Anthony at power forward, sliding inside and out with … [For more on Amar'e Stoudemire's return could hurt Knicks vs. Pacers, click here.]
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