A’mare Stoudemire suffered an injury to his left knee in his first NBA preseason game of 2012-13, and will miss 2-3 weeks and the start of the season.
Stoudemire is a fundamental piece of the puzzle – and yes I do mean puzzle- that is the New York Knicks. The PF had a tough season last year, mostly because of the constant, nonverbal jostle with Carmelo Anthony as to who the go-to guy is in New York. Anthony is the better player, and at this point in his career, needs to be the one who is the team’s leader. He should take note from his good friend, MVP LeBron James of the NBA Champion Miami Heat, and be the best not just because of his ability to score. James rebounds, facilitates, makes his teammates better, and plays defense; those are some areas in which Anthony lacks, but is looking to improve on this season.
So now you may be wondering how in the world Stoudemire’s injury could help the Knicks. Well, when I say “help”, I am talking about in the long run, not immediately. Will New York miss him in their first few games? Absolutely. But the reason that this injury is a blessing in disguise goes back to Anthony.
With Stoudemire sidelined, Anthony is unquestionably the alpha-dog. The offense will run through him, and as he said earlier in the off-season, he “is done trying to score 30, 35, 40 points a night.” He will learn to facilitate, but also look for his own shot without worrying about upsetting Stoudemire, who can be a diva about his touches (Just ask the glass covering the fire extinguisher in Miami!). When STAT returns, he will have to accept his role on the team of being more of a role player than a superstar. I am not questioning Stoudemire’s ability – I have seen how good he can be at full strength. It’s just that Anthony is simply a better player, and it isn’t fair for either of the All-Star caliber players to have to worry about pleasing each other.
Anthony could now possibly start at the PF position, where he thrived last season when Stoudemire was injured. He may be reluctant to play at the 4 spot, but he is big and strong enough, and is too quick for any defender. The small starting lineup should look like this:
PG Raymond Felton
SG Jason Kidd
SF Ronnie Brewer
PF Carmelo Anthony
C Tyson Chandler
The Knicks and Coach Mike Woodson will have their hands full this season. But, Stoudemire’s injury and absence will make it easier for him to adjust to his position on the team, one that he is not accustomed to but will need to accept: a role player.