The New York Knicks are currently 21-8, and have the second best record in the Eastern Conference. The team has silenced a lot of doubters, with Carmelo Anthony looking like the MVP of 2012-13 and Mike Woodson a presumed candidate for Coach of the Year.
The Knicks have achieved a great deal of success for a team that has the oldest roster in NBA history, in addition to being ravaged by injury. Raymond Felton’s hand injury will keep him out of action for about 4-6 weeks, Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace have produced but have not maintained their health, and Anthony has missed a few games with various injuries.
Iman Shumpert and A’mare Stoudemire have been sidelined, as well, but their injuries happened before the season started. Shumpert tore his ACL in the opener of New York’s first round playoff series against the eventual champion Miami Heat, and Stoudemire hurt his knee in the preseason. The duo should be back next week, but I, and many other Knicks fans, have to wonder: will their return help or hurt New York?
In the long run, Shumpert and Stoudemire will help the Knicks, and that is the good news. The bad news is that Stoudemire’s immediate return could hurt the team’s chemistry. He and Anthony both need to the ball in isolation settings to be effective, and Stoudemire is going to have to realize that he will not get as many shots as Anthony.
Shumpert came off the bench and started some games for New York last season, so his transition to the court will probably not experience the same growing pains that Stoudemire’s will. Stoudemire is going to have to come off the bench, something that he has never done before but will have to do if he wants to stay in New York.
Overall, Knicks fans will have even more to cheer about once Shumpert and Stoudemire return. The immediate impact will be a little bit bumpy, but the road to an NBA Championship will get a little bit smoother for the Knicks.