Instead, the Knicks have shifted their focus to easing Stoudemire in the lineup.
Prior to Stoudemire’s season debut, the Knicks had a 21-9 record, which was second best in the Eastern Conference.
“It was great to watch the guys play extremely well and win without me because it gave me more time to recover,” Stoudemire said, “and it gave me more confidence knowing that we had a solid team and had a great chance to do something special in New York. So it was great to watch.”
Since Stoudemire returned, the Knicks have a 2-1 record. He looked lost in their 105-100 loss to the Portland Trailblazers on Tuesday, but bounced back Thursday and Saturday with the Knicks defeating the San Antonio Spurs 100-83 and the Orlando Magic 114-106.
“I thought he made a major step in the right direction,” head coach Mike Woodson said. “His minutes went up a little bit and he did some things from a defensive standpoint that we liked and offensively, he was pretty good. … His timing is a little off, but I think as he continues and we continue to push him, it will get better each and every day that he steps out on that floor.”
With Raymond Felton currently out for at least a month and Jason Kidd switching to point guard, the Knicks were able to free up a spot for Stoudemire with Carmelo Anthony playing small forward.
Stoudemire is currently working his way back to playing 30+ minutes per game, but it looks like he’s coming along fine after an 11-point performance against the Magic.