Before Stoudemire made his season debut and Raymond Felton suffered an injury, the Knicks utilized an offense that allowed Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith to get the ball in isolation situations and got the rest of the team involved by using the pick-and-roll.
Stoudemire is a player that has thrived in his career as a roll man, so he’ll give the Knicks another player besides Tyson Chandler to set picks and roll to the basket. He also spent the offseason with Hakeem Olajuwon working on post moves to complement his mid-range jumper.
As of right now, the Knicks are letting Stoudemire ease his way back by giving him limited minutes, but pretty soon he’ll be healthy enough to be a starter.
Prior to Felton’s injury the Knicks featured a starting lineup with four players capable of knocking down 3-pointers with Felton, Jason Kidd, Ronnie Brewer and Anthony. With Felton is out, the Knicks have just the other three players and now Marcus Camby is getting the start at power forward.
Brewer, Camby and Chandler give the Knicks a better defensive group to put on the court, but Kidd is 39 years old and will be tested when he has to guard the younger premier point guards.
When Stoudemire becomes a starter, the Knicks defense will take a hit because unlike Camby, he doesn’t know how to play defense apparently.
“I’ve never been taught defense in my whole career,” Stoudemire said. ’To now have a coach that actually teaches defense and teaches strategies and knows positioning and posture, and how to guard different plays, it’s going to be helpful. I’m taking it as a challenge and I’m going to accept the challenge and to improve as a player.’’
Along with defense, Stoudemire is going to have to learn how to co-exist with Anthony. They struggled last year and it lead to an early first round exit in the playoffs.
“I saw flashes of it last year when they played together,” head coach Mike Woodson said. “They’re going to be fine together. I know you guys are always debating, ‘Can they play together?” But they both are pro players and All-Star guys that have played a bunch of minutes and have played at a high level together. They’ll figure it out.”