Coming into this season, the New York Knicks had a losing record with both Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire on the court at the same time.
Both players are isolation-oriented, and the two also seemed to worry more about not upsetting the other than just simply playing the game.
This season, though, the Knicks have benefited from Anthony and Stoudemire’s new-found chemistry. Ever since Stoudemire made his return to the court on January 1st after missing the first 35 games of the season after injuring his knee in the preseason, and has given the Knicks 12.6 PPG and 4.3 RPG.
Stoudemire has scored 15+ points over the course of New York’s last five games, and as he gets his timing back, will prove to be a important piece for a Knicks team that is sitting in the #2 spot in the Eastern Conference.
Anthony has been good for nearly 30 points a night (29.4 PPG, second in the NBA), and has been, arguably, the MVP of the 2012-13 season thus far.
Anthony and Stoudemire never doubted that they could co-exist, and this season they are proving that they can produce on the court at the same time.
One reason for Stoudemire’s immediate impact is because Coach Mike Woodson is bringing him off the bench. Anthony gets into his rhythm early (he leads the league in PPG in the first quarter), and then doesn’t have to worry about force-feeding Stoudemire.
Plus, with Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd on the roster, the ball has moved much more fluently than last season with Jeremy Lin as the main ball handler.
Stoudemire knows his role, too. “It’s ‘Melo’s team,” he said when asked if he was still the central piece of the Knicks.
That comment in itself, along with his acceptance of coming off the bench, proves that Stoudemire is more concerned with winning than with his personal stats.
If Anthony and Stoudemire continue to mesh well on the court, James Dolan will look like a genius. If not, however, and Stoudemire goes back to his “me-first” ways, he could be on the move in the off-season.