The New York Knicks have had their fair share of struggles in the past few weeks, going just 5-6 in their last 11 games. They have dropped to the three-seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference recently and haven’t exactly looked promising in the wins that they have gotten. Looking at their game on Saturday night against the Utah Jazz, it seems like the Knicks might be in danger of dropping even further in the standings.
Carmelo Anthony has missed the last two games for New York with soreness in his knee and is listed as a game-time decision for Saturday. Joining him on the list of game-time decisions, though, is Amar’e Stoudemire, who has been the key for the Knicks in Melo’s absence. Stoudemire is experiencing pain in both of his surgically repaired knees.
If both Anthony and Stoudemire miss Saturday’s game against the Jazz, the Knicks are probably going to be up against the odds. Combined, Anthony and Stoudemire combine for 42.4 points and 11.2 rebounds per game and have the two highest Player Efficiency Ratings on the Knicks.
Moreover, their replacements are going to be the seldom used Chris Copeland and Marcus Camby, as well as the newly acquired Kenyon Martin. None of those three are even comparable to either Anthony or Stoudemire.
Possibly even more disconcerting than the replacements of Melo and Amar’e is that the scoring load would likely fall into the hands of J.R. Smith without those two playing. Though Smith has the ability to score, he’s also wildly inefficient, shooting just 40 percent from the field and 34.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Giving a trigger-happy player like Smith free reign of an offense and the responsibility to score a lot is similar to putting a toddler in the driver’s seat of a running car — you don’t know what exactly is going to happen, but it’s probably not going to be good.
As the Knicks are jostling for playoff positioning, this is possibly the worst time for them to be without their stars.
Sure, it would be better to rest Stoudemire and Anthony now than have them be hurt for the post-season, but they won’t be in the playoffs for very long if they continue slipping and playing like they have been.