Amar’e Stoudemire is eying a return in the second round of the NBA playoffs after undergoing knee surgery on March 11, which is looking more and more likely as his New York Knicks continue to play well against the Boston Celtics in the first round.
There is this belief that Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony can’t coexist, but it’s time for the team, and everyone else, to get over that.
Anthony is the NBA’s scoring leader, the face of the franchise, and the best Knick since Patrick Ewing. Stoudemire has become a rotation bench player. The notion that Stoudemire will hurt the Knicks, and Anthony’s production, in his return is outrageous.
“If he’s able to make it back, he will be back in the rotation, ready to play,” Coach Mike Woodson said on Stoudemire. “I’m expecting him to do what he was doing before he left because he played some pretty good, positive minutes for our ball club before he got hurt.”
New York’s frontcourt has been nearly decimated with injuries- Kurt Thomas, Rasheed Wallace, and Marcus Camby are all out, and Tyson Chandler is struggling with a neck/conditioning issue, leaving Kenyon Martin as the lone big-man.
Stoudemire was giving the Knicks 14.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per night after returning on January 1st, but then hurt his knee on March 7th and has been out since. The team can’t rely on the 35 year-old Martin to be Shaquille O’Neal for the duration of the postseason, and Stoudemire, if nothing else, is a big body on a team that desperately needs interior production.
“[A healthy Stoudemire] just adds one more good piece, great piece, to the puzzle back out on the floor as we continue this journey,” Woodson added.