Unless the Boston Celtics do the unthinkable, the New York Knicks are all but assured a second-round series date against the Indiana Pacers or Atlanta Hawks. Who might the blue and orange have at its disposal when it advances to the second round? None other than Amar’e Stoudemire, according to a report from Newsday. If Stoudemire is ready to play, he will “absolutely” play, according to Knicks Head Coach Mike Woodson. The inclusion of the 6-11, 245-pound power forward in the rotation presents an interesting conundrum for a team that has excelled without him. Since Stoudemire left the lineup in early March, the Knicks have gone 20-7, a record that includes the team’s playoff series against the Celtics.
The Knicks will still need Stoudemire as it faces its next playoff opponent, which will either be the Pacers or Hawks. Either team presents a vertical mismatch against the relatively smallish Knicks, which has started front line of 6-5 small forward Iman Shumpert, 6-8 power forward Carmelo Anthony and 7-1 center Tyson Chandler. No question, the team is vastly undersized compared to the behemoth front lines of Atlanta and Indiana.
Lately, the Hawks have gone with a front line of small forward Josh Smith (6-9), power forward Al Horford (6-10) and center Johan Petro (7-0). The Pacers are similarly constructed size-wise with center Roy Hibbert (7-2), power forward David West (6-9) and small forward Paul George (6-8). It’s worth noting that West is a fireplug at his height, outweighing Anthony by about 20 pounds.
If Stoudemire returns, he would bring much needed size and offensive skill to a roster that does not feature a player with his dimensional attributes. While he is not expected to start, he could still be a vital contributor off the bench.
Stoudemire underwent a surgical procedure on his right knee to remove dead or damaged tissue or bone. He had the same procedure performed on his left knee before last year’s start of the regular season. When Stoudemire had the procedure on March 11, the original prognosis was six weeks. Yesterday marked the seventh week since the power forward had the surgery.
Tacuma R. Roeback is a New York Knicks writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TacumaRoe, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+