The New York Knicks‘ best two reserve big men are older players who have piled up medical bills over the years with a multitude of injury problems, including various knee-related issues. Mike Woodson has stated previously that he anticipates both players being on a strict minutes limit this season to preserve them for the playoffs. Kenyon Martin did a phenomenal job of filling in for Tyson Chandler last year at center when he was hurt, but Woodson feels like the heavy minutes load left him burnt out by the end of the season, and Martin got held all but the team’s final preseason game in which he played nine minutes.
Amar’e Stoudemire is still working his way back into shape after recovering from yet another knee injury and he played just 29 games last season, coming off the bench in every single one. Last season, he found himself on the court for 23 minutes a night in those contests, but Woodson will be looking to keep his minutes lower this year, possibly starting out playing just 10 minutes a night.
When your two best backup bigs are facing minutes restrictions and have old, creaky knees, how do you solve the issue? Well, Woodson seems to have an idea. It looks like he’ll be having STAT and K-Mart alternate when the Knicks play back-to-backs this year, a creative solution that partially addresses both the Knicks’ logjam at power forward and the need to preserve two of their most important veteran players. The biggest challenge will be getting it to work out in terms of chemistry, as the Knicks’ bench unit will look very different from one game to the next, with an offense-oriented big man being swapped out for a defensive-minded big on the very next night.