The New York Knicks have struggled to score the ball all season long. Now with a 6-16 record after tonight’s loss to the Boston Celtics, the Knicks’ offense continues to look stagnant, except when Amar’e Stoudemire gets involved in the offense.
Stoudemire, who is only averaging 7.3 points and 3.4 rebounds, has had his playing time limited early on this season. However, with the Knicks’ record getting progressively worse, coach Mike Woodson has turned to Stoudemire to spark the Knicks’ offense.
The former Rookie of the Year and seven time All-Star Stoudemire has been a dangerous offensive weapon throughout his career. The power forward has career average of 20.9 points per game, but has struggled to stay on the court in recent years due to injuries.
In Stoudemire’s first season with the Knicks, he averaged 25.3 and 8.2 rebounds per game. As the primary focus of the Knicks’ offensive scheme, Stoudemire led a very exciting Knicks team to the playoffs. Times have since changed in New York.
So far in 2013, Stoudemire’s playing time has been scarce and the Knicks’ offense has been lethargic. However, in the last two games, Stoudemire has found himself on the floor quite often. Averaging about 30 minutes of playing time a game the last two games, Stoudemire has shot the ball efficiently and effectively. He was 7-11 with 14 points on Wednesday against the Chicago Bulls, and 7-9 with 18 points tonight.
If the Knicks want to turn this season around, Woodson must get Stoudemire more involved in the offense. Because Stoudemire makes his living off setting screens and cutting toward the basket, he forces the Knicks to move the ball when on the court. When he is invloved in the offense, the Knicks’ guards stay active around the perimeter while the big men set screens. This allows the guards to break down the defense and attack when the opportunity presents itself.
Instead of the one-on-one basketball that New York has played since acquiring Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks need to incorporate more ball movement into the offensive system.
The Knicks are paying Stoudemire big bucks to play in the Big Apple (over $21 mil in 2013/2014). There is no point in keeping the power forward on the bench at this point in the season; the Knicks might as well get the most out of Stoudemire while he is still capable of producing. There is no point in preserving the big man for the playoffs if the team can’t make it to the playoffs in the first place.