Once upon a time, in 2011, the New York Knicks gutted their roster to bring in Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets to join Amar’e Stoudemire. The following season, the Knicks signed Tyson Chandler away from the Dallas Mavericks to form an imposing Big Three that could compete with the Miami Heat.
Almost three years later, the Knicks’ Big Three is laughable compared to other trios in the NBA, but they haven’t been given much of a chance lately.
The Knicks are on the outside looking in at a playoff spot this season. If they make the playoffs, they won’t get very far. So with that in mind, the Knicks need to do everything they can to position themselves for a successful offseason this summer. Increasing the value of a player such as Stoudemire, who was the first of the big three to join the Knicks, is essential for their future.
The Knicks should run out a lineup of Raymond Felton at point, Tim Hardaway Jr. at shooting guard, Anthony at small forward, Stoudemire at power forward and Chandler at center. This is what the Knicks envisioned (not necessarily Hardaway Jr. or Felton) when they got the trio to come to New York, but after it failed to work the first few times, they gave up. It’s time to give it another chance.
With that starting lineup, the Knicks could run a bench lineup of Pablo Prigioni as the main ball handler, J.R. Smith as the go-to scorer, Metta World Peace and Iman Shumpert for defense on the wings, and either Andrea Bargnani, Kenyon Martin or Jeremy Tyler down low depending on availability and matchups.
What’s the worse that could happen? The Knicks miss the playoffs? Well, that looks likely already. The best that can happen is that they find some success with it, make the playoffs, and Stoudemire looks more like the 2010 Stoudemire who had the MSG crowd going wild.
Heading into the final year of his contract, coupled with performing at a high level again, Stoudemire might be able to yield a first-round draft pick that the Knicks desperately need if they choose to trade him. But none of that can happen unless the Knicks shuffle their lineup to reflect their original plan.