The New York Knicks have gone through a major revamping process since the last game of their dismal 2013-14 season. Phil Jackson took office as the franchise’s basketball president, Derek Fisher was hired as head coach fresh out of his playing days in Oklahoma and a lot of roster changes have happened. Besides, the Knicks did all they could to hold on to their franchise player Carmelo Anthony and succeeded, but in the end a few pieces from last season’s roster are still around and the coaching staff will need to figure out how to best utilize them in order to propel the team into championship contention.
This brings us to the roster battles going into training camp.
The Knicks currently have five centers on the roster – Andrea Bargnani, Jason Smith, Samuel Dalembert, Cole Aldrich and Amar’e Stoudemire. Looking at the possibilities, I think Stoudemire must be the go-to guy for the franchise who will certainly run the triangle offense as their main basketball system.
If you look at the four other competitors for the starting gig, you can see two different groups: Bargnani and Smith stretch the floor with perimeter shooting but lack defensive efficiency and consistent post play. Dalembert and Aldrich are great rim protectors and efficient scorers in the paint but cannot shoot from distance.
Stoudemire might not be the best in the league in any of those categories, but he can indeed do it all.
At the age of 31 he is still a solid force in the paint. Playing as center in the small ball lineup last season, he was able to protect the rim pretty efficiently and post up taller opponents on the other half of the court making use of his strong upper body. After suffering a lot of injuries to his knees, he managed to get healthy again and showed he was still able to dunk and finish up post plays with authority. When the match up was too hard, though, Stoudemire was able to step back and gracefully hit jump shots from the elbow in a consistent basis.
So if you take into account the competition he is going to have within the roster, Stoudemire has a solid advantage considering he is the most versatile of them all. The only thing that might set him back is his passing skills, something very important in the triangle offense, which often uses the high post player as a distributor to find the open man. Last season Stoudemire was feeling so confident that at times he missed the point of playing team ball and just decided to finish the play by himself and often times ended up making bad shot selections. But if his basketball IQ increases along with his age, I see Stoudemire thriving under the triangle offense and giving the Knicks a great performance in the last year of his contract.
As for his future, he’d better perform well if he wants to continue playing in the NBA – his time with the Knicks will be over come summer of 2015 when his mammoth of a contract comes off the books to open cap space for the 2015 free agency class.