Friday, January 25, 2013

What it comes down to for the Knicks this season

I have a longer post on the Knick's 2013 season I'm writing but I just want to say this (and since one New Year's resolution was to write a blog post ever day:)

Watching the way Amar'e Stoudemire moved on the court last night against the Celtics, compared to say Brandon Bass, just reinforced something a lot of Knick fans including myself might have forgotten because of all the setbacks he's had the past two years.

Amar'e Stoudemire is a All-Star calibre NBA big man. He is older and banged up but he is still explosive and almost guaranteed to score close to the rim even moreso than Tyson Chandler  There are very few players in the NBA who have the size and speed and moves and timing and footwork and finishing of Amar'e Stoudemire. Any hope the Knicks have of winning a championship this season rests on Mike Woodson figuring how to get Stoudemire and Anthony playing at their full All-Star potential together and complementing each other.

It is not an easy task but that is what it comes down to. Phil Jackson says it can't be done. Tyson Chandler is, somewhat ironically, an official All-Star this season. If Stoudemire starts and plays starter minutes the Knicks have arguably the best front-court in the league and a bunch of players who can score from the wings. This team has what it takes to win it all but it all comes down to their All-Star front-court thriving together.

Anthony has thrived offensively at the power forward slot but the Knicks get hammered defensively by bigger frontlines and rebounding has been a problem for them all season regardless of who they play. Obviously Anthony will and should play at the 4 for certain stretches of any game but Stoudemire and Anthony need to play together for the majority of the game. The team needs them on the floor together as much as Lebron and Wade or Durant and Westbrook lead their team on the floor together. The Knicks started the season very well but it's clear by now teams have figured them out and when Anthony gets smothered or their 3-pt shooting is off they will lose. The return of Shumpert should give them a huge boost on the defensive perimeter which is the only weakness on an otherwise excellent defensive team. But to me Stoudemire is the key this season and the difference between a 2nd-round exit and a NBA finals win for the Knicks.

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