(Big C) When Amar’e Stoudemire first came back the public was told that he would work his way back into getting minutes and into the starting lineup. Here we are two months later and it looks like Coach Mike Woodson still has not found a role for Amar’e that he’s comfortable with.
Amar’e Stoudemire’s minutes have not increased even though he has been playing solid basketball and showing signs of the player we remember him to be. He has been shooting 58% in recent games and yet he has not been able to play more than 29 minutes nor has he been able to get solid minutes with the starting lineup. As a matter of fact Amar’e ‘s playing time has been somewhere around the low 20’s.
With Amar’e Stoudemire looking like he is in shape and ready to play one may ask, “Why hasn’t Amar’e gotten a bigger role on the Knicks?” Going into the season Amar’e was suppose to be the 2nd go-to-guy behind Carmelo Anthony. That has not been the case. The Knicks team has gone from Amar’e and Melo’s team to Amar’e becoming the 4th scoring option and bench player. Imam Shumpert was immediately put into the starting lineup after being out for months. Amar’e on the other hand has yet to make the starting lineup since his return. We’ve even seen James White inserted into the Knicks starting lineup before Stoudemire.
Here are a few reasons I can think of to explain why Woodson has elected not to play Amar’e in the starting lineup or at the end of games:
He is saving Amar’e Stoudemire for the playoffs. For 2 years in a row Amar’e has been injured in the playoffs when the Knicks really needed him.
2. Amar’e’s poor help and pick and roll defense has forced Woodson to go with players that can guard their man and provide good help defense. We all know that Woodson would rather play a defensive player over someone who is not good at defense. (just ask Copeland).
I get it. Woodson may have some legitimate reasons not to start Amar’e, give him more minutes, or let him finish out games. However, at some point Woodson has to notice teams have adapted to the Knicks and know how to stop them. It is time for the Knicks to make adjustments.
Solution: Start Amar’e.
The Knicks have to have another scorer in the starting lineup to help Carmelo Anthony. Amar’e, like it or not, is the second best scorer on the team. There have been too many games where the Knicks have slow starts because of their lack of offense. With a starting lineup of Chandler, Carmelo, White, Shumpart, and Felton the Knicks only have 1 player aside from Melo who can score (and that would be Felton). Think about it. Who makes a starting lineup with players who can’t score? This just allows teams to clog up the middle or double Anthony.
With Amar’e starting, teams will have to respect his offense game and this will open up plays for the Knicks. Amar’e should also close out games and get more minutes with Melo, Chandler, Felton, and Smith. The Knicks cannot afford to try and build chemistry when they get to the playoffs. Chemistry has to start now.
Overall, if Mike Woodson doesn’t trust Amar’e in the starting lineup or to close out games what does he trust Amar’e to do?