Will Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire be able to play efficiently on the court together night in and night out?
That is the question we have heard for two years already, and don’t be surprised if it’s the headline for the upcoming season as well. Chemistry has been the big question mark when it comes to predicting how far this Knicks team can go. A lot of knowledgeable sport’s minds believe that Carmelo is a ball-stopper and that Amar’e needs to play in a purely pick-and-roll style offense, and that they will never be able to get in sync on the basketball court.
The pre-training camp that began last week will be the key to that chemistry building and for the team to blossom into a top contender. ‘Melo and STAT were two of many Knicks’ players at the practice facility beginning their season training earlier than usual.
There are a total of eight new players with guaranteed contracts that will be on the team this season. The point guards need to learn where the stars want the ball. The shooters need to regain their touch. The big men need to regain their timing. There is a lot to do in order to be prepared for a season, let alone a season where the expectations are anything but small.
The Heat did not win a championship in their first season, and many blamed it on the lack of a real game plan between D-Wade and Lebron. They would go up the court and just go back and forth on who would be the leader. This past season they came out with a new strategy and a revamped offensive tempo that led to a championship.
This will be the first full training camp for Carmelo and Amar’e to perfect their roles, and to turn into the dynamic 1-2 punch most expected to see shortly after the trade. The impact of those two players working together seamlessly is huge. It allows Coach Woodson to focus on defense, it allows the other players to get more comfortable in their own roles, and most importantly it will maximize Carmelo Anthony’s efficiency as the star player of this team.
The pre-training camp is the start of this process. It shows the maturity of the players matches the philosophy that the Front Office launched this off-season: win or bust. Growing pains are no longer an option. The players realize that they need to have everything worked out quickly, so when the season starts it is all about beating their top competitors.
The team’s offense sometime struggled last season from lack of movement and stagnation. The ball needs to be moved around the court or if it is in Carmelo’s hands then the players are the ones who should be moving. Standing around and watching one of the most dynamic scorers in basketball work his butt off in order to get a half-way decent shot is not working.
The official training camp begins on October 2nd, and by the end of it Mike Woodson should make sure everyone knows their role and place on this team. Steve Novak should know it is his responsibility two make his open shots, Tyson Chandler should know that he is protecting the rim, Amar’e should know that glass can cut your hand open, and ‘Melo should see more clearly than ever that if he wants to be a champion then it is time to elevate his game and put the team on his back.