The New York Knicks looked practically unstoppable through the first six games of the NBA season. They played great offense and defense. Multiple players contributed. They defeated some pretty good teams. The Knicks were rolling, and there was no reason to change things up.
I kept wondering what would happen when Amar’e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert returned from their injuries. I was afraid that they would upset the balance and ruin the chemistry. The Knicks didn’t need them, or so I thought.
Since their hot start, the Knicks have won just three out of seven games. Their offense has struggled at times. Their defense has been horrible in spots. The bench has been mortal. Now I am convinced that the Knicks do need Stoudemire and Shumpert. They need them now.
I would much rather have a healthy Stoudemire trying to mesh with Carmelo Anthony than an injured Stoudemire contributing nothing from the sidelines. The fact is that Stoudemire can put up 20 points and nine rebounds every night, and the Knicks could really use that right now. Imagine Stoudemire coming off the bench and picking up where Anthony left off. Imagine Stoudemire in this Knicks offense, with Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd setting him up. Imagine Stoudemire and Anthony finally gelling. But none of this becomes a reality with Stoudemire out.
Shumpert will be out longer, but the Knicks need him too. When healthy, Shumpert is the Knicks’ best on-the-ball defender. They definitely could have used him on Deron Williams last night. And the Knicks, the oldest team in the NBA, could also use Shumpert’s youth and energy.
Even though the Knicks are off to a fast start, some pieces are clearly missing. Stoudemire and Shumpert can fill those voids. When they return, they will solidify the Knicks as one of the top teams in the NBA.
Edwin Torres was born in New York City. He has been a Knicks fan since the early 1980s. He has visited Madison Square Garden on many occasions to watch the Knicks and his favorite player, Patrick Ewing. For more articles, follow him on Twitter @FlipPoker.
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