Many have speculated exactly what Amar’e Stoudemire’s role would be when he returns from injury. Those same people are already prepared to make Stoudemire a scapegoat if the Knicks falter when he comes back.
However, whether he’s been listening to public opinion or not, Stoudemire at least says he’s willing to accept a bench role.
“All he cares about right now is helping the team and winning,” said one source (via ESPN’s Ian Begley), who has been around Stoudemire regularly in recent weeks. “He’d be fine with coming off the bench if that’s what they want.”
Stoudemire hasn’t spoken with reporters since suffering a left knee injury in the preseason. He’s been rehabilitating his knee following arthroscopic surgery for the past four weeks and is expected to miss at least another two weeks.
However that news shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Stoudemire is a good guy and probably the last player that would be disruptive in the locker room. STAT wants to win and he has seen the success that the team has had without him. If that means coming off the bench, for the team to have success, that’s what he is going to do.
But sitting back and watching the team have success without him, what else could he really say?
Of course that doesn’t mean that head coach Mike Woodson will use Stoudemire off the bench upon his return, but at least Stoudemire is willing to sacrifice for the good of team success.
Woodson has repeatedly said that players don’t lose jobs because of injury, but at the same time has refused to comment on Stoudemire’s future role.
Stoudemire also has heard all of the concerns about him effecting chemistry. He also knows the Knicks are an under .500 team with both he and Carmelo Anthony in the starting lineup together. He also knows that Tyson Chandler is the primary screener in the pick-and-roles. With that being considered, starting him means clogging up space, something this Knicks’ offense is not based on.
It would also mean taking Jason Kidd out of the starting lineup, something hopefully Woodson will be hesitant to do.
Make no mistake about it; the Knicks need Stoudemire’s production.
Even if he throws up numbers like he did last season- 18 points and eight rebounds per game (low for his standards)- that is production this team desperately needs to contend.
However he can still put those numbers coming off the bench.
Step one was getting Stoudemire to accept that role, something it looks like he has. Truthfully no one should have been worried about that. STAT always has been and always will be a team guy.
Step two is up to Woodson.
The good news is that he has some time still to figure things out.
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