Now that the winning streak is over for the New York Knicks, there are only two goals remaining for the rest of the regular season- capture the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference and get all of their big bodies healthy.
Currently, the Knicks are without Amar’e Stoudemire, Rasheed Wallace, Tyson Chandler, Kurt Thomas, Marcus Camby and Kenyon Martin, who are all out with different injuries. Thomas is expected to be officially released to make room for James Singleton, but the main question to ask as the Knicks head to the playoffs is where does Stoudemire fit in Mike Woodson’s rotation if the Knicks are completely healthy for the playoffs?
The unfortunate answer to that question is he doesn’t fit at all.
The most important thing is the fact that the Knicks have been winning, something they don’t do a lot of when Stoudemire is in the lineup with Carmelo Anthony and Chandler.
You can’t blame all of that on STAT, but the numbers speak for themselves.
With Stoudemire on the floor the past two seasons, the Knicks are only a 37-40 team, which includes going only 16-12 this season, which isn’t exactly a sign of dominance. Without him you ask? The Knicks have gone 50-17.
With the goal here winning a championship, that’s something that can’t be ignored.
Then there is the fact that the Knicks have become a much better defensive team without him in the lineup. During their winning streak they have allowed only 92.7 points per game, which is down from the 95.9 allowed on the season. With Stoudemire in the lineup, the Knicks have allowed 99.7. Also keep in mind that a majority of the Knicks winning streak came without Chandler and Martin in the lineup together, so just imagine how much better the Knicks defense would have been.
If the Knicks win in the playoffs it will be because they are great defensively and Stoudemire doesn’t help them there.
The time came long ago that this has become Carmelo Anthony’s team and with the likes of Anthony, J.R. Smith and others, the Knicks will have enough scoring to win in the postseason.
Kenyon Martin has to be the first big man off the bench in the playoffs and Anthony has to remain at the 4, where he torches the opposition. That alone limits where Stoudemire can be used.
Then consider the fact that Wallace could be back soon and Camby could be used a little more. Woodson will play those two veterans a little in the playoffs simply because they are solid defensively.
Finally, if more offense is needed off the bench, a guy like Chris Copeland has earned postseason minutes with his play down the stretch.
Add all of that up and Stoudemire unfortunately doesn’t fit into the rotation come playoff time.
It’s sad to say because everyone wants to see him on the floor when healthy.
I could see Woodson giving him maybe 10 minutes per game, but not at the expense of the guys that can get the job done defensively.
Winning is the only thing that matters and unfortunately for STAT, if he is healthy, his role for the rest of the season could be simply as cheerleader.
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