With the 2013 NBA playoffs now in full swing, Amar’e Stoudemire is still missing from the New York Knicks rotation.
However it may not be for long.
The question has never been if Stoudemire will return for the postseason, but what role STAT would have when he does return?
Like so many times during the past couple of seasons, the Knicks are having success without Stoudemire on the floor. But don’t worry, Knicks head coach Mike Woodson has reassured that STAT would be a big part of the Knicks rotation when he does return to action, which is a big change from when Woodson said a couple of weeks ago that he would try and give STAT 10 or so minutes per game when healthy.
“If he’s able to make it back he will be back in the rotation, ready to play,” Woodson said on a conference call with reporters (per ESPN’s Ian Begley). “I’m expecting him to do what he was doing before he left because he played some pretty good, positive minutes for our ball club before he got hurt.”
It’s unclear how Stoudemire’s potential return would impact Kenyon Martin, as K-Mart has been providing some very productive minutes off the bench since being signed.
But Stoudemire’s return is very bad news for Chris Copeland, who is likely to completely fall out of Woodson’s rotation.
Stoudemire’s return likely won’t happen until the second round of the playoffs as Woodson has all but ruled him out of the Celtics series, but you never know.
He had knee surgery on March 7 and the original timetable called for Stoudemire to miss four to six weeks, which has now passed.
The Knicks have thrived with Stoudemire out, finishing the regular season 17-6 in their last 23 games and winning the Atlantic Division title for the first time in 19 years, plus winning Sunday’s Game 1 vs. the Celtics. There is a concern among some that Stoudemire’s return could impact the team’s chemistry, so it will be very interesting to see where exactly he fits in.
However before the injury Stoudemire was playing very well. In 29 games, Stoudemire averaged 14.2 points and five rebounds in 23.5 minutes per game, making 57 percent of his field goal attempts.
The main concern with Stoudemire is rust as it took him some time to really get back into the swing of things as his timing was way off at both ends of the floor.
In a playoff series, it is debatable whether or not the Knicks can afford to run him out there if he is rusty.
But hopefully that rust wears off very quickly as it is apparent that Stoudemire will get the opportunity to play a major role in what hopefully is a lengthy Knicks playoff run.
When that will be is still the remaining question left to be answered.
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