When one door closes, another one opens. Now, Knicks big men, don’t everybody clutch their lower back and slowly lurch towards the door at the same time. This is an opportunity for a player to establish that he’s truly an offensive savant, and as much fun as a Rasheed Wallace revival would be, this is something that has long been in the cards. But before we dive into that, here’s the update on Amare Stoudemire and his troubling knee injury:
New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire will miss at least the first six weeks of the season after re-injuring his surgically repaired left knee, according to league sources.
It is not clear whether Stoudemire will use the extra time off to have a procedure or for rest and rehab.
Stoudemire may be out between 6-8 weeks, according to two of the sources.
It’s a tough break for Stoudemire, who has dealt with knee issues his entire career. With Tyson Chandler already banged up with a bone bruise and the aforementioned advanced age of the Knicks backup big men, this is going to be a challenge. It’s going to require thinking outside of the box a little bit, and it’s going to require a star player making a sacrifice he hasn’t been open to in the past. Even though he says he is now. But maybe not THAT specific sacrifice — just a sacrifice in general. Like maybe he’ll let Marcus Camby use his parking spot, or something.
In case you haven’t caught on, yes, Carmelo Anthony, we’re talking about you here. Despite clutching to his identity as a small forward, Anthony played some of his best basketball at the power forward position last year. According to 82games.com, Anthony posted a ridiculous 29.5 PER at power forward compared to a 17.4 PER at small forward. It was a small sample size, but the lineup data supports the notion as well. New York’s most effective lineup in terms of plus/minus last year (over 50 minutes played) was sans Stoudermire with Anthony at the 4. Simply put, the Knicks were better a team last year when Carmelo Anthony played power forward.
And you know what? That all makes sense. Anthony is an incredibly strong player that can really bully his way to the rim and finish. He can score out of the post. He can draw fouls and create contact. When Anthony starts his attack from 17-feet, it’s all gravy. But when he catches on the perimeter in an isolation setting, the chances of a long, contested jumper increase to uncomfortable levels.
Considering the roster composition of the Knicks and the extended absence of Stoudemire, it’s time for Anthony to bang down low with the big boys. With no other post scorer on the roster, Anthony needs to get down on the block and get his team some easy buckets. It’s not always going to look good, and it’s not always going to feel good, but these are the types of sacrifices required when injuries hit. Magic Johnson started an NBA Finals game at center, for goodness sake — surely Melo can play power forward for a few weeks.
And don’t worry, Carmelo. I’m sure J.R. Smith will keep your “questionable shot selection” seat plenty warm in the meantime. For now though, it’s time to answer the call.