The Knicks are off to an impressive 8-2 start, their offense is clicking at the highest level in the league (111.7 points per 100 possessions), yet there is a big question looming over New York’s season — can Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire play well together?
Stoudemire has been out all season following knee surgery, but he is coming back next month. The Knicks offense is on fire with ‘Melo playing the four but when Stoudemire comes back and moves him to the three spot, will it work? The number certainly say it hasn’t yet — the Knicks were considerably worse on offense last season when Anthony, Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler were on the court together.
Coach Mike Woodson isn’t worried — he notes that combo was 8-2 under him last season.
And Jeremy Lin agrees with him that it can work, tweets Marc Berman of the New York Post (via Sulia).
“I honestly I think it can work because they’re so talented. It’s their approach to the game and they’re both really ready to buy in and do whatever it takes to throw all that other stuff out the window. You guys got to give them time.”
Call me Missouri, but the Knicks are going to have to show me this can work over time. Not saying it can’t, saying it really hasn’t over a stretch of time. The numbers were ugly. And I’m one of those crazy people who thinks past performance can be indicative of future results.
But this has seemed a different ‘Melo this year, a guy who left is Olympic experience with Kobe and LeBron with a seeming different team attitude. Maybe Stoudemire would agree to coming off the bench. Maybe a lot of things.
The Knicks are just going to have to show me, and all of us.
Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.
The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.
Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:
Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.
Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.
Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.
It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:
it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.
That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.
Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.
Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.
I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.
This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.