The Knicks sit at the top of the Eastern Conference standings with a mark of 18-6, and have been every bit as formidable as their record would suggest.
If there’s a problem in New York, besides the question of whether or not the team’s torrid three-point shooting is sustainable, it’s that the early-season success has come with Amar’e Stoudemire out of the lineup for every one of those 24 games.
Normally, getting a player of Stoudemire’s caliber back in the lineup would only be a positive. But history has shown that the Knicks struggle when both he and Carmelo Anthony are on the floor at the same time.
Stoudemire isn’t worried about it, though, and believes he can make it work playing alongside Anthony once he returns to action.
“Without a doubt. I have no doubt in my mind about that,” Stoudemire said when asked about things working out with he and Anthony on the court.
New York is 30-33 in regular season games started by both Stoudemire and Anthony. Both players like to operate between the mid post and elbow and Stoudemire thrives in an up-tempo system while Anthony excels in isolation.
“Our team was pretty good last season and we’ve been pretty good this season, so I don’t see Amar’e being a problem and disrupting what we do,” Woodson said. “It just makes us a deeper team. That’s kind of how I look at it.”
Personnel around the two has changed a bit since they last shared the basketball court, and with head coach Mike Woodson firmly in place since training camp and his system similarly in place, he’s feeling more confident about his chances of making it work, as well.
One way to do that is by bringing Stoudemire off the bench, thus limiting the minutes he and Anthony would be playing at the same time. Woodson says he hasn’t yet decided if that’s the way he’ll go, while Stoudemire has said he’d be willing to fill that role if that is in fact what’s decided.
Questions will likely persist on the topic until we see a decent sampling of Anthony and Stoudemire playing together this season. And, they’ll only stop if the Knicks continue to win once Stoudemire is back.