Amar’e Stoudemire has been out of the Knicks lineup since undergoing knee surgery in early March.
The timetable for his return was said to be up to eight weeks, and should his rehabilitation continue to progress, we could see him as scheduled, and early as Game 3 of New York’s second round playoff series against the Pacers.
Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said Stoudemire has already been ruled out for the first two games of the series, which begins on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
From Ian Begley of ESPN New York:
Woodson said Stoudemire will scrimmage with his teammates on Thursday. If his knee responds well, he will scrimmage again on Friday.
“If he feels fine after Friday, then I think we will play him Saturday,” Woodson said.
Some have expressed concern over how Stoudemire would fit into the Knicks’ lineup. New York finished the regular season 17-6 with Stoudemire out and won its first-round series against Boston without him.
At this stage of the playoffs, getting healthy bodies back in your rotation is definitely a positive, and team chemistry is never so fragile that a player like Stoudemire can’t be returned somewhat seamlessly if he’s indeed healthy enough to contribute.
Woodson has already said that he wouldn’t hesitate to play Stoudemire as soon as he’s ready. With that time rapidly approaching, Knicks fans are going to have to trust that Woodson knows best, and that he’ll monitor both Stoudemire and his team’s rotations closely upon reinserting him back into the postseason lineup.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.