The Knicks are a mess right now, and after dropping their fifth straight home game on Saturday to fall to just 3-6 on the season, the frustration is becoming public from nearly every corner of the locker room.
Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, and Mike Woodson have all expressed concern over the team’s apparent lack of effort, and Amar’e Stoudemire is the latest to chime in, although his remarks pertain more to his personal situation.
Coming off of knee surgery, Stoudemire has been on a minutes restriction that’s limited his ability to be effective in his short stints on the floor. And it appears he isn’t happy about it.
“It’s making me look like my game is gone or that I don’t have game anymore because when you play five minutes, it’s just tough to really get in a rhythm,” Stoudemire said before Saturday night’s 110-90 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
In an effort to protect his oft-injured knees, the Knicks have placed Stoudemire on a limit of 10 minutes per game. He has been playing two five-minute intervals.
“It’s tough to play five minutes and expect to be great in five minutes. It’s almost impossible,” he said. “By the time you get up and down and get adjusted to the speed of the game, it’s already three minutes, and then in two minutes you’re out of there. And if you miss a shot, it feels [like] the world is collapsing on you because you’re expected to do so much and somewhat win the game in five minutes and it’s tough. It’s hard to deal with.”
Stoudemire suggested a time management program similar to that of the Spurs’ Tim Duncan, where he’d play 20-25 minutes in consecutive games and then sit out the third in four nights.
Knicks head coach Mike Woodson seemed to be open to considering it, but Stoudemire’s chronic knee issues are a legitimate concern. It’s understandable, then, that the Knicks want to be careful with one of the few big men on the roster, despite the slow start to the season and the chance (however slim) that Stoudemire may be able to contribute if given those extra minutes.