Many Knicks fans thought Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire would lead New York to greatness.
Instead, they won just one playoff series together.
Melo has expressed sadness Stoudemire’s injuries hindered their ability to succeed together.
Stoudemire found a different culprit.
Stoudemire said he and Anthony wanted to run more pick-and-rolls in the two-man game but couldn’t get the coaches on board, probably referring to Mike D’Antoni and Mike Woodson.
“I don’t think we had enough opportunities to play together,’’ Stoudemire said in the Heat locker room Monday. “I moved to the bench and [became the] sixth, seventh man. When I was in the game, Melo, he was out of the game and vice versa. When we did play together, we showed some flashes of what we could do on the pick-and-roll.
“I don’t think that pick-and-roll offense between Melo and I was ever taken advantage of, which we could have. The way he shoots the ball, handles the ball from the outside and the way I attack the rim, it could’ve been a pretty good combination. I don’t think the coaching staff at the time really bought into that.’’
Maybe the Knicks’ offense could have been better if they ran more Melo-Stoudemire pick-and-rolls. The combination seems good, though I question whether Melo had the passing ability to really make the play an elite weapon.
But what about defense?
Melo and Stoudemire were a dreadful defensive combination, especially as power forward and center – their best offensive positions. Does Stoudemire have any ideas how New York could have defended better with those two on the court? Perhaps, the Knicks could have scored enough on Melo-Stoudemire pick-and-rolls to offset any defensive shortcomings, but that would have been a mighty tall task.
In four of the five seasons Melo and Stoudemire played together, the Knicks were both outscored when those two shared the court and played worse with those two on than off. The only exception was last season, which featured the smallest sample before Melo got hurt and Stoudemire took a buyout.
This was a partnership that looked better on paper than in reality.
Stoudemire’s injuries played the foremost role in holding it back. Coaching might have also contributed, but it’s difficult to believe D’Antoni or Woodson prevented the pairing from becoming special.