Thursday, January 3, 2013
Why Amar'e Stoudemire Coming Off Bench Opens Up Opportunities For Teammates
With the Knicks having lost three out of their last four contests, Coach Mike Woodson may be looking to shake things up a bit. After starting the second half of the Knicks' matchup with the Blazers out strong alongside Tyson Chandler, Marcus Camby started at power forward against the San Antonio Spurs Thursday.
Such an insertion would not have been as easily possibly, should Amar'e Stoudemire not have been back in the Knicks' rotation. In his first game back, Coach Woodson used Stoudemire as his backup center, subbing him in and out often for Tyson Chandler.
If Stoudemire had returned to play last month, the decision to bring him off the bench would have been an absolute no-brainer. With the Knicks gelling so nicely to begin the season, it made no sense to rush the multi-time all-star back. Even so, thrusting him into the starting lineup would have been a risk with regard to the team's chemistry. Adding in such a pivotal presence may have disrupted the flow.
But the fact of the matter is New York has been struggling as of late, and have not played up to the level the basketball world has become accustomed to in the last few weeks. Though Woodson has pointed to his team's recent let down on the defensive side, one cannot be so sure the Knicks can continue to ride or die, simply depending on Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith offensively.
Either way, a change is needed. There's hope that positioning Camby at the four will not only pack a little bit more of a Knickerbocker punch defensively, but also help the Knicks in the sense that things are shaken up a bit. With change being as as necessary as it is, sometimes that can be a good thing.
Whether he would want to or not, it's unlikely to think Stoudemire will be depended on to boost the starting unit for quite some time. Team chemistry aside, while his first appearance had its promising moments, the game also proved it'll be a while before the big man becomes STAT in full force once again.
Two things have now been established: the Knicks need to shake things up, and Stoudemire will be playing off the bench for at least a little while longer.
Of course, Camby will be benefiting from the forward donning orange and blue again if he gets to continue starting games. That said, Camby being a part of the starting five in place of Kurt Thomas isn't too far-fetched.
There's still someone else who could benefit from Stoudemire's return, as he all the while still helps his team.
Though Coach Woodson prefers J.R. Smith propelling the second unit's efforts, it can't be denied that the Knicks struggle to pour in the points without him on the court. The team's offensive output has been lacking to begin ball games, and by the time Smith enters, his squad has already trailed the last couple of contests.
While Raymond Felton continues to sit out this month, Smith should be given the opportunity to help pace New York offensively to kick things off on a nightly basis. The Knicks need that secondary option.
As Stoudemire continues to regain his footing, he'll become that much more explosive as time goes on. Paired up with Pablo Prigioni in the second unit's pick & roll, Stoudemire will soon re-emerge as
the player most people are used to seeing him be. He'll soon be free to truly turn heads as a sixth man if need be.
With the big man in position to do that, there should be less pressure to continue bringing Smith off the bench. It's important to maintain the team's strong efforts throughout a contest, and that's why it's key to have quality players come off the bench. That said, New York needs to be able to at first build something good enough to keep a hold of. Smith's energy is needed when the first jump ball is thrown in order to accomplish both those things.