Harris DeckerIt’s hard to believe that this is where the Knicks are in the season. Sitting at 5-15 after another brutal loss last night to the Cavaliers, things seem to be spiraling out of control. The time has come to turn to the man who was once credited with saving the franchise. When no superstar would consider the toxic environment in New York, he came. Now, the time has come to unleash Amar’e Stoudemire.
This season, Stoudemire has averaged 15.3 minutes per game and in that time, he’s been more than productive. He’s averaging 6.2 points, shooting above 50% and isn’t disappearing on the defensive side of the ball the way he has in years past. What the Knicks need is more Stoudemire.
Last season, in 29 games, he averaged 23.5 minutes and in the seasons prior to that he was always above 30 per game. Now that it appears he is healthy, it’s time to let the guy play. Sure it could mean that he’ll break down at the end of the season, but at this point, there might not be anything to play for.
I’d go as far as to start Stoudemire. It will give the team a little bit of a spark, and doing this against the Bulls, at Madison Square Garden tonight, could be just what the doctor ordered. He’d have to come out early, probably playing about 25 minutes, but his attitude and aggressiveness has been clear as day and is desperately needed from the opening tip. He’s playing with a vigor and fight that Knicks fans remember only as a distant memory.
Against the Cavaliers on Tuesday night, Amar’e put up 15 points on 7 for 10 in 27 minutes. If Mike Woodson can start to lean on his production at that pace, it could be a big help for the rest of the team. Especially if he gets inside and finishes the way he has been. It will open things up on the outside and keep things moving in an offense that tends to get stagnant.
The other thing Stoudemire can bring to the table is leadership. While we get on Carmelo Anthony for not making the team around him better, he’s doing everything he can to lead by example. Stoudemire can do the same. He’s a competitor through and through and if he can take a little pressure off Anthony, it would be another boost to the struggling team.
Stoudemire has looked great. Now I’m asking for a little bit more. Let’s get him the ball. Let’s put him out there for 25 minutes a night and while we’re at it, why not give him the start at the Garden tonight!