The news of New York Knicks’ forward Amar’e Stoudemire and his injured knee really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Stoudemire’s broken down body will certainly be out of the lineup for a stretch or two this season.
But the question remains of what exactly head coach Mike Woodson’s plan will be when STAT is sitting on the bench in street clothes.
The Knicks will only have to play a handful of games at the beginning of the season without their $100 million man, but they will have to adjust nonetheless.
There are several options Woodson can turn to, but none of them may be ready to go by opening night.
Woodson could look to go big and capitalize on the defensive end of the floor by pairing Marcus Camby with Tyson Chandler, but Camby and his injured calf likely won’t be ready when the Knicks open up the Barclays Center against the cross town rival Brooklyn Nets.
The same can be said for Rasheed Wallace, who likely will be second on the depth chart behind Stoudemire if he can get in shape sometime before the playoffs start.
With those two likely not available, Woodson will likely turn to 40-year old Kurt Thomas as the starter on opening night, but Thomas won’t play a lot of minutes.
What that means is a lot of mixing and matching as Woodson could make Chris Copeland and Steve Novak major parts of the rotation.
It also means Carmelo Anthony should see a lot of minutes at the 4 early in the season, which is probably a good thing.
Copeland, Ronnie Brewer and Novak can all play the 3, which looks like good depth provided that J.R. Smith is healthy when the season begins. If he’s not, Brewer will have to log major minutes at the 2, likely with Jason Kidd shifting over to the 2 as well. If that has to happen, ‘Melo will more than likely have to stay at the 3 more often than not.
However Woodson should do whatever it takes to get Anthony as much minutes at the 4 as possible, a position he can go to work from.
But while everyone thought a full training camp under Woodson would help the Knicks tremendously, just the opposite has been true. Due to the rampant amount of injuries, there has been no built up chemistry so far. There’s been very little ball movement and the Knicks have been too reliant on the three-point shot, something they have shown that they can’t knock down consistently.
If that’s the way they are going to play, it is even more important to the team that Anthony log some time at the 4, a position where he had his greatest success a season ago.
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