Why Amare Stoudemire's Knee Injury Is Blessing in Disguise for NY Knicks

Ethan Sherwood StraussNBA Lead WriterOctober 22, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 06:  (L-R) Amare Stoudemire #1, Carmelo Anthony #7 and Mike Bibby #20 of the New York Knicks talk on court in the second half against the Miami Heat in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 6, 2012 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The Knicks are stuck with Amare Stoudemire, but this does not mean that the Knicks are necessarily stuck with Amare Stoudemire.

Let me explain. New York cannot move its $100 million power forward, but it's always allowed to cut its losses and play him less. 

Amare's recent knee injury (via The Wall Street Journal) just might give New York the political capital to do so. Last season, after Linsanity, Carmelo Anthony demonstrated that he's been a miscast power forward for his entire career.

On the perimeter, Melo is prone to taking poor shots. On perimeter defense, he's prone to losing his man. But when Anthony plays the PF role, he's better defensively and a monster offensively.

According to 82Games.com, Melo posted a scalding 29.5 player efficiency rating at power forward and a pedestrian 17.4 player efficiency rating at the 3. Small sample size warnings abound, but Anthony's better PF production passes the eye test and makes a certain amount of intuitive sense. 

Anthony is a strong 230 pounds and dominates opposing bigs on the block with a rare combination of brawn and quickness. Melo's strength does not much matter when he's far from the rim. Closer to the cup, his talent and skills are best optimized.

Keeping Anthony from his natural position would make some sense if New York was rolling out Phoenix-era Amare Stoudemire. Instead, it's starting an injury-addled version who wouldn't even mesh well with Melo at full health. At age 25, STAT converted 59 percent from the field. Last season, he managed a meager 48 percent.

New York can't slide Amare to the center spot because he's a terrible defender, and the Knicks are already paying max contract money to Tyson Chandler. If they want to play Stoudemire, it will have to come at Anthony's expense.

New York should be better in the first few weeks as Melo mans his optimal post. Not only should New York look better as a team, this could get it on the path to bringing Amare off the bench and making the most out of this roster. The Knicks erred in giving Stoudemire all that money, but they don't have to keep paying for it on the floor.