However, Carmelo Anthony has stepped up, put the team on his back and is thriving in Mike Woodson’s system. It makes it tough to miss NY’s “other” superstar, who doesn’t seem to fit on the floor with ‘Melo.
Let’s take a look at when we can expect Amar’e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert to return, plus the latest buzz around the Big Apple in today’s Knicks rumors roundup.
Iman Not Expected Until January
Shumpert was a rookie sensation during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, but unfortunately tore an ACL in the Knicks' opening-round playoff series against Miami. He’s working on coming back better than ever, but it’s going to take a bit longer than fans hoped.
Marc Berman of the New York Post found that Shump would be targeting a January return, later than many expected.
While the young guard’s defense and athleticism will be sorely needed for any potential playoff run, the Knicks are doing just fine without him right now.
If injuries to the older guards start to mount and the New York defense starts to break down, that tune will certainly change. As long as the former Georgia Tech is working to improve his game during his rehabilitation and maintains his stellar athletic abilities, the Knicks are going to be sitting pretty upon his triumphant return.
Amar’e On the Bench?
It sounds crazy, but the Knicks may be paying Stoudemire more than $20 million to come off the bench.
ESPN New York reporters caught up with coach Mike Woodson and found that he’s not certain what will happen when STAT is healthy, but he did leave the door open for speculation that Stoudemire will ride the pine.
When asked if Amar’e would be in the starting lineup when healthy:
“I’m going to address that when we get to that point," Woodson said at New Orleans Arena. “Right now I’m just taking it a day at a time and work the guys we have in uniform."
There are certainly benefits and drawbacks to bringing in STAT as a sixth man, and Woodson would be wise to way all available options before making a decision.
‘Melo Playing Defense
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Knickerbockers have found a way to motivate Carmelo Anthony to play defense.
They are chiding him to improve in that facet of his game, as the Dallas Mavericks were able to get Dirk Nowitzki to play D and win a title. Coaches and players are telling ‘Melo it would be embarrassing if he couldn’t do the same with his youth, strength and athleticism.
Hopefully it continues to work, as Carmelo has the potential to be one of the best two-way forwards in the game.