The last thing the New York Knicks need is a player messing up the current rhythm. Therefore, Amar'e Stoudemire should come off the bench when he returns to the court.
According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the forward is planning on returning from his knee surgery in time for Christmas.
He is unlikely to return by mid-December, but the six to eight-week time frame from his Nov. 1 surgery is still intact.
However, the question remains about his role with the team once he returns from his injury.
Every team can find room for a player that has been named to the first or second team All-NBA five different times. On the other hand, the Knicks are playing their best basketball in years.
Through just in the first month of the season, New York has an impressive 10-4 record. The Miami Heat are the only team in the Eastern Conference with a better winning percentage.
Considering that nine of the first 14 games have taken place on the road, this is even more outstanding.
Carmelo Anthony has played well in his transition to the power forward position and the rest of the team has stepped up in its play on the perimeter.
Adding Stoudemire to this lineup right away could have a negative impact on the squad.
Fortunately, the veteran is willing take a lesser role for the benefit of the group, according to Ian Begley of ESPN New York.
A source close to Stoudemire reportedly told Begley, "All he cares about right now is helping the team and winning. He'd be fine with coming off the bench if that's what they want."
This is great news for coach Mike Woodson, who had been noncommittal about the future rotations when the team is at full strength.
For all of Stoudemire's strengths, he has some major deficiencies. He does not play good defense, and he has trouble sharing the ball with other stars, namely Anthony.
As a sixth man, he can come in and focus on scoring in short bursts and completely catch opposing teams off guard.
Woodson can also use this to limit the amount of time that both high-profile players are on the floor at the same time. This means that there would be almost no drop-off when the leading scorer takes a rest.
In addition, the decreased minutes would help Stoudemire ease back from his current injury. The 30-year-old has dealt with injury problems throughout his career, so putting less physical pressure on his body can only be a good thing.
It certainly would not help the team if he re-injured his knee or ended up hurting some other body part (then again, he can do just as much damage to himself away from the court).
The Knicks have a veteran team this season. If they want to compete deep into the playoffs, depth will be the key to keeping everyone fresh and healthy.
Stoudemire could instantly give New York one of the best benches in the NBA. Even with fewer minutes, it would maximize the forward's impact and the team will be better because of it.
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