Amar'e Stoudemire is willing to do whatever it takes to help the New York Knicks win.
According to Fred Kerber of the New York Post, STAT is receptive to riding the pine if it will help the team continue its early-season success:
I’m totally open to it [coming off the bench]. I’ve been here for three years now. You should know how much of a team player I am. In Phoenix … it was a team-oriented game and the same applies here in New York.
Coach Mike Woodson hasn’t decided whether Stoudemire will start or be used in a reserve capacity:
I’m not going to address [roles] until he tells me he’s ready to play and then we’ll make a decision based on where we are with our team.
The Knicks are off to a blazing start, going 18-6 with more than a quarter of the 2012-13 campaign in the rear-view mirror. They have the best record in the Eastern Conference and trail only the Oklahoma City Thunder for best in the NBA.
All of this has been without their top power forward in the lineup, as he is still recovering from a left knee surgery he underwent in the offseason.
Stoudemire was recently assigned (with his consent) to the Erie BayHawks—the Knicks D-League affiliate—for consistent practice as part of his extensive rehab and goal of returning to the active roster as soon as possible.
During STAT’s absence, Carmelo Anthony has logged numerous minutes at the 4 and excelled as the unquestionable top scoring option for the Knickerbockers.
In 20 regular-season games, ‘Melo is averaging 27.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists. He’s also shooting 47.3 percent from the field and hitting an incredible 45.5 percent of his three-point shots (considering his 5.6 attempts per contest)—well above his career averages in both categories.
Should Stoudemire come off the bench when he returns?
Anthony and Stoudemire struggled to gel during their time together in the Big Apple, and it’s becoming apparent that they may work better alone than as a duo. Both are alpha-type players that absolutely need the ball in their hands to be effective parts of the team.
Ideally, both would be in the starting lineup and logging a high number of minutes, but Coach Woodson can’t afford to sacrifice the chemistry that has given the team such great returns so far this season.
It will be extremely interesting to find out what the organization has in store for STAT upon his healthy return to the lineup, and we’ll keep you updated right here as soon as we know more about New York's plans.