Forget about what Stoudemire’s return might do to Carmelo Anthony’s point production.
Forget about whether Stoudemire should start, come off the bench or event be traded as some so-called analysts have implied in recent weeks.
Yesterday afternoon was the perfect example of why the Knicks desperately need Stoudemire back in the lineup if they want to take that next step from a very good team to a team that might actually go deep into the playoffs or even to the NBA Finals.
While Anthony and J.R. Smith were having a grand old time on the outside (combining for 59 of the Knicks 94 points), the rest of the team was getting destroyed down low in the paint.
Howard and Gasol also combined for 20 rebounds vs. just 10 from Chandler and Thomas.
Late in the game, the Knicks were dominated on the glass and the ultimate nail in the coffin came on a virtually uncontested dunk by Gasol with under a minute left to play.
Essentially, Anthony and Smith were able to match Bryant and Metta World Peace point for point yesterday afternoon. The real difference maker was in the paint.
Howard and Gasol dominated the paint particularly late in the game while the Knicks simply did not have a legitimate answer to the Lakers power down low.
Add in 17 points, eight rebounds and a couple of blocked shots from Stoudemire yesterday, and the Knicks walk out the Staples Center with a fairly comfortable victory.
Say what you will about Stoudemire and his potential effect on the Knicks’ team chemistry. But, one thing that cannot be disputed is that the Knicks need some help in the paint if they have any aspirations of competing in the playoffs…and what is an easier option: trading or having Stoudemire come off the bench, or simply going with the 6”11, 17.5 PPG and 7.8 RPG power forward that you already paying $18.2 million for the 2012 season.
But then again, he might be worth every penny if he winds up filling one of the only holes the Knicks currently have on their roster.