Stoudemire and Shumpert Close To A Return – But Which Is More Important For NY?
The New York Knicks are feeling it right now, they have found a rhythm offensively and defensively and are now a powerhouse in the East.
All this success has come due to some important additions to the roster, but it’s still without their 2 starters from last year and so far that doesn’t look like it bothers the Knicks.
Stoudemire had a solid season last year without missing many games, although when he returned after injury last season the Knicks struggled.
Iman Shumpert in his rookie year was the Knicks #1 perimeter and on-ball defender, and although his rookie season ended early in the playoffs his defensive pressure gave the Knicks the boost they needed heading into the post- season.
Knicks fans would love to see these 2 athletes return to the floor together and as soon as possible although I think in the back of their minds they’re cautious of how to approach this.
New York has a 21-9 record and are a top of the Atlantic division.
Apart from some close losses of late, they look as good as anyone in the NBA right now, and have been since opening night.
With both Shumpert & Stoudemire on the recovery track and looking to return in the next month all looks promising for New York, but will it work out? And how?
Stoudemire says he is happy to return into the rotation by coming off the bench.
Stoudemire was in a similar situation last year only that the Knicks weren’t playing that well before he got injured.
Last year when he was injured and out of the lineup, the Knicks played well with Carmelo running the show with handling most of ball possession.
But when Stoudemire returned after a few weeks it was rough. The knicks lost their next 7 out of 10 games to bump the team out of there streak to return them back to a .500 record.
To the Knicks credit, that was last season and the Knicks have improved a lot since then.
To make this return work smoothly New York will have to make a few moves .
▪ Move a player to Inactive list, most likely Marcus Camby at this point in time.
▪ Reduce shots and ball handling time for Carmelo to slowly get Stoudemire involved in new offence.
▪ Stoudemire to come off the bench and to distribute the ball more than looking for shots.
▪ Keeping the same offensive ball movement and shooting 3′s.
Iman Shumpert is at times forgotten, but was the knicks best defender last season in his rookie year.
Shumpert is the Knicks best on-ball defender.
His rookie season showed his potential as an athletic one-on-one stopper, shutting down some of the best SG ‘s in the league.
Depending on how his rehabilitation goes and providing his knee holds out, expect him to be as explosive and agile as he was in his rookie year.
He isn’t a high threat on offense and not many plays are run through him so keeping chemistry while making the transition back into the rotation won’t be as difficult compared to Amar’e.
The best solution for a smooth transition for Shumpert:
▪ Spending some short time first in the D-League
▪ Increasing playing minutes every game.
▪ Coming off the bench to play more of a catch and shoot role.
▪ Work with forwards to cut to the basket to develop his offense.
Shumpert’s defensive pressure doesn’t come in numbers but his presence is felt on the court. He shuts down opponents scoring rate to a small 27% when isolated.
Mike Woodson is hoping to avoid disrupting the chemistry that the Knicks have established during their surprising 21-9 start.
New York is 30-33 in the regular season when both Stoudemire and Anthony start, although under Mike Woodson the record is much better standing at 8-2 since last March.
As long as Stoudemire doesn’t start, Woodson can play him and Anthony apart as much as possible and since they play such similar offensive games, they would provide the most production if they were separated.
I think Stoudemire would be most effective off the bench because he and Anthony have had difficulty with chemistry on offense at times throughout last year.
With Stoudemire booked in to return next week and Shumpert to return mid January, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them both start on the bench to slowly get back into the rotations.
As crazy as it sounds I think the Knicks need Shumpert back more than Stoudemire at the current time.
There are a lot of opinions on what the Knicks should do when Stoudemire and Shumpert come back.
Who do you think is more important to the Knicks right now?
Photo Credit: Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News