MVP, MVP, MVP, was the chant recited by the MSG faithful for one Amar’e Stoudemire during the 2010-2011 season. After starting the season on a tantalizing scoring tirade, which included a clip of nine straight games with 30+ points, a Knicks franchise record, New York City was sure they found a key component to construct a championship caliber team. Amar’e Stoudemire seemed to be a perfect fit, especially with Raymond Felton who both displayed a good rapport with one another. But in order to acquire Carmelo Anthony, the best natural scorer in the game, the Knicks had to sadly part ways with Felton at the time. This is when the birth of the Amar’e-Melo “co-existence” problem arose.
In this crazy fast, what have you done for me lately world we live in, especially in New York City, it seems that most Knicks fans forget about the dominance of Amar’e Stoudemire, shocking. With an injury plagued 2011-2012 season and mourning the tragic loss of his brother, Amar’e still managed to average 17 PPG, a career low, which says a lot about the player to accomplish that during an off year. Throughout Stoudemire’s career, he always had a great point guard at the helm. This is one of the main reasons I find the argument of how Melo and Amar’e both need the ball in their hands to be extremely invalid. While Carmelo Anthony at times, works best on the ISO, I feel like Amar’e has always been at his best coming off the pick and roll/pop.
Going into the lockout shortened 2011-2012 season, the Knicks starting point guard was none other than…Toney Douglas. They also shuffled with Iman Shumpert at the position, but none of the guards on the Knicks roster had the ability to create for others, which created a problem of how the stars can effectively share the ball. The Jeremy Lin story was cute, but you could tell he couldn’t manage the ego of the Knicks superstars in critical games, ala the Miami Heat match up.
2012-2013 sheds a new light on the issue, with a complete off-season to build chemistry, more importantly, the return of Raymond Felton and the signing of Jason Kidd; the ball distribution problem will be solved. Amar’e and Felton had great chemistry in their short tenure in 2010, often working effectively off of pick and rolls/pops. Compared to last year, where Carmelo Anthony would play the point forward position in critical junctures, the current Knicks point guards will have more of a resonating effect on the whole team. They will find a way to get Amar’e and Carmelo involved. Felton’s ability to drive and dish will create easy points for Amar’e. Jason Kidd’s basketball IQ and court vision will also create open looks for Stoudemire as well.
Felton seems fine playing with Carmelo and we already know the success Amar’e had with Raymond. The Knicks are off to a hot start and the current lineup, with Melo at the power forward position, is getting the job done. How Anthony’s body will hold up the whole year at the brutalizing PF position remains to be answered. The floor spacing, ball movement, and lack of turnovers have been a wonderful sight to see thus far. Amar’e said he has no problem coming off the bench. Eventually, working Stoudemire into the starting lineup will be essential for the Knicks. Amar’e is still one of the best scoring big men in the league and he has been working with Hakeem Olajuwon to even better his game. The ball sharing issue will be an issue no longer with the elite performance coming out of the point guard position. I implore the New York Knicks fan base to give Amar’e another chance, because we can use his effective scoring in the paint. Get Stat’s back! Don’t turn it on him.
Eyosyas Tadesse @ETdash – Knickswag Contributor