Leader Of The Revival

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We’re trying very hard to separate fact from fiction where Amar’e Stoudemire and the surging New York Knicks are concerned.

Do we blindly celebrate the fact that Stoudemire is on a personal tear (five straight games of 30-plus points for the first time in his career) and just ignore the combined 64 wins of the Knicks’ victims on their current streak, during which they’ve won 10 of 11 games?

And keep in mind that 13 of those wins belong to the New Orleans Hornets, the only team with a winning record the Knicks have defeated during this current stretch (tonight’s opponent, Toronto, is 8-13).

We don’t know how much stock to put in Stoudemire and the Knicks’ performance and how much of this needs to be colored by the level of competition. It’s pretty obvious they are connected. It’s the weight distribution that we’re struggling with right now.

A Monday morning Tweet suggested that we’ve been ignoring Stoudemire’s “MVP-worthy” performance and asked what it would take for us to get on the bandwagon.

Stoudemire doesn’t have to do any campaigning. We’re all in. (If you remember, this was Stoudemire headquarters at the trade deadline last season, when he — and not Antawn Jamsion — was the key to the Cavaliers’ championship puzzle). His 25.3 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.9 blocks are on par with his previous MVP-worthy season, when he went for 25.2 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.5 assists in Phoenix during the 2007-08 season.

When Allan Houston talks about him like this (when the team was just 11-9) …

“To me, he has had as much impact on this franchise as Patrick [Ewing],” Houston said. “The timing, the circumstances, his personality and demeanor, leadership, all wrapped up — given his talent — is the impact Patrick had when he came.

“What he’s done is brought in a presence: ‘I’ll take the burden on my shoulders. I’ll take the criticism. I’ll take the good with the bad. I’m going to be the one — if people put it on me, I’m OK with that.’ “

… you know the hype is getting thick.

Stoudemire’s team, on the other hand, needs to add a few more quality wins before we start sipping on that Knicks-flavored Kool-Aid. Stoudemire knows better than anyone that the cake-like pastries they’ve feasted on lately will give way to a bully slate next week that could kill their current buzz in an instant. He admitted as much to Mitch Lawrence of the Daily News after practice Tuesday:

“We can’t look too far ahead,” Stoudemire said. “We have two important games, but the following week is going to be very important for us. It’s going to be a great week. We’re playing against playoff teams and championship-caliber teams. So it will give us a chance to see where we stand.”

Once again, there is no doubt where Stoudemire, already a two-time Player of the Week, stands among the NBA’s best of the best this season. He is the leader of the Knicks’ revival — if this is indeed a turning point for the franchise after years of spinning wheels — and a legitimate MVP candidate.

And this could be a turning point. The Knicks have promising pieces in not only Stoudemire and fellow free agent pick up Raymond Felton, but also in Draft night steal Landry Fields and the underrated Wilson Chandler, the “Rooster” Danilo Gallinari and scrappy guard Toney Douglas.

As the Prime Minister pointed out in his assessment of these Knicks, they bear the slightest resemblance to another Mike D’Antoni coached team of recent years, albeit it with far different parts (Stoudemire being the only constant).

D’Antoni’s 2004-05 Phoenix team had an established low-post star (Stoudemire), a young point guard with a new chance (Felton vs. a slightly older-at-the-time Steve Nash), a versatile forward (Chandler vs. Shawn Marion), a totally underrated swingman (Joe Johnson vs. Fields) and an assortment of castoffs, journeymen and shoulda-beens all lined up by the cosmos to form a revolutionary team.

Now, before anyone dials 9-1-1, we are NOT calling for these Knicks to change the way anyone else plays the game. And we’re certainly not suggesting this team is headed for a 60-win season like those Suns accomplished.

But surely we can agree that this Knicks team is better than they’ve been since D’Antoni arrived from Phoenix. How much better you ask? We might have to crank this debate up again just before Christmas, after the Knicks’ degree of difficulty increases.

22 Comments

  1. RazRah says:

    The players of the past were just as athletic and were more skilled than the players of today. I don’t know where people get these ideas from. Alanzo Mourning, Sir Charles, Karl Malone, David Robinson, Pat Ewing, The Dream and even Shawn Kemp are better than any bigman you could put out there today. Pau would be too soft head to head. Dwight has been in the league too long to have limited offensive abilities. The speed of Kevin Johnson, Isaiah Thomas, Tim Hardaway. The skillset of Gary Peyton, Mark Price, Clyde Drexler, John Stockton, Penny Hardaway, Grant Hill, Scottie Pippen, Chris Mullin, Allan Houston. The size of Otis Thorpe, Anthony Mason, Charles Oakley, Kevin Willis, Dennis Rodman. The shooting touch of Glenn Rice, Chuck Person, Reggie Miller, Sam Perkins, Dale Ellis, Steve Kerr, Jeff Honacek. The champinship pedigree of JORDAN, MAGIC, BIRD and OLAJUWON that stayed with the same team. Let me see the players of today get hand-checked or play against real defensive teams like the Knicks, Pistons, Rockets, Sixers, Bulls, Cav’s. Please

  2. eddie says:

    Amare is a great player. But what a lot are saying when they compare him to Patrick Ewing is nothing to do with the form they both play. They both had absolutely different styles. What is meant is that when you watch Amare you can see him playing with the leadership Patrick had, he also has the heart that Patrick had for this game, and he plays for the fans like Patrick did. Between Amare and Felton they have put their heart, their leadership into this team and made them what they are slowly becoming. You can tell by the way they play that they love what they do and they do it for all us Knicks fan. They want to make us all walk with our heads up high saying thats my New York Knicks.

  3. vinny says:

    Why is it that you always have to compare a former knick player to a previous one. Amare is better then Ewing in some ways and Ewing is better then Amare some ways. Right now the focus should be Knicks making playoffs and improving knick fans confidence and there own. Who ever says the players are only doing it for the money go take a hike and fall of a mountain. These players love to win and have a passion for the game more then there woman, so go suk it. Yes there making ridiculous money but they deserve it. On another note we almost beat Boston in Bostion this year for a rookie team and team that had no chemistry game 1 of the season….. LOOK out because these next couple of weeks Miami Boston and Orlando will meet there maker!!!!!

  4. Fan of Basketball says:

    We still don’t play defense…i don’t know why everybody is looking foward to a 1st round knockout…who are we gonna play…either celtics, heat, magic, hawks or the bulls in the first round…hopefully we can get much much better by the playoffs but as of right now we’d get swept by all of those teams. So in a nutshell all we’re doing this year is exactly what we should have done last year without amare. and that’s win games against teams under .500 the talent level was there…i’m still not impressed.

  5. vinny says:

    OK MICHAEL JORDAN BEST PLAYER OF ALL TIME, HE WOULD DOMINATE PLAYERS TODAY AND IN THE PAST. I do agree players today are better back then, were way to advanced and athletic then players back in the day. As far as the knicks go, I AM THERE BIGGEST FAN and for anyone to hate on them now will have to deal with me… Ive watched every game this year and they look better then ever. Latrell Sprewell days are over, its all about STAT RAY WILL DANILO AND LANDRY, DONT HATE, KNICKS ARE BACK!!!!!!!!!

  6. max says:

    Amare is a dream in the regular season, wait until he matches up with shaq or bosh or dwight in the playoffs. I loved amare in Phoenix, been a Suns fan since birth, but he constantly reminded us every time he faced pau or duncan just how bad his defense will hurt your team. I love Amare, but i can honestly say if it weren’t for his defense and awful rebounding Phoenix would have two championships and he would still be in Phoenix. Great players don’t leave, and organizations wont let great players leave. He’ll show you what I’m talking about next week. I love ya amare, but youre a heartbreak waiting to happen.

  7. jacknohara says:

    PLEASE !! STOP trying to make we think amare is more than a second tier star !!!

    I’ve said it one thousand times before, Amare is not worth the hype. He doesn’t play any D, doesn’t rebound … How can a guy with such flaws be even mentioned as MVP ??? He’s just more of the same for the knicks, an overpaid guy with bad kness that can crack at any time. I’m sorry, but no team has a chance of winning anything when their best player is Amare. It is IMPOSSIBLE.

    I’m a knick fan and it really pisses me off. Every season, they give us a schedulle concentrated with scrubs so we can win a few games in a row, then everybody talks about how the knicks improved , just to see that it was just a mirage. We need to get real. The Layeden era, we’re still on it. It took five years to get rid of the giant untradeable contract of a player with bad knees, just to sign another one . In two years , Amare will be the new Allan Houston, mark my words.

    And another thing : Compare Amare with Ewing ??? Althought I think that Ewing is very, very, very overrated, comparing Amare to him sounds insulting .

  8. Ryan D says:

    Good heavens.. another hater, LOL

  9. Banks says:

    Dude…no disrespect, but all players now a days are athletically and skillfully better than any given legend of the pass. They were skinny, and they played with people at their level. If those guys bumped up against a Dwight Howard or Lebron James sized player they would break their whole body. The level of fitness just advanced too much over 20 years for you guys to seriously think one of those old players can keep up with the players now a days. Not to mention that the players now are able to study tapes of Ewing, and Jordan and now almost every NBA player can do a reverse hand lay up that was so the rage when jordan did it. And every player can do clutch lay ups, up and unders or whatever. So shut up with the petty arguments, and congrats STAT on a job well done in his career and hope he keeps it up, cuz after injuries and stuff, he deserves it.

  10. Rodrigo Mello says:

    Talk what you wann talk… The last time I saw a new Knick putting bright in the eyes of our fans was Spree… and that addiction bring us another Finals, you all remember that… Our team was miserable for the last decade… What was the key point that all you guys put against the Knicks tokeep them away of sign with high callibers free agents or top trades? that our team sucks.. that anyone who could came here would be about the money, becouse winning isnt the topic… ok, so point that, knicks are NOW a decent team… with a .500 record (i belive we will end better thant this) and so, there are no more excuses to not comming to NY, the mecca of bball in the world… we DO have a good team beside Amar’e… and we are, right now, waiting for just 1 or 2 pieces to finaly complete our championship team puzzle…

  11. vinny says:

    listen up fellows, were talking about the ny knicks right now…. last year and previous years they were terrible. it all started with head coach isaiah thomas, he led the ny knicks right into the dumpster. Since head coach mike dantoni came in ny he has put together an offense power house. Now that were slowly moving up the ladder with good coaching staff and TOP PLAYERS LIKE AMARE STOUDAMIRE, were coming through. People who said we cant beat elite teams and we havent beat elite teams yet, your right. BUT now that AMARE AND RAY FELTON have there chemistry down and we easily beat New Orleans Hornets, we are going to either succeed and make playoffs this year and if not be right there in the race. MARK MY WORDS BY NEXT YEAR KNICKS WILL BE DOMINATE AND MAKE PLAYOFFS!!!!!!! Any questions email me vinny@owenstruckmen.com

  12. trey james says:

    this article isnt saying that amare stoudemire is on patrick ewing’s level in terms of skill, but rather in terms of overall impact on both the team and the city. new yorkers again have a reason to attend knicks games other than just to see who’s coming to town this week. and as far as MVP talk goes for stoudemire, anytime a player can come onto a team and elevate everyone’s game, generate a steady fan base, and often times be the best player, that person deserves at the very least consideration for a team MVP if not league MVP. also, as a last little note, obviously this team won’t be making phoenix suns of old noise, but the comparisons are there. a point guard that loves to run, can shoot, and is leading his team, enough shooters to make the net catch on fire, a versatile do it all forward, a swingman that is unheralded, and of course, mr. dynamite himself. this team is going places

  13. BBall Fan says:

    Yea Amare is doin what he is supposed to do and winning the games he is suppose to win. This year the knicks will make the playoffs Amare will be the cause of new york getting back to the playoffs. And next summer he may sway maybe carmelo or another elite talent to New York. Then New York will be kinda elite with the two talents and their good side cast with another year of experience. Yea Lebron missed out cause who ever goes to new york with amare will have a good team and great fans…Not bandwagoners like in Miami…

  14. felix cepeda says:

    @ Illegal machine no offense but Amare is better then Patrick in some ways i know this personalty. but you wouldn’t know that your probably those people who compares Michael Jordan to Kobe Bryant which makes no sense because Michael Jordan is a different player and is the best that ever did it! Period

  15. Omarisgay says:

    Knicks actually have a pretty good team

    Chandler can put up 20, Gallo can do over 15, Felton is doing 18, amare is amare, and they have a very good rookie in fields. That’s 5 players with great talent and all of them relatively young with upside.

    I really wish my raptors would try to get chandler, because he really is good but doesn’t get valued for his numbers, then again would be a big risk since he might be playing for a contract.

  16. Omarisgay says:

    amare is better then bosh very explosive impressive mid range game soo far, injuries might be a factor, but imagine if Miami took amare.

  17. Zzanzabar says:

    The facts are that last year the Knicks where LOSING these games with these same teams and records. Amare is good enough to help them win in these circumstances and maybe win a game or two against the elite teams. In the weak East this might be enough to get them an eight or seventh playoff spot and that is probably one of the reasons he opted out for the Knicks.

  18. Patanegra says:

    You know, the knicks are exploiting what the other teams don’t- beating the weak teams.

    And a lil correction… i don’t think the knick can be seeded in the west. 😛

  19. kaare weidling says:

    amare is playing great, but as indicated i think the comp has been weak. i see them as the 7 or 8 seed in the west and thats it. their defense is still miserable, but the weak teams they have met hasn’t exploited that.

  20. Illegal machine says:

    No offense to amare, but this cat isnt Pat Ewing. No comparison offensively, as it takes an offense like dantoni’s to get him to 25ppg. His impact defensively is marginal compared to ewing.

    I think this franchise is so deprived, anyone putting in effort will be compared to ewing. I think allan’s statement is less based on fact as it is based that he works for Walsh.