HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — Was the news of Amar’e Stoudemire‘s latest knee surgery a surprise? It depends on your perspective.
On one hand, Stoudemire looked better over the last two months than he did at any point last season. And he totaled 38 points and 17 rebounds in 60 minutes on Wednesday and Thursday. The news was sudden.
On the other hand, this is Amar’e Stoudemire we’re talking about. And it would probably have been a bigger surprise if he had made it through the rest of the season healthy.
Either way, the Knicks’ rotation just got even thinner now that Stoudemire is set to have surgery on his right knee, which will keep him out of action for the next six weeks. Six weeks from Saturday is the first day of the playoffs, but it would be awfully optimistic to think that he could be ready for the first couple of games of the first round.
In addition to Stoudemire, the Knicks will be without Rasheed Wallace for the rest of the season. So, even if you count Carmelo Anthony (who’s also out with a knee injury) as a power forward, the Knicks’ third big in the rotation is Marcus Camby, Kenyon Martin or Kurt Thomas. Take your pick, because none of the three has been effective.
Stoudemire had been pretty strong offensively, averaging 14.2 points in 23.6 minutes on 58 percent shooting. But it’s hard to say that he made a big difference for the Knicks overall.
Stoudemire wasn’t a part of the Knicks’ early-season success and they were 16-13 in his 29 games. His defense wasn’t good and he was just a plus-28 in 682 total minutes.
The Knicks were pretty good with Anthony, Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler on the floor together, but take Chandler out and they were pretty terrible … on both ends of the floor.
Knicks efficiency with Anthony and Stoudemire on floor
|Chandler on/off floor||MIN||OffRtg||DefRtg||NetRtg||+/-|
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions
So yeah, the Knicks were, once again, outscored by their opponents when Anthony and Stoudemire shared the floor.
Of course, the Knicks have been generally mediocre for the last two months, whether or not Stoudemire was on the floor. He did help them on the interior offensively as their 3-point shooting regressed.
Still, if New York is going to win a playoff series for the first time in 13 years, it has to get better on the defensive end of the floor. And that might be easier to do without Stoudemire, as painful as it is to see guys like Thomas and James White get minutes.
Ultimately, Anthony’s health is a greater concern. The Knicks won a laugher over the Jazz without both Anthony and Stoudemire on Saturday, but that probably said more about Utah than it did about New York.