Marc Berman @NYPost_Berman
Stoudemire aiming to return around Christmas as mid-December is too soon: source [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
Marc Berman @NYPost_Berman
Stoudemire on court for first time before media, taking jump shots, free throws, doing some jogging. "Great sign,'' Woodson said.
STAT at the 4, and Camby/Sheed at the 5 wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. But then that leaves Novak to play the 3, and for some reason that scares the hell outta me.
So to keep the floor spaced, play STAT at the 5 when Novak is on the court??? That's even scarier.
I don't mind STAT coming off the bench, but Woody's got some work to do to figure this thing out. We know there's gonna be hiccups with guys being added to the rotation, but it's tough to try to fix it if it isn't broke...but we kinda have to.
Guess if I was simple in the mind...everything would be fine.
JR and Novak are Shooters, Sheed is a big and can become a shooter, and Prigioni and Shump are still left. That's not mentioning other bigs such as Gumby, Crazy Eyes, and Cope.
To me STAT comes off the bench with the purpose of later being a starter and being worked into the fold- with who and what I just named (shooters/defenders)
I can make the case that STAT is MORE needed in the starting line up than NEEDED off the bench.
Now I bet you are saying we don't "need" STAT anywhere (could use him but don't need him), and on the surface that appears true given our 11-4 record. But consider what our weaknesses are, and consider what type of teams
a. we are likely to see in the post-season
b. usually go far in the post season
We are more likely to see better defending and bigger teams, with better PG play. In the East there's D Will, Rondo, Maybe Rose, Chalmers is improving etc...
There's Lopez, Bynum if he heels, KG, and another slew of bigs in the West.
STAT MUST be assimilated with our Starting Core and defensive philosophy by then for us to be successful. He offers something every bench player named above doesn't.
Size with Quickness, Strength, and the intangibles that I feel are the MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS NOT READILY CONSIDERED:
-Has the respect of the league and will get foul calls
He is not a specialist such as JR and Novak, he is an all-around talent averaging 20 pts per most of his career. We cannot afford to sit him and hope he flourishes with limited minutes.
He must be made to feel like he is a Co-Captain who we rely on and respect. A healthy and acclimated STAT on this TEAM starting = ECF. Especially if he tweaks his game to add post moves and is motivated defensively (both factors I believe he can and will exhibit). Easy.
Camby would be SO much better suited for partnering with STAT. He's a great assistant defender, while Wallace and Thomas can't move at all.
So basically we're saying that STAT can't play along Anthony, Chandler, Novak, Wallace.
Ain't that a problem.
My take: He needs to fit the starting line up if we want to win a championship. We need to end games with our top players.
Having said that, I think he would fit just fine with either Melo or Chandler (not both at the same time, for now) and a PNR virtuoso like Prigioni (and maybe both Felton and Kidd if they develop chemistry) and always have a shooter either at the 2 or the 3.
And last but not least, the things we should demand Amar'e to improve on (realistically speaking):
Rebounding on both ends of the floor: He has always been a subpar rebounder in spite of a Greek God-Like athleticism. Just rebounding along would help a lot on defense (HW: Watch Zach Randolph rebound without even leaping)
Passing: Dude's got great hands, but he's never been a skilled passer (grew up playing facing the basket). If he could make the ball rotate and pass off the double teams in the post, that would wreck chaos onto opposing defenses, just like Melo has been doing this year.
Stay in front of the opposite ****ing player!: I'm not even asking him to follow all the defensive rotations r anything, just no more Matador defense, damnit! He should be less scared spend some fouls since he won't have as many minutes anyway and the rotation is so deep.
If Amar'e can improve in those areas, as well as regaining confidence in the mid-range shot, he's going to get his place back as a true All-Star of the league.
Stoudemire should start and play 5 minute intervals to maintain his health and floor balance with Carmelo. Meaning they only share the floor the 1st 5 minutes of the half and the last 4-6 minutes of the half.
People think putting STAT on the bench will help them mesh when in all actuality they have to learn how to play off of each other since in the playoffs we will be in close games and they will have to co-exist. Putting a bonafide All-Star on the bench isn't how you win titles.
Real Talk here....
This is our 100 million dollar man who carried us b4 Melo got here. Please don't forget that. Plus look at the improved D Melo has posted this season... hell look at the improved D the whole team has posted. Isn't it probable that STAT will do more of the same (improved D that is) and let's see what the offseason with Hakeem Olajuwon did to boost his game. I'm sure Hakeem talked team play with him as well as new post moves.... I'm just saying...
i want more Shump return than Stat.