I’m going to have to say “yes” to this one.
That seems a bit strange considering Carmelo Anthony’s MVP-caliber season and the team’s 25-13 record.
But all non-Knicks fans need to know – and should know – is that after the Knicks defeated the Detroit Pistons in London’s O2 arena on Thursday, the talk of the town wasn’t Anthony and the 26 points he dropped over on the other side of the Atlantic. And nobody really spent too much time talking about Tyson Chandler’s 14 rebounds and two blocked shots.
Instead, the two guys that dominated the media coverage in New York were Amar’e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert.
Remember those guys?
Stoudemire played 21 minutes and had his best game thus far with 17 points and four rebounds. Most promising, though, was that Stoudemire showed he still has a knack for moving without the ball. He rolled, he ran the floor, and he was found by both Anthony and Jason Kidd. Stoudemire’s good hands were on display, and he got to the free-throw line 12 times, making 11.
Most important to me, however, is that Stoudemire only got his shot thrown back in his face once. As his explosiveness has diminished, that was the most troubling trend we saw developing.
On Thursday, Stoudemire looked pretty good.
As for Shumpert? He was more than good.
Shumpert saw his first NBA action since April 28 and looked nothing like someone who had not played in eight months. He got the start – which Stoudemire didn’t in his return on New Year’s Day – and gave the Knicks 15 solid minutes.
The dunk attempt failed – Shumpert took off from outside the restricted area and tried to elevate over a near 7-footer. But the attempt itself from a 6-5 guard returning from ACL surgery was pretty amazing.
Together, Stoudemire and Shumpert have the potential to make the Knicks a more complete team.
Those that don’t see the Knicks as a credible threat to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference usually point to the team’s over-reliance on the 3-point shot, lack of a credible back to the basket interior scoring presence (aside from Anthony) and shaky perimeter defense as the main reasons.
Those concerns are credible.