Hamilton: With Stoudemire and Shumpert, Best is Yet to Come for Knicks

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NEW YORK — Is it possible that we haven’t seen the New York Knicks play their best basketball yet?

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.

Shumpert’s on-ball defense was excellent. He drained two of the three 3-pointers he attempted. He even had the courage to attempt to posterize Pistons big man Greg Monroe late in the first half.

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.

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  1. Jack Knickolson says:

    Words, Words, Words…the same Words that have crossed my mind these last few days…only concern is that these are the Knicks…certain things ONLY happen to the Knicks…your star is on a bad stretch and after 2 weeks he comes up saying he was fasting???Say what? Unbelievable in a professional nba era…Last season your second best player leaves a game and crashes his hand against a fire extinguisher? Some things only happen to the Knicks…Your best player rounds round the opponents bus at MSG for some trash talk on the court? These are things that only happen to the Knicks.

    But these are also the best Knicks we’ve seen in a long time. And thats the thing this time. Amare and Shumpert are the talk of the town because, as you well point, they are the ones to get us a notch up at this time and place of the season.

    Anyway, whaterver happens is a gonna be a lot of fun. Never a dull moment. Because these are the Knicks, and certain thing, only happen to the Knicks.

    Cheers!

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