The Oklahoma City Thunder have Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden.
I’ve been vacillating between both sides of this issue for months, but after watching Miami win the NBA championship, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Knicks must keep Amar’e Stoudemire.
This sounds ludicrous to some fans, who have demanded his head after the fire extinguisher incident, but look at this rationally.
Based on pure talent, the Knicks sans Stoudemire are not as good as Miami. It’s not like Phil Jackson is coaching them either—they won’t simply out-execute the Heat. As much as I hate to say it, the Knicks have to play like the Heat to beat the Heat.
Yes it is true that STAT and ‘Melo haven’t learned how to play together yet, but why does that mean they won’t ever get there? Weren’t we saying the same things about LeBron and Wade for the past two years?
It took time, but they learned how to work together. Now they’re reaping the benefits as NBA champions.
Look at how the Knicks have been constructed for the past few years. The early D’antoni teams were just placeholders for the summer of 2010. They developed an All-Star in David Lee and then let him get away.
The goal was supposedly to bring in a star, and the Knicks did that with Amar’e and started winning. Suddenly, one star wasn’t good enough and just as that group was starting to click, they broke up the team for Carmelo Anthony.
There’s a reason Denver has done so well in the post-Anthony era. Their former Knicks know how to play together and have learned to mesh with their new teammates.
Meanwhile, we’re not giving the Knicks a chance to do the same. Stars don’t learn to coexist over night. It’s a long process that demands hard work and sacrifices on both sides.
Amar’e Stoudemire has to learn how to develop possessions on the block rather than the perimeter. He needs to become a better rebounder and defender. He needs to learn how to get into position without the ball.
Carmelo Anthony needs to learn that sometimes shooting isn’t the best move. He can’t continuously stop the entire team’s ball movement. He’ll never be able to run an offense like LeBron, but he needs to understand that passing is an important part of the game.
They haven’t even played two years together, yet fans and critics say they’ll never get it together.
It’s not that simple. These are two former alpha dogs learning to subjugate their games for the betterment of their teams. Neither of them has had to do that in their entire lives.
Trading Amar’e is the easy answer, but it’s the wrong one.
Despite what we saw last year, he is a star—the type of talent most teams would kill for. He took a chance on the Knicks when nobody else wanted to. Without Amar’e, there is no Carmelo, and by extension no Tyson Chandler (and if you believe in the butterfly effect, no Jeremy Lin).
So hold your horses, Knicks fans. Remember when you were chanting MVP for Amar’e. Give him a chance to learn how to play with the new guy.
If what happened in Miami is any indication, things are going to get better.
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