As I continue to reiterate, Stoudemire’s presence on the hardwood stands to be a blessing for these Knicks—if he’s ready.
And per Peter Botte of the New York Daily News, he might not be ready:
I’m not 80 (percent), yet. So I’m still working to get to that point. But I am improving, I feel the improvement, I feel stronger by the day. Today was the most I’ve done since the injury, so we’ll see how it feels (Monday),” Stoudemire said. “We’re not quite there yet, but we’re pretty banged up as a team. We need bodies on the court right now, so if I have to sacrifice my health a little bit for the betterment of the team, then I will.
“I know a lot of our guys have been pretty banged up; it’s been a long season so far. So again, if it’s needed for me to sacrifice my body for the betterment of the team, I will. Hopefully I can continue to improve the next two days and that way I can feel 100 percent when I get back out there.”
Though I admire Stoudemire’s continued commitment to the team, bringing him back when he’s anything less than 100 percent (or as close to it as possible) isn’t a wise decision.
While guys like Raymond Felton, Carmelo Anthony and Rasheed Wallace are banged up, the Knicks aren’t playing terrible. They still have the second best record in the East and they’re still one of the most dominant teams in the league. Understandably—especially if ‘Melo continues to sit—the team craves an offensive juggernaut like Stoudemire to help lead the cause. But at what cost?
As Mike Woodson noted right after Stoudemire’s sentiments, he may never be 100 percent this season. That said, Stoudemire himself admits he could feel better, so the fact that he hasn’t reached his peak must be taken into account.
Sure, Stoudemire could return to the floor on New Year’s Day, take the Portland Trail Blazers by storm and lead the Knicks to victory. Or, he could come out flat, out of game shape and serve as tactical hindrance. He could even come back and eventually re-injure himself.
Yes, the Knicks do stand to struggle if they don’t get some extra bodies on the floor, but this has to be about the long run; this has to be about contending for a championship come May and June.
And truth be told, bringing Stoudemire back now, if he’s anything less than as ready as possible may actually hurt the team’s cause.
As well as put the well being of the ever fragile Amar’e Stoudemire at an even greater risk.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.