Seeing a friend struggle with anything in life is a difficult task to come to terms with, especially when nothing can can be done to alleviate the problem. The same goes for Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire.
“As a friend, it’s hard for me to sit back and act like it doesn’t bother me because I know how hard of a worker he is [and] I know the time that he puts in the gym to train and rehab,” said Anthony. “To see him go forward and then take some steps back every time, it’s just sad.”
It sits off as a distant memory now, but the weeks before Melo strong armed his way out of Denver to head to the Knicks, Amar’e was a legit early season MVP candidate for the Knicks in 2010-2011. Anthony later admitted having the opportunity to play with Stat was one of the key reasons he wanted to play in Madison Square Garden. And they have played together, just with vastly underwhelming results due to health and a perceived on-court chemistry issue.
With this being Carmelo’s tenth year in the league and Amar’e's eleventh (sheesh), I’d bet good money we’re never going to see Stoudemire at “100%” again or whatever that prognosis actually means. The freak-of-nature power forward who became a bonafide offensive force on the Suns is long gone.
Amar’e's on record saying the progress he’s made this offseason will have him completely healthy for the 2013-14 campaign, and truth be told, here’s to hoping he is. Injuries suck.* It also sucks to say this because watching dude at his peak truly was a joy (on offense) and I’ll forever believe he and Steve Nash were dealt raw deals by karma in Phoenix, but…nahh.
Like clockwork, talk around the Knicks preaches Amar’e is a vital tool who can and will help the Knicks take the next step. I won’t believe it until it manifests itself in Midtown Manhattan. And even if he can remain healthy, with what his skill set provides at this stage in his career, the Knicks’ window of championship aspirations in a revamped Eastern Conference resembles more of a peep hole. Everyone had a haunting suspicion dude’s knees would disintegrate into Pixie Stick dust sooner or later in New York and, thus far, everything’s been right on schedule. Still, one credit I can give Melo is that he’s never thrown his boy under the bus. Not in 2011, not in 2012 and not in 2013.
“It’s another weapon that we need,” Anthony said. “We could have used him last season at certain points. For him to get a fresh start off of this season, we need him. He’s a big key to this team’s success.”
I guess the only question left is over/under 13 combined rebounds a game for Amar’e and Andrea Bargnani?
* – How about that expert analysis, huh?!