New York — Playing in the NBA isn’t an easy feat. When you throw in being the only star on your team after playing with one of best point guards in the game, it sounds even more difficult.
As we all know, Steve Nash and Raymond Felton are far apart talent wise. Nash is arguably one of the top three point guards in the NBA, while Felton is somewhere around top 15-20 depending on who you ask. Two weeks ago, we touched on Amar’e Stoudemire’s current situation and how the change of point guard has affected his numbers.
We decided to confront Amar’e about this and the LeBron James issue after the Knicks/Nets game Tuesday night. We asked the Knicks’ big man:
NewsOne: 35 points in a winning effort, how hard is it to make it look so easy without Steve Nash?
Amar’e Stoudemire: Hey man, I’ve been playing this game for a long time; so it’s just a matter of becoming a complete player, that’s my goal. I think Raymond Felton is doing great job at the point guard spot trying to figure the way we play.
Obviously, Amar’e tried to undermine the absence of Nash in his game by stating that he has been playing the game for a long time. But with his field goal percentage dropping to its lowest since the 2005-2006 season when he was injured, it’s safe to say that the difference is notable. Amar’e went on to say that “Raymond Felton is doing a great job.” While I’m not arguing that sentiment, his decline in various statistical categories highlights the talent gap between Nash and Felton.
Naturally, we were curious to find out how Amar’e feels about another player he’s probably used to hearing about, LeBron James.We addressed Tracy McGrady’s opinion about James being better off in Chicago. Let us not forget that Stoudemire was acquired as a “bait” to land James in New York.
NewsOne: T-Mac recently said that LeBron James was better off in Chicago, how much damage you think he would have been able to make with you?
Amar’e Stoudemire: I’m not concerned about LeBron James. We have an opportunity here in New York to do something special.
When you shoot for the stars the way the Knicks did this offseason, special means taking it all. Local fans used to the Yankees winning titles won’t consider a Knicks playoff appearance special. It’s also very unlikely that the Knicks will take it all with Felton and Danilo Gallinari as the closest thing to the remaining two superstars missing out of the equation. While Knick fans may be disappointed at the end of this season, they are also realistic about the roster they currently have and its limitations.
Last night, the Knicks won convincingly 111-100 against the rival Nets. They are now one game above .500 at 10-9 which is their best start since 2004-2005 when they were 16-15 on January 4. They have also won seven of their last eight though many will point at the weak competition (Kings, Clippers, Bobcats (2x), Pistons, and Nets) the wins have come against and brush them aside; while losing to top competition like the Celtics, Nuggets, and Hawks. The only playoff team the Knicks have defeated this season has been the Bulls (missing Carlos Boozer), therefore, it is safe to say that with Stoudemire alone, the Knicks will not be doing anything special unless they make a big trade.
Rumor has it that the Nuggets might be interested in rookie sensation Landry Fields who is in the Top 10 in a series of categories amongst rookies. The move would bring Carmelo Anthony to New York and perhaps land the Knicks a 3rd of 4th seed in the Eastern Conference. With Carmelo Anthony joining Stoudemire , the Knicks will then become a respectable playoff team, but as of now, they’ll be lucky to even make the secound round.