Josh Cohen’s Analysis: The debate has steadily been: Can Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire coexist? Ever since New York acquired Melo just a few months after signing Amar’e two seasons ago, that has been the dilemma for the Knicks. Yet, that really isn’t the primary issue. The concern is whether Stoudemire is still an All-Star talent or just a popular name with a laundry list of injuries derailing his career. If NY wants to contend for a title, Amar’e, once believed to be a top five power forward in the league, must not be another victim of the familiar injury bug. And when I say injury bug, I mean Gilbert Arenas, Brandon Roy, Tracy McGrady, Michael Redd type severity. Once among the best, but damaged upon return.
Cohen’s Analysis: Any regret in New York for not matching Houston’s offer sheet on Jeremy Lin? The Knicks have flourished in the post-Linsanity era, largely because Carmelo Anthony has complete control and Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton, prior to injuring his finger that will cost him a few weeks, have been stellar. Yet, it still baffles me that dollar signs and marketing power didn’t prevail. Aside from LeBron and Kobe, Lin is probably the most saleable player in the league. Credit to NY for caring more about basketball performance than proceeds. I guess.
Cohen’s Analysis: Was a Dwight Howard to Knicks trade ever an option last year and was a package between NY and Orlando ever considered? One Eastern Conference executive last season said the Knicks were more than willing to deal Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler to try and attain Howard. But it seemed obvious that Stoudemire’s troubled knees, overall plagued health and encumbered contract were never appealing to the Magic. The same executive didn’t believe the Knicks were ever considering trading Carmelo Anthony.
Cohen’s Analysis: Ever since I proclaimed that Arron Afflalo is the fifth best shooting guard in the NBA right now, I’ve been getting a lot of rebuttal. We are all in agreement that Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, James Harden and Manu Ginobili are the top four, but there is a widespread disagreement over who is next on the list. Some think it is Joe Johnson, but his statistics this season have plummeted. Afflalo is enjoying the best season of his career. There really aren’t too many other options to consider. Monta Ellis? Klay Thompson? Andre Iguodala? JR Smith? I’m sticking with Afflalo.
Cohen’s Analysis: Who is the more valuable Sixth Man? J.J. Redick or JR Smith? Well, Smith, on one hand, is the kind of player that can shoot you in games and shoot you right out of them. Never bashful, JR is a relentless scorer and can hit the clutch shot when necessary. Redick, on the other hand, is much more adaptable and resourceful. Both are leading candidates for the Sixth Man of the Year Award.
Cohen’s Analysis: The hype around the Knicks is very similar to the propaganda that surrounded the Bulls the last two seasons. They are thriving in the regular season, but are by and large a one-man band. In contrast to Chicago, however, New York’s complimentary players like Jason Kidd, JR Smith, Steve Novak and Raymond Felton rely on perimeter shots to succeed. The Bulls depend on their length inside with Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson. Against an opponent like Miami, which prospers off explosiveness and easy baskets, New York will have to find a solution when the outside shot isn’t falling. Unless Amar’e Stoudemire discovers his game, it will be difficult for the Knicks to march to the NBA Finals if they don’t shoot lights out from 3-point land.