Knicks’ superstar Amar’e Stoudemire and rookie Iman Shumpert, both previously listed as game-time decisions for tonight’s game at home vs. the Bobcats, will both be in uniform, ready to go, says Coach Mike D’Antoni.
Though Shumpert’s NBA debut (a 3 for 13 shooting performance vs. the Celtics on Christmas Day) was not one to brag home about, it has been obvious that the Knicks have sorely missed the offensive both he and Stoudemire can provide.
As Coach D’Antoni still tries to establish a flow in his team’s offense, it will be interesting to see how he reinserts STAT. One can only hope that there is enough cohesiveness on the floor needed help the Knicks’ captain get the ball in right places. Stoudemire converting on the latter end of pick and roll’s is vital to the Knicks’ success on offense. He will be in the starting lineup tonight, bumping rookie Josh Harrellson back to the bench after an ever so humbling performance against the Raptors on Monday during which he only scored two points.
As for Shumpert, it is unclear how high his level of production can and truly will be. With that in mind, the Knicks have yet to find a reliable scoring option off the bench. “Shump Shump” proved to be a tad trigger happy while playing college ball at Georgia Tech (as well as in his NBA debut), but if the majority of shots come while STAT or Melo rest on the bench, perhaps his prominence as a shooter will be welcomed and/or even desired by the Knicks. Beyond Stoudemire and Anthony, no Knickerbocker is yet to implement himself as next option on offense. This void may provide Shumpert to fill Douglas’ shoes as the much needed scoring boost off the pine.
In tonight’s game, the Knicks will look to start a trend, out to prove they can put away (and not be pushed around by) the weaker teams of the NBA. The Charlotte Bobcats stand in their way.
UConn alum and Brooklyn native Kemba Walker also returns home to the Garden tonight as his new NBA team takes on the Knicks.