Amar’e Stoudemire will lead the New York Knicks to the playoffs in the 2010-2011 season. Why, you ask? I am not one to take away too many things from the preseason, but one thing that was clear to see was the scoring ability of Stoudemire. He scored an NBA preseason-high 39 points against the Nets, and he will carry the offensive load for the team, and will be among the top five scorers in the NBA. He is clearly the best scorer on the Knick roster since Patrick Ewing, and in the system run by Coach Mike D’Antoni, a system he is familiar with from his days with the Phoenix Suns, he will excel.
The Knicks have several potential second scoring options, with the best being third-year player Danilo Gallinari, who made 186 three pointers last season, second-best in the league. Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Toney Douglas, and perhaps even rookie Landry Fields will provide additional scoring for the Knicks.
The Knicks have the ability to play defense now, and actually have players that can intimidate at the rim. Along with Stoudemire, Ronny Turiaf, Timofey Mozgov, Anthony Randolph, and Wilson Chandler all possess the ability to change a shot at the basket, something the Knicks haven’t had in years. Felton brings a defensive-minded attitude to the back court, and when combined with Douglas, this small, but quick and talented duo will cause problems with ball pressure.
On New York Knick Media day, many of the players talked about earning a playoff berth being the goal for this season. I think it is a reasonable goal, one they will attain, and playoff basketball will return to Madison Square Garden in April 2011, with Amar’e Stoudemire leading the way.