With New York Knicks starting power forward Amar’e Stoudemire set to miss the first two weeks of the regular season because of cysts in his knee, the question was and perhaps still is whether Kurt Thomas, the oldest active player in the NBA at 40, would get the starting nod from head coach Mike Woodson.
Apparently, Carmelo Anthony has answered that question, saying he’ll be the one to start at the four while Stoudemire is out, according to a report on Tuesday from Frank Isola of The New York Daily News:
“I’m pretty sure I’ll be there,” Anthony said on Sunday about the power forward spot. “I don’t have no problem. I’ve played it last year. I played four-five the whole summer. I have no problem playing that position. It’s just a matter of us having guys at that position with Amar’e being healthy and things like that and Kurt Thomas and Rasheed (Wallace). So now I guess it’s back to the drawing board with me at the power forward position.”
Woodson said that possibly moving Anthony from his traditional role as a small forward to the power forward spot would no doubt create mismatches because of his agility given his size, pointing to the pick-and-rolls that he would execute with starting point guard Raymond Felton:
“It’s kind of a nightmare for a lot of (power forwards) in this league because he’s capable of doing so much offensively,” Mike Woodson said on Monday. “He can come off screens, can run pick-and-rolls, isolation and post. There’s a variety of things he can do (against) bigger fours that have to guard him.”
J.R. Smith would potentially move in to Anthony’s regular spot at the three but he remains sidelined with an Achilles injury. Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doug Collins said it’d be scary to see what the 6’8″ and 230-pound Anthony would do on a nightly basis at the four:
“He’s that nightmare matchup if he plays the three because he can overpower threes,” said Sixers coach Doug Collins. “And if he plays the four, in most instances he’s going to beat that guy with quickness.”
The experiment, whether or not a success, would likely be short-lived. Stoudemire, who bounced back with mixed success after microfracture surgery on the same knee that is now being treated for cysts, should be back in the line-up by the second week of the regular season. The Knicks tip off at the Nets’ new arena in Brooklyn on Nov. 1 and then open up at home in Madison Square Garden a day later against the Miami Heat.