There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not having both STAT and Melo in the starting lineup together is a good thing. I understand the concern about STAT fitting in, but on the other hand it seems a little ridiculous. Every great team needs at least two consistent scoring options. STAT provides that second scoring option. I think STAT coming back into the starting line up will only make the Knicks even better. I mean, before STAT got injured, he was actually the best and most consistent scorer for the Knicks during that stretch when Woodson took over. In fact, right before he got injured, he was looking great. Very explosive and he had his shot. Looked like the old STAT. He was also defending great. He had several memorable blocks. And now that Melo finally is healthy mentally and physically and playing out of his mind, I don’t think he’ll have a problem co-existing with STAT. I think he’ll welcome the help, since he hasn’t been getting offensive help consistently. The problem with Melo before was that he lost his confidence and lost his shooting rhythm. Now that he’s got it back, he won’t have any problem sharing the glory with someone else, so he and STAT will co-exist well together and make the Knicks that much tougher to beat. For example, we really needed STAT in the game against the Heat that we lost. So I can’t wait to have STAT back. He will probably have some rust in tonight’s game, as well as in the next game or so, but overall having STAT back will be good for the Knicks.
All of the stats that I keep reading about that “prove” Melo and STAT together don’t work are missing one critical thing in my view: Woodson. I hate to bash anyone, but D’Antoni is a one-trick pony. And I think he’s really been exposed as a coach that is rigid in his system and doesn’t take into consideration the players that he’s coaching. He just has one cookie cutter and everyone is expected to fit into it, whereas Woodson plays to each player’s strength. Woodson knows how to get the best out of his players, because he actually listens to them, rather than forcing them to fit into a system they’re not comfortable with. Woodson also understands the psychology of the game much better than D’Antoni. That’s why it was so important for him to stress accountability from every player–especially the stars. He made the stars feel a sense of significance again. D’Antoni just used passive-aggressiveness to deal with players that didn’t buy into his system. I have confidence that Woodson will make it work and we’ll all look back and wonder why this issue was ever debatable. I mean, Woodson already made it work with Melo, STAT, and Lin all in the starting lineup and this was when Anthony didn’t have his offensive rhythm. I can only think it would be even better this time around.