After missing the first two months of the NBA season, Amar’e Stoudemire made his return to the Knicks lineup on the first day of 2013. It didn’t look good early and there were some questioning whether the 30-year-old former All-Star’s career was over. Stoudemire was getting limited minutes, he looked incredibly rusty, he wasn’t rebounding at all and he was having a hard time finding his place with the Knicks. He looked like a shell of his former self. However, in the middle of January something started to click for Amar’e. He was getting healthier, he started to figure out what the Knicks needed from him and despite still getting limited minutes as he is eased back into the rotation, Stoudemire has played extremely well as the Knicks have won six of their last seven games.
Amar’e Stoudemire joined WFAN in New York with Boomer and Carton to talk about the difference for him now, if he was uncomfortable early in the season, whether he is okay with getting limited minutes moving forward, on Knicks coach Mike Woodson always being demanding of all his players, no matter who they are, if he thinks New York relies too much on the three pointer and if he is now 100 percent comfortable playing with Carmelo Anthony.
On the difference for him now:
“Right now it’s all about persevering man. I’ve been persevering my whole career. Right now, developing a low post game has been very important for me.”
If he was uncomfortable early in his return:
“No, not at all. I felt great physically, I felt comfortable. The game was a little fast the first three games but I wasn’t forcing the issue. You weren’t seeing incredible stats in the first few games of being out there because I wasn’t trying to force the issue.”
If he is okay with limited minutes going forward:
“Yeah, I’m fine with it. Whatever it takes to win. I’m not sure if I should keep saying it or not but whatever it takes to win I am totally open to it.”
On his comment about never being taught defense:
“I just think Coach Woodson is a defensive minded coach and he demands a lot from you defensively which required a certain amount of teaching to learn the details on the defensive end. A lot of those details I heard for the first time in my career. I wouldn’t say that I’ve never been taught defense but just to the magnitude of the expectation and details on the defensive end, that was the first time I heard a few of those terms.”
On Mike Woodson demanding defense from every player, no matter who they are:
“I think the main thing is, as good players we want to be great players. We want to become complete players and in order to become complete you have to play both ends of the court. You have to be able to score offensively and also become a great teammate. That’s what Carmelo and I are both focusing on is becoming complete, great players.”
Whether J.R. Smith is a different guy this year:
“He’s playing well. He’s doing everything we need him to do. When he comes into the game he’s scoring the ball at a high level and he’s definitely taking on that responsibility to play well and he is definitely doing that.”
If he thinks the Knicks rely too much on the three pointer:
“No we don’t. We just take it how the defense is playing us, that’s how we play. We counter off that. We do have a low post threat with myself and Tyson is doing a great job on the boards so we have interior play. Some teams play us inside out so if the three is open then we have to take them.”
Are you 100 percent comfortable on the court with Carmelo Anthony?
“Absolutely, absolutely. We totally feel comfortable. We know what our advantages are and we know our portion and what we can do so we’re taking advantage of it.”