The Knicks haven’t consistently been part of NBA All-Star weekend since the Patrick Ewing era ended more than a decade ago.
A new era ushered in by Amar’e Stoudemire and Landry Fields, though, have the orange and blue back on center stage at the midway point. Stoudemire was voted a starter for Sunday’s All-Star game, surpassing rival Kevin Garnett in the final days of voting, while Fields, a second-round pick, was invited to play in the Rookie Challenge. Stoudemire will actually coach his teammate in the game between first- and second-year players as an assistant coach.
“It’s great that the fans voted me to start in the All-Star game,” Stoudemire said following Wednesday night’s win over the Atlanta Hawks. “To represent New York in L.A. is a great achievement for me.”
Stoudemire is averaging career numbers across the board and is a serious contender for MVP in his first season as the unequivocal franchise player. He’s led the Knicks to 28 wins at the break, matching their average season total from the previous five seasons.
The road has been different for Fields, however, as the Stanford product was a steal with the 39th pick. Fellow rookies Blake Griffin and John Wall will also beat at the Staples Center this weekend, but it’s hard to argue that any rookie has been more of a pleasant surprise than Fields.
Almost an afterthought following the draft, Fields wrestled control of the starting shooting guard spot after only a handful of exhibition games and hasn’t let up since.
“I knew coming into this that I had to show a lot of people what I could do,” said Fields, who leads all NBA guards in rebounding. “My game is a lot of versatility … and [I have a] high basketball intelligence.”
Field: Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Baron Davis, Derek Fisher, Tony Parker, Derrick Rose, John Wall and Russell Westbrook
Our pick: There’s a reason this as touted as “Chris Paul vs. the World.” Gotta go with CP3, despite his recent struggles. Curry has to be a sleeper and the crowd favorite.
Field: Ray Allen, Kevin Durant, Daniel Gibson, James Jones, Paul Pierce, Dorell Wright
Our pick: We figure this will come down to Allen, the 2001 champ, and Pierce, who won it last year. Our heart says Allen, our head says Pierce — by a hair.