Amar’e Stoudemire will be shelved at least three weeks with a ruptured cyst behind his left knee, Rasheed Wallace was only cleared to practice yesterday and Marcus Camby is still working his way back into the mix after suffering a calf injury. In other words, the Knicks may be forced to make drastic moves at the power forward position.
Enter small forward Carmelo Anthony, who is the latest on-the-fly adjustment for head coach Mike Woodson. Anthony, an All-Star small forward, gave Knicks’ fans a taste of what’s likely to come when he started at power forward during the team’s preseason matchup against the 76ers Monday night at Anthony’s alma mater Syracuse University.
The 6-foot-7 Anthony played to mixed reviews, scoring a team-high 23 points, but it came on 23 shots (with just seven makes). He also had trouble passing out of the Sixers' double and sometimes triple-teams — and sometimes refused to pass out altogether.
“He’s kind of a nightmare for a lot of [power forwards] in this league because he’s capable of doing so much offensively,” Woodson said of Anthony. “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.”
Truth be told, Woodson may have a point, because Anthony may actually be better at power forward than the 6-foot-10 pick-and-pop Stoudemire, simply because Anthony plays a style of “bully-ball” on the blocks that Stoudemire has really yet to show during his career.
Woodson noted the defending champion Heat have extensively used smaller lineups, including playing Chris Bosh at center and LeBron James at power forward.
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Anthony, who used to be staunchly against playing long minutes at power forward, has changed his tune recently and sounded excited about the new prospect.
“I don’t have a problem. I’ve played it last year. I played four-five [power forward/center] the whole summer,” Anthony said of the position switch. “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.”
Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.