3 Knicks questions for rest of NBA season
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Can Carmelo Anthony be the superstar who leads the Knicks?
Acquired one year ago Tuesday to so much fanfare, Anthony was the lethal scorer the Knicks needed to compete with the elite in this star-driven league. Now he has to prove he can coexist with an undrafted former Harvard point guard, yet do enough to turn the Knicks from a mediocre team to a powerhouse. Anthony's passing ability is underrated, and once he scrapes off the rust from his two-week layoff, his shots should start falling more consistently. His scoring and shot-making will open up things for everyone and will be needed in the playoffs. Anthony just needs to play within the offense.
Can the Lin-sanity continue?
Jeremy Lin has had some hiccups -- high turnovers, poor defense on Deron Williams -- but there's no reason to believe he can't continue being an effective, if not spectacular, point guard in Mike D'Antoni's system. Lin is averaging 24.6 points and 9.4 assists in nine starts. Teams will start guarding him differently now that they've scouted him. But with the firepower the Knicks can put on the floor, opponents will have to give up something. That could create more openings for Lin to make plays for himself and his teammates. Making sure everyone is involved will be a big challenge for Lin.
Will the real Amar'e Stoudemire stand up?
After an MVP-caliber first half last season, Stoudemire seems to have lost some of the mobility and explosiveness that made him one of the game's best finishers. He's getting his shot blocked inside at least once a night and has been invisible for long stretches of games. Stoudemire spent much of the offseason strengthening his back and away from the basketball court and that may have affected his lift. He was expected to benefit most from Lin and the return of the pick-and-roll. D'Antoni will have to look to establish Stoudemire more in the second half for balance and to have an inside presence.
Read two more bonus questions in Al Iannazzone's Knicks blog.