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SportsColumnistsAl Iannazzone

Knicks guards say Amar'e Stoudemire won't disrupt chemistry

Amar'e Stoudemire stretches after practice. (Oct. 5, 2012)

Amar'e Stoudemire stretches after practice. (Oct. 5, 2012) Photo Credit: David Pokress

The man who said "the Knicks are back" three summers ago will be back soon. But Amar'e Stoudemire's return already has some concerned that he will disrupt what the Knicks have created.

This may sound familiar. Similar things were said about Carmelo Anthony's return from injury when Jeremy Lin was the hottest thing in town last February.

Let things play out.

It's a different time, a different team and a different coach. Perhaps the biggest thing is that the Knicks have two veteran point guards committed to not only making Anthony and Stoudemire effective but making sure the Knicks get better and don't take a step back.

"We're going to make sure it works," Raymond Felton said. "He ain't going to do nothing but make us better."

"He has the ability to get us over the hump," Jason Kidd said. "For us as teammates, our job is to get him in the right spots so he is successful."

Felton played 53 games with Stoudemire in 2010-11 and they had great chemistry. Kidd has logged 1,337 NBA games. All the future Hall of Famer has done his whole career is get his teammates the ball in the right spot and make them better.

So hearing that it won't work with Stoudemire is motivating Kidd and Felton to prove the critics wrong.

"He's part of this team," Kidd said. "He's going to help us be successful. That's the only way I look at it and I think that's the way the team looks at it."

"We're going to figure it out," Felton said. "I know everybody trying to put this big knock that these guys can't play together, Melo and Amar'e can't play together. That's me, Jason, Pablo [Prigioni] -- that's our job to make sure that it does happen. He's got a great deal of talent. I know what he can do. What he can do is only going to help us."

Mike Woodson said he will address Stoudemire's role when he's ready to play. It makes sense to bring him off the bench at the start -- and maybe for good. But if he's all the way back and explosive, Stoudemire might start.

This goes against conventional doomsday thinking, but Stoudemire actually could make the Knicks stronger. He's a six-time All-Star, a career 21.7-point scorer and one of the better power forwards in the game.

Stoudemire could clog up things at times. Woodson has to figure out how to prevent that. But Stoudemire also will create shots for his teammates. You have to guard him. He'll also balance the team. The Knicks could play more conventionally, not rely on three-pointers so much and rebound better.

Stoudemire is saying all the right things about doing "whatever it takes to win." He probably means it because he has seen this team go 19-7 without him this season, and 34-12 overall the last two years.

Stoudemire doesn't want to disrupt things. He understands he will have to take on a lesser role. The Knicks have changed their style. It's Anthony's team and they're winning. On this veteran team, winning should be the only thing that matters.

"I think whatever happens, Amar'e is going to take it, he's going to understand," Felton said. "Whether it's starting or coming off the bench, whatever it is, he's going to be willing to do it. He's just ready to get back out on the court."

Deron's diss

Deron Williams was telling the truth when he said Jerry Sloan's system is better than Avery Johnson's and that he's not comfortable playing in it. But you know where this is heading.

If the Nets keep losing and Johnson loses his job, Williams will be considered a coach-killer. He's already been blamed for Sloan's resignation from the Jazz two years ago.

The Nets are stumbling and they gave Williams $98.7 million to be their franchise player. With that comes the responsibility of lifting the team and his teammates, especially given that he's the point guard.

Williams hasn't done that, or played at an All-Star level this season. That's on him as much as the system.

E-Lee-te company

Former Knicks All-Star David Lee had a historic road trip recently. He had at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in each of the seven games the Warriors played on their trip. The last player to do that was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1972 when he did it in every game of a nine-game trip. Lee averaged 23.6 points and 13.7 rebounds on the 6-1 trip.

Experience isn't everything

The age-versus-youth factor was a concern for Houston coach Kevin McHale when the Rockets visited the Garden last Monday. "They have like 130 years of experience total among their players," McHale said. "I think we have like 30. They've only got us by a hundred years." But the Knicks looked 100 years older at times, and it seemed as if they were down 100 points to Houston this season. Jeremy Lin and the Rockets built a 27-point lead Monday and led by 29 last month in Houston.

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