http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/knicks ... ome-credit
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- You're a six-time All-Star with a $100 million contract. You've started 97 percent of the games you've suited up over 10 years in the NBA.
Due to circumstances largely outside of your control, your head coach is asking you to accept a role off the bench.
What do you do?
Do you put up a fight and demand to start, team chemistry be damned?
Or do you swallow your pride, take a seat and hope for the best?
Amar'e Stoudemire chose the latter.
And, so far, it couldn't have worked out better for Stoudemire or the Knicks.
In his first month back following arthroscopic knee surgery, Stoudemire has thrived in his role as a reserve for the first-place Knicks.
The 30-year-old power forward has scored in double figures in seven straight games, hitting 37 of 57 shots in that span.
The Knicks have won five of seven during that stretch.
And Stoudemire's made an imprint on each of the victories. The latest example was his 14-point outing against Orlando on Wednesday. Stoudemire made all seven of his shot attempts in 21 minutes.
"He's accepting his role," Mike Woodson said after the game.
And he's done so without hesitation.
“I didn’t really put much thought into it all. I had confidence in Coach Woodson to know what it takes for this team to win," Stoudemire said on Tuesday. "These guys (the Knicks coaching staff) study the game twice as much as any player does and (Woodson) understands what it takes for us to be successful. Once the coaching staff presented me with the opportunity to better the team, I was totally open to it."
Stoudemire has averaged 12.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in 22 minutes for the Knicks (28-15).
If the team continues to win with Stoudemire as a reserve, his drama-free shift to the bench will be one of the season's most important developments.
This is what we really stuck out to me, something that some Knicks fans quickly forget.
"He started this whole thing," Chandler said in September. "The reason why we're here is because of him. The reason why I was willing to be a Knick is because of him. The reason why Melo was willing to be traded here was because of him. So I feel like we all have a little thanks to give to Amar'e."
I gotta tell ya, this article makes me really happy. A lot of the fan base has written Amare off, but a select few, like myself, have remained loyal and confident that he can make it work. Sure, he still has much to improve on defense. But he's buying into everything he's being told. His quickness is coming back, he's showing off new post moves, and is much more active on the boards and around the rim. I think that his transition so far has been remarkable, and it really says something that he can cause absolutely no drama in such a potentially volatile situation.