NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Ten Knicks average more playing time per game than Amar’e Stoudemire.
The 6-foot-10 power forward says that’s unacceptable, considering doctors have not put a limit on his minutes since the season started.
“That’s a coach’s decision at the end of the day,’’ Stoudemire said Tuesday, taking aim at coach Mike Woodson. “I feel great. I am ready to play. But it’s up to him if he wants to play me or not.’’
Woodson must have his reasons for not playing Stoudemire, who is clearly not the same player he once was but could light a spark under a team currently 19-29, and in 10th place in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Stoudemire has struggled with injury after injury over the last few seasons, but said he feels as good now as he has in a long time. But for whatever reason, Woodson is not paying attention.
“Yeah, I talk to coach all the time about it,’’ Stoudemire said. “He knows I’m ready. He knows how hard I train. He watches me in the weight room and also on the basketball court. The whole training staff knows, the Knicks organization knows how hard I train. I’m ready to play, but it depends on how the game’s played.’’
Stoudemire is averaging just 18.9 minutes and 9.3 points per game, career lows if you don’t count the 2005-06 season with the Phoenix Suns in which he played in just three games due to injury.
The 31-year-old former No. 9 overall pick by Phoenix returned from a seven-game absence against Miami on Saturday, scoring 2 points in a little more than four minutes of the 106-91 loss. Stoudemire then scored 7 points in nearly 17 minutes in the Knicks’ embarrassing 101-98 defeat to league worst Milwaukee on Monday.
He said he’s ready to help the Knicks make a run at a playoff spot, but the rest is up to Woodson.
“I feel great, man. It don’t take much for me. I have been playing at a high level my entire career. I know what it takes to get back to the top of the game. I know what it takes to feel confident. That’s never going to go away,’’ said Stoudemire, who is averaging 20.7 points and 8.4 rebounds over his 12-year career. “It’s just a matter of how the coach is going to play me. I am available if they need me. If not, then we go with that.’’
The Knicks return to action Wednesday against visiting Portland.
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