The Knicks will put a revamped approach to offense, centered around Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, to the test Friday night against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden.
The star-focused system, introduced by interim coach Mike Woodson, suggested a diminished scoring role for Jeremy Lin in the new setup.
"He’s going to utilize his leading scorers, myself and Carmelo, make sure he takes advantage of every opportunity on the court," Stoudemire said after Thursday’s practice in Westchester.
In his first session since replacing Mike D’Antoni, Woodson put the team through a series of structured, deliberate set plays that were absent in the outgoing coach’s read-and-react speedball offense, the New York Post reported.
"It’s going to be different for us," Stoudemire said. "Coach Woodson has his offense and offensive schemes. We have to readjust to that."
Stoudemire suggested the team was on board with the changes ahead of Friday’s game, the second under Woodson following Wednesday night’s blowout win over the Trail Blazers at MSG.
"We are all receiving it well. We’re excited about it. We can’t wait to play in the new offense," he said.
Woodson confirmed Stoudemire and Anthony’s experience made them his "go-to guys" for the final stretch and indicated that Lin still was in a "learning stage."
Lin said he was ready to work under the new regime.
"I love D’Antoni’s system, and it was perfect for me," Lin said after Thursday’s practice. "But I’d never been in D’Antoni’s system until this year, so I’ve played in other systems before. It’s going back to what I was doing before."
He added, "You’ve got to learn and sacrifice and be part of this team, and we’ll figure out what we’re gonna change again. It’s part of the process … Someone might get hurt, someone might be playing well and roles will change again."
Lin thrived at first under D’Antoni’s speedball system as the previously struggling Knicks went on a thrilling mid-season run, while Anthony was sidelined with a groin injury.
But the breakthrough point guard’s performances dipped, while Stoudemire and the returning Anthony looked out of sorts as the team went on a desperate losing run.
The skid culminated in reports of a breakdown in Anthony and D’Antoni’s relationship before the coach resigned Wednesday, apparently deciding not enough players had faith in his methods.
Asked if this is now Anthony’s team again, Woodson said, "It’s everybody’s ballclub. But I want everyone to know that when it comes [crunch] time and I got to get a big shot, I’m going to Melo and Amar’e and guys who have done it. A lot of these guys are young and still trying to figure it out. Those guys have been around the block a number of times and have done it. They’ll be go-to guys coming down the stretch."
Stoudemire endorsed Woodson’s attempt to draw more from the franchise’s two superstars.
"We’ve been profound scorers all our careers," he said. "He wants to make sure we take advantage of that."