Starks: STAT's a team player, he'll fit in

One of the biggest unknowns of this Knicks season is the state of Amar'e Stoudemire.

Will Stoudemire's knees remain healthy enough to allow him to contribute? Or will he suffer through another injury-plagued year this season, just as he did in 2012-13?

Obviously, there's no way to predict Amar'e's health. But one member of the Knicks organization is confident that Stoudemire can have a strong year.

"He'll fit in very well," John Starks, an ex-Knick who serves as an Alumni Relations advisor with the organization, said by phone. "People forget, he's a team player. I've been around this team for quite some time with Amare. I can honestly say he's a team player; he's going to do what he has to do in order to win. He understands where he's at from a physical standpoint. Coach [Mike] Woodson knows where he wants Amar'e to fit in and we'll see where it goes."

Another potential issue for Stoudemire is the presence of Andrea Bargnani. Bargnani could usurp Stoudemire's minutes this season. It depends on who Woodson includes in his starting lineup. If both Bargnani and Stoudemire are coming off the bench, it could be difficult for Woodson to find minutes for Stoudemire.

No matter what role Woodson chooses for Stoudemire, Starks is confident that the 11-year veteran will accept his role.

"He's got a championship heart and that's what you have to have," said Starks, who spoke with ESPNNewYork.com courtesy of Ektio, a sneaker brand which makes a shoe that offers unique ankle support for its users and is endorsed by Starks. "Guys have to sacrifice; he's probably sacrificed more than anybody else on the team. He understands what the goal is -- that's why he came to New York and my hat's off to him because he's been doing everything that coach asked him to do."

Stoudemire averaged 14.2 points and five rebounds on 57 percent shooting last season. He was limited to just 29 regular season games last season due to two knee surgeries and missed 32 games due to various injuries the season before.

He will play on a minutes restriction this season. It is unclear at this point what the restriction will be, but last season Stoudemire was limited to 20 minutes per game.

QUESTION: How do you think Amar'e fits in with this year's team? Do you think he can have a successful year?

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