Opening Tip: Melo/STAT or Melo/Lee?

Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.

Today's Burning Question: In hindsight, would the Knicks have been better off creating a Carmelo Anthony/Amar'e Stoudemire pairing or a Melo/David Lee one?

There is something to be said about being a superstar in the NBA. You get more calls.

That was the case for Stoudemire in the summer of 2010 when he was one of the most coveted free agents. That influenced the Knicks to sign-and-trade Lee to the Warriors to make room for Stoudemire, and the move has paid off.

Not only did STAT help the Knicks get back to their winning ways while being among the league leaders in points per game, his play and superstar status (at the time) likely persuaded Anthony to want to suit up in New York. In Feb. 2011, that became a reality, and later that year, Tyson Chandler signed with the Knicks, completing the big three. In fact, the center said that Stoudemire was the reason he wanted to wear the blue and orange.

While Lee's production has remained consistently potent in his three seasons in Golden State, Stoudemire has been one of the most efficient players in the league, even with his drop-off in minutes. Case in point: On Sunday, he scored 22 points in 22 minutes in the Knicks' win.

Of course, one of the key questions is: How would the different pairings fare on the court? With Lee mostly being a scorer off high screens and post-ups, he would likely jell well with Anthony, who demands the ball more from the outside. Melo and Lee could run pick-and-rolls together, but guess what? Lee's game style represents why now Melo and Stoudemire are playing better together. Stoudemire is not demanding the ball from midrange, where Melo lives; STAT has now taken his game inside to complement Melo's attack.

Overall, while Lee would obviously provide more points and rebounds than Stoudemire -- especially because of the minutes differential -- the Knicks wouldn't be the same Knicks right now if it weren't for STAT.

Which pairing do you think would be better? Leave us your comments below.

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