GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Amar'e Stoudemire is confident he'll be able to play 30 minutes per night this season.
"Oh, for sure. Having the year I had last year from a health standpoint is very positive. I hope it allows me to play even more this season," Stoudemire said Monday.
Stoudemire has been on a minutes restriction for much of the past two seasons due to various knee ailments. He might play on another minutes restriction this season.
Coach Derek Fisher said on Friday the Knicks will keep a close eye on Stoudemire's knees this year. Stoudemire hopes to play around 30 minutes per night, which is close to what he averaged last season in his final 20 games.
"I think toward the end of the year last year we got it to a 30-minute-a-night, 35-minute-a-night type deal," said Stoudemire, who is fully healthy entering camp for the first time in three years. "So I'm sure after I sit down with the coaches we'll pick out something that's going to be beneficial to both of us."
Another issue for Fisher to figure out will be whether to start Stoudemire or bring him off the bench.
Stoudemire said that playing in the starting lineup last season played an "intricate" role in his success. He also says that he hopes to "build around that" this season.
It wasn't exactly a demand from Stoudemire to be in the starting lineup, but it seemed like a subtle hint that he'd rather start than come off the bench.
"I think the way the season ended up last year was a positive step for myself and also for the team to be able to really capitalize on those minutes," Stoudemire, who is entering the final year of a five-year, $100 million contract, said. "That starting role was important as well. It played an intricate part in my success toward the second half of that year, so hopefully, we can build around that."
Fisher hasn't made up his mind on any starting positions other than to say that Carmelo Anthony will be in the starting lineup.
So there is a possibility that Stoudemire can start this season.
Stoudemire has mostly come off the bench for the past two seasons, but he started the final 20 games in which he played last season and played well, averaging 16.1 points on 57 percent shooting.
The Knicks went 14-6 in that span, evidence they can thrive with Stoudemire in the starting lineup.
Hardaway Jr. focused on defense: Tim Hardaway Jr. said he worked on "making sure my defense was on point" in the offseason.
"Just try to find easy ways to get steals and deflections. I know with the new staff that we have, Derek Fisher is going to help us out with that," Hardaway Jr. said. "I think I could be more effective talking on the defensive end, just being in the right spot at the right time. My rookie season I wasn't really good at that at all, so just trying to enhance that any way that I can and just improve on all aspects." .... Andrea Bargnani missed 43 games due to various injuries. The major injury was a ligament issue in his elbow that ended his season. He said Monday he's been fully healthy for several weeks but still needs to get in game shape.
Question: Do you think Stoudemire should be in the starting lineup this season?
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