NEW YORK — To hear Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller and Greg Anthony tell it, the Knicks are “doomed” without Amar’e Stoudemire.
“They can’t get past the second round, I’m not sure they can get past the first round with him or without him,” Barkley told SNY.tv Monday morning at the Turner Sports and CBS Sports NCAA Tournament media day. “It’s just going to depend on the matchups.”
The Knicks announced Saturday that Stoudemire is out for the remainder of the regular season with a right knee debridement. He already missed 30 games to start the season after coming back from left knee surgery. The Knicks must now rely on 35-year-old Kenyon Martin to play key minutes in Stoudemire’s absence.
Meantime, Carmelo Anthony is listed as questionable for tonight’s game at Golden State with a sore right knee. He missed two games last week, and the Knicks have given no further update on his status.
“Well, they got no chance if he’s not healthy, zero,” Barkley said of Anthony. “I mean, they got a fighting chance to win a first-round series if he’s healthy. But I don’t see them getting past the second round.”
If the playoffs began today, the Knicks (38-22) would be the No. 2 seed and would face Atlanta in the first round. But they are only half a game ahead of Indiana for the 2 seed.
“I have said all along, I think Indiana is the second-best team in the East and the Derrick Rose thing is there,” Barkley said. “And as I said all season those to me are the top three teams in the East [Miami, Indiana and Chicago].”
Barkley said he’s always thought the Knicks — who now feature six players over 35 — are too old.
“People say I don’t like the Knicks, I think that’s really unfair,” Barkley said. “What I said about the Knicks, I said No. 1, they too old to stay healthy. They can’t keep shooting 3’s like that and they don’t rebound the ball. I said that in November, I said that in December, I said that in January and February. Now everything I said is coming true and people are like, ‘Well, I guess you were right.'”
He added: “I would love to see the Knicks do well, it would be great for the NBA. They couldn’t keep up that pace, they couldn’t keep it up.”
Miller, now a TNT analyst, added similar sentiments, predicting “Doom” for the Knicks.
“I know [Stoudemire] was coming off the bench, he had a minute-restriction,” Miller said. “But your best player in Carmelo is going to have to be healthy this last month, month and a half going into the playoffs. They’re trying to hold onto that No. 2 slot. I think Indiana will probably get that No. slot. But they’ve gotta have a healthy Carmelo or they’re not going anywhere.”
Like Barkley, Miller also likes Indiana to go deep.
“I have Indiana and Miami in the conference finals,” he said.
Former Knick guard Greg Anthony concurs that the Stoudemire loss is big.
“The thing about Amar’e, he was the only dynamic, athletic interior scorer they had,” Anthony said. “Your system is there to help you get to the postseason. Great players help you win in the postseason and so any time you lose a great player, it’s going to have a tremendous impact.”