Camby’s Return to Knicks Could Spur Rotation Crunch


GREENBURGH, N.Y. —
After missing most of the preseason and the first three games of the season with a calf strain, Marcus Camby’s Knicks season debut will come Friday night against the Dallas Mavericks.

The addition of the 6-foot-11 Camby will add depth to the Knicks frontcourt, but it could also present challenges for head coach Mike Woodson in terms of allocating minutes going forward.

Woodson will now have Camby, Rasheed Wallace and Kurt Thomas to back up the center and power forward spots, but each guy’s minutes will be based on how he performs.

“I got to figure that out,” Woodson said Thursday. “That’s what I’m paid to do. I’ve said all along: it’s not how many minutes you get. It’s what you do with the minutes that you get. I’m a big believer in that. I’m not here to satisfy anybody. I’m here to coach this team the best way I’m capable of coaching it along with the staff. When you get in the game you’ve got to perform and play.”

Woodson’s task will get even tougher when Amar’e Stoudemire returns. He is expected back in mid- to late-December after missing time with a ruptured left popliteal cyst.

Stoudemire’s minutes will be taken away from Thomas and Wallace at the four spot, with the 40-year-old Thomas potentially the odd man out.

Still, Woodson would rather have too many options than too few.

“I think that was the whole idea when we went out this summer and tried to fill our ball club for this upcoming season,” Woodson said. “I feel great about everybody that we’ve got in uniform. I think everybody can play and help us win at a high level. It’s just a matter of us doing it each day we step on this practice floor and when we go to the game to carry over to our ball games.”

In the meantime, Camby will play limited minutes Friday backing up Tyson Chandler at the five.

“It’s going to be huge,” Chandler said. “He can put in some postiive minutes. Not just backup minutes but some positive minutes out there. He can make a lot of things happen. Marcus has been a special player throughout his career so I’m definitely glad to have him on our side.”

Chandler said he’s not worried about the frontcourt rotation and how minutes will be allocated going forward.

“The good thing about this team and the big guys that we have, we’re all at points in our career, we just want to win,” Chandler said. “Whether it’s myself, Marcus, Kurt, Rasheed and then we get ‘STAT’ back he can rotate us all, whatever matchup he sees fit.”

For his part, Camby said he’s excited to play but he has no expectations in terms of minutes. He just doesn’t want to screw up the team’s 3-0 start.

“I’m not demanding anything,” Camby said. “I’m happy to be here, so I’m just happy to contribute. My big-time minutes I had in this league are long gone. I just want to contribute when my name is called.”

Photo: NY Post

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