If there's been one thing to set your clock to over the last few years of Knicks basketball, it has been that the team will make some kind of recalibration on the fly.
So many players worked their way into and out of the lineup that it is hard to remember them all and even harder to recall a moment when the Knicks actually seemed settled. This year has been more successful in the standings, but no more stable on the court as the likes of Rasheed Wallace, Marcus Camby, Iman Shumpert, Kenyon Martin, James White, Chris Copeland, Pablo Prigioni and Amar'e Stoudemire have all moved in and out of the lineup so far this season.
Stoudemire's story is the key one for the moment, since his return on January 1 radically changed the look of the team and his reintegration into the team was building to points where it finally seemed like he could coexist and thrive alongside Anthony and Chandler. And, more than that, it seemed like the Knicks finally reached a place where they could build on what they had instead of the eternal waiting game to start that process.
With Stoudemire now out for six weeks to deal with a problem in his right knee (not the knee that kept him out until the start of 2013), the Knicks are left to reinvent themselves once more. Stoudemire's trip up to 30 minutes a game had seriously altered the Knicks' rotation and approach, making the forward a key offensive part of the plan all over again while also limiting how heavily the Knicks would have to rely on Anthony to generate scoring for them over the rest of the season.
Now that's all gone and the Knicks will have to scramble to replace Stoudemire's minutes and productivity on the fly. Some will point out how well things went before Stoudemire's return, but it's pretty much the textbook definition of a pipe dream to think the Knicks are about to go back to hitting 40 percent of their threes for the rest of the regular season and playoffs. Stoudemire got them shots close to the basket, he got them free throws and those aren't things that many other Knicks have shown an affinity for doing.
It would be easier to feel bullish if Anthony were healthy, but he has missed three straight and seems destined to be worn down into the ground minutes-wise for the Knicks to have any shot this season. It would also be easier if the team were trying to reinvent themselves once more without the prospect of a five-game road trip through the Western Conference staring them in the eye.
That's what the schedule is giving them, starting Monday against the Warriors, and the Knicks will have to make the best of it. They've proven to be fairly resilient this season and they've figured out ways to win at less than full strength, but there comes a point when you have to wonder about the wisdom of surrounding an older team with a long injury history with older depth with their own injury issues.
It was always a risky way to go, but the Knicks have thus far avoided any massive pitfalls. With Stoudemire down, it's going be harder to do that for a team that is going to have to come up with a new approach to see this season through to the end.
At least they've got experience on that front.