The Knicks have now paired two of the NBA's best scorers on one team. Anthony is sixth in the league with 25.2 points per game, while Amar'e Stoudemire scores 26.1. It's a historic pairing, and if the numbers hold, the Knicks would become the fifth team in the past 20 years to have two players average at least 25 points per game. This may sound like a nice piece of trivia, but it's actually great news for the Knicks: Rarely have high-profile scorers failed to deliver.
It's commonly believed that basketball is about the little things—defense, hustling, chemistry—but many of the great teams in NBA history featured elite scorers and little else. Elgin Baylor and Jerry West hit the mark five times with the Lakers, and the title-winning 1987 Celtics had Kevin McHale and Larry Bird do it.
The Knicks don't have much experience with pure scorers. They haven't had a tandem average even 20 points each in the past 30 years, and the last time it was happening regularly—when Walt Frazier and Willis Reed did it twice in the early '70s, it resulted in the team's 1970 NBA title.
In the past 20 years, only four NBA teams have had two players average 25 points per game over a full season: Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant averaged 25-plus for three straight seasons in L.A.—winning titles in two of them. Anthony and Allen Iverson both hit the 25-point mark for Denver in 2007-08 in a 50-win season.
STAR POWERTeamwork is important in a lot of sports—just not basketball. Knicks team president Donnie Walsh said that it is his experience that great players usually figure out a way to play together and win. As long as Stoudemire and Anthony do that, it looks likely the Knicks will contend because stars are prerequisites for success. With the exception of possibly the 2004 Detroit Pistons, whose best player was forward Rasheed Wallace, every NBA champion in recent memory has held at least one mega-star and sometimes more—Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan have all led their teams to championships in the past two decades.
Sorry, Wilson Chandler, but you probably aren't going to be hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy any time soon.