Atlantic Links: Amare, Novak, Williams, Celtics

With tipoff at the Garden for Spurs-Knicks scheduled for 7:30ET, Mike Woodson announced a shake up in the starting lineup, plugging Marcus Camby into the power forward spot previously held by Kurt Thomas (via Ian Begley on Twitter). Here is all the other news coming out of the Atlantic on Thurday:

  • In an Insider-only piece, Chris Broussard of ESPN tackles the Amare Stoudemire conundrum in New York by asking five NBA minds – three assistant coaches and two longtime scouts – what the Knicks should do now that their enigmatic power forward is back.  The consensus is that Stoudemire should come off the bench initially, but as he gets healthier the opinions vary as to whether his game and mindset are up for becoming a complimentary piece on a title contender.
  • For those into NBA metrics, Henry Abbott at ESPN offers an interesting take on how it could be that the Knicks Steve Novak could have the same defensive rating as dominant defensive center Tyson Chandler, and most important, what it means with regard to statistics. 
  • Kirk Goldsberry of Grantland analyzes what it is to be an "attack guard" in today's NBA, and in turn reveals what has been a key factor in the decline of Nets point guard Deron Williams.  Goldsberry writes that Williams has not all of a sudden become a worse shooter, but is instead more often settling for longer shots.  Williams has never been a great shooter and with his ability to attack the rim declining, it has put more emphasis on his mediocre stroke.
  • Despite their 14-17 start, Danny Ainge remains optimistic that the Celtics will come around as currently constructed, writes Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston.  Ainge is looking forward to the return of Avery Bradley and says the new faces have not been the sole reason for their slow start.  Jimmy Toscano of CSN New England offers a few additional quotes from Ainge that imply that the right talent and coach are in place – it is merely up to the players now. It is worth mentioning that last year, the Celtics sat at 15-17 after a 5-game losing streak, only to finish the season on a 24-10 tear and capture the Atlantic division title. 

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