New York Knicks power forward Amar’e Stoudemire has proven to be a solid contributor off the bench, but still, he can’t help but wonder why he hasn’t cracked the starting rotation.

Head coach Derek Fisher likes the punch STAT provides off the pine, and has said it’s easier to keep an eye on Stoudemire’s minutes this way.

Amar’e — who averaged 15.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and shot 57.5 percent in 21 starts last season — seems ready to embrace his sixth man role.

Per the NY Post:

Fisher shed some light [Monday] on why he never considered Stoudemire for the starting power-forward slot, especially after Andrea Bargnani went down with a hamstring injury after the first preseason game. Did Fisher want to keep Stoudemire away from starting center Samuel Dalembert or small forward Carmelo Anthony? […] “I’m not sure,” Stoudemire said. “I need to find out as well as you are.”

 

“It’s not really about Amar’e next to Sam,” Fisher said, “but trying to fit in a five-man unit and how does that make our bench look depending on who starts and who doesn’t. We don’t want to have a vastly different impact based on starters and bench guys.”

 

“I take the game very serious whether starting or coming off the bench,’’ Stoudemire said. “Whatever’s best for the team, so be it. If not, we’ll figure something out.” […] “Whatever the situation is, I’m learning three different positions — power forward, center and the perimeter player,” Stoudemire said. “So it’s very versatile on my end, a versatile weapon we have, ready to utilize my skill wherever, starting or sixth man.”