Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Source: Amare to work with Olajuwon
By Jared Zwerling
A source close to Amare Stoudemire told ESPNNewYork.com that the Knicks' power forward will work with NBA legend and post-up coach Hakeem Olajuwon later this offseason.
Olajuwon will fly to New York in August to train with Stoudemire. The source also said Tyson Chandler might join Stoudemire for the workouts, but that hasn't been confirmed.
Olajuwon, 49, has previously worked one-on-one with three of the best players in the game: Kobe Bryant (2009), Dwight Howard (2010) and LeBron James last summer. Each player showed immediate improvement on the block in the following season.
Stoudemire's future work with Olajuwon could signal Mike Woodson's coaching strategy to use him more in the low post and have Chandler become the team's main high pick-and-roller with Jeremy Lin and Carmelo Anthony. (Stoudemire has more of a foundation in the low post already.)
In this scenario, the Knicks could have more defined roles and less crowding on the court, which would lead to better ball movement and scoring opportunities. They also need to score more in the paint and have more bodies for offensive rebounds besides Chandler, as they finished this past season in the middle of the league in both categories.
Stoudemire has never been a consistent back-to-the-basket threat -- he has mostly scored off drives, midrange jumpshots and pick-and-rolls -- but if he can combine his intensity and aggressiveness with some new moves from Olajuwon, he could be a more complete threat.
Stoudemire is currently traveling overseas for a couple of weeks. Once he returns, he'll start a training program with a conditioning coach and physical therapist for his back. He suffered a bulging lower disk toward the end of this past season.
Stoudemire was not in Los Angeles this past week to meet with Woodson, Lin, Anthony and members of the coaching and training staff; he was in Chicago, hosting his Nike big man camp for top high school and college players.