Monday, August 20, 2012
Amare remains hush-hush about Lin
By Jared Zwerling
Knicks management hasn't commented yet on the reasons behind letting Jeremy Lin becoming a Rocket -- and neither are the players themselves.
On Monday afternoon at Citigroup Barnes & Noble in New York City for a signing of his debut children's book "STAT: Home Court," Amare Stoudemire was the latest Knick to act like Lin was a blip on the team's radar.
"I was too focused on training," was all STAT initially said when asked about Lin's leaving.
After a follow-up question, Stoudemire was only concerned with the current Knicks.
"I caught the fact that he went to Houston," he said, "but we made some great acquisitions ourselves to better our team, and we feel great about the team we have."
Stoudemire's mindset has also been on new point guard Raymond Felton, who re-joined the Knicks in mid-July after playing about a half a season with the team in 2010-11.
"Raymond's going to be awesome," STAT said. "He's going to be great for us, man. He's a player that wants to improve. He always talks about getting better."
They had a chance to catch up in Las Vegas last month during NBA summer league, and they've continued their conversations about how to return to their pick-and-roll days. That's when they both played at an All-Star level, with Stoudemire averaging 25.3 points and Felton dishing out a career-high 9.0 assists per game (although only Stoudemire played on the East squad in Los Angeles).
"We had great chemistry," STAT said. "We chatted every day in practice and shootarounds, and we worked on how to execute the pick-and-roll. We talked about things that I look for off the pick-and-roll and what he looks for within the game. We built the chemistry and got it going."
Stoudemire said that while he developed new post-up moves from Hakeem Olajuwon, fans shouldn't expect much of a change from two years ago playing with Felton. This time, they'll be alongside Carmelo Anthony and solid offensive and defensive role players that should make the Knicks one of the deepest teams in the league.
"[Raymond and I] are going to continue to build that chemistry for the full training camp, and we're going to be ready to go," STAT said. "We're still going to have pick-and-rolls. Pick-and-rolls are the No. 1 play in the NBA. That's still going to be a factor for us."
Interestingly, Felton and Stoudemire both had conditioning issues coming into training camp last year. Felton admitted he was out of shape with the Trail Blazers, and later during the season, Stoudemire said the lockout uncertainty didn't give him the proper time to develop consistency in the gym.
This offseason, both of them have been putting in the work -- Felton starting his training earlier, and Stoudemire not missing a day of two-a-days, mixed in with Olajuwon skills sessions. With the Knicks in win-now mode, that's the way it has to be.