Saturday, May 25, 2013
Amar'e to work with Olajuwon in August
By Jared Zwerling
Amar'e Stoudemire will resume working out with Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon for the second summer in a row, according to his training adviser Travis King.
King said the workouts will take place sometime in August at Olajuwon's ranch outside Houston. It's not clear if Tyson Chandler will join him, which was on the table in 2012.
Olajuwon has turned his full-court basketball gym into an NBA player development center during the summers, and he reportedly charges $50,000 a week for private instruction. He has worked one-on-one with Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and LeBron James.
Stoudemire will continue to build on the post-up moves and defensive maneuvers he learned from Olajuwon last summer. The big reasons behind the collaboration were: (1) to give the Knicks a low-post presence, allowing Chandler to be the go-to pick-and-roller; and (2) to improve the spacing between Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, who had tended to crowd the court in the midrange area.
When Stoudemire returned from left knee debridement on New Year's Day, he excelled on the block, averaging 14.2 points (on 57.7 percent shooting) and five rebounds in only 23 minutes per game. Two times he finished 100 percent from the field (7-for-7 and then 10-for-10).
Mike Woodson, who helped facilitate Stoudemire's unique offseason training because of his friendship with Olajuwon from their Rockets playing days together, hasn't determined if the power forward will start next season. Either way, the team envisions a big role for him.
"He's a heck of a player," GM Glen Grunwald said. "The question is his health and how much he can play. So we've got our medical staff and training staff working with him to design an offseason program that will get him to full health.
"We hope he'll be able to play significant minutes for us next year. How much that will be, we don't know at this time. But when he came and played for us … he was, as [Woodson] said, a big factor in those games."
Reflecting on the Knicks' Eastern Conference semifinals loss to the Pacers, Woodson said Stoudemire would have had a major impact if healthy, giving the Knicks a boost inside. In four games during the series -- Stoudemire returned for Game 3 from right knee debridement -- he averaged only eight minutes of playing time.
"STAT could have really helped us in that area because we had developed him over the summer to give us some low-post scoring," Woodson said. "The fact that he just wasn't up, I think, where we needed him to be based on his injuries, that kind of hurt us a little bit."