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Amar’e Stoudemire: How Working with Hakeem Olajuwon Will Impact STAT

The news that New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire will work with Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon this offseason to help the veteran forward develop some post moves is encouraging for both STAT and the Knicks.

Dec 14, 2010; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets former center Hakeem Olajuwon waves to fans during a game against the Sacramento Kings in the third quarter at the Toyota Center. The Rockets defeated the Kings 118-105. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

Stoudemire is mostly known as a pick-and-roll finisher and a mid-range shooter and adding some semblance of a post-game will be huge.

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’s low-post game, which was practically absent during all of the 2011-12 season, needs to become a factor if the Knicks are going to contend. Looking in deeper, it could mean that the paint will be his new home—whereas he previously loved to take jumpers from the elbow. If Stoudemire can score from the block effectively, it adds an entire new dimension to the Knicks offense.

When STAT’s jumper is on, he’s very good. But that hasn’t been the case too much lately.  Developing a post-up game makes him more of a threat in the paint and therefore a more complete player. If he picks up Olajuwon’s pointers quickly, he will be a threat and headache for opposing teams.

The Knicks can’t be a jump shooting team and need to add the ability to score on the block.

If Stoudemire becomes that guy, we could see a much more balanced team in 2013.

After Stoudemire’s lack-luster 2011-12 campaign, which saw him score 17.5 points per game, eight points behind his total from the season prior, a slight change is imminent.

Not only did Carmelo Anthony take some of Stoudemire’s production when he arrived in 2011, but defenses figured out how to slow Stoudemire down. They forced more jumpers, boxed-out effectively to limit offensive rebounds.

The frustration showed on Stoudemire’s part.

In addition, Jeremy Lin, with the ball in his hands a good percentage of the time, took away from some touches for Stoudemire.

If he wants to be successful in this offense with Lin, and Anthony taking the majority of the shots, he is going to have to turn to the post in order to get touches this upcoming season.

It was a great move for Stoudemire to seek out Olajuwon. It was a move that was tough to make, given his pride, but it’s a move he may be able to look back on a few years from now and say was the right decision.

Look at the impact Olajuwon had on LeBron last season. If he has similar results with STAT, the Knicks could be very tough to deal with.

Tyson Chandler is also expected to spend time with Olajuwon.

Follow Matt Shetler on Twitter for news, reaction and analysis from around the NBA.

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Topics: Amare Stoudemire, Hakeem Olajuwon, LeBron James, New York Knicks

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