Everyone knows that New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire made it a point to train with Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon in order to improve his post-game. Now it looks like several other Knicks players will get the opportunity to do the same.
According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, Olajuwon will fly from his Texas home to spend several days next week training some of their players at the team’s practice facility in Greenburgh, N.Y.
“The Dream” already spent two-and-a-half weeks training Stoudemire in the summer, but is expected to once again work with STAT, along with Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Marcus Camby.
This is great news for the Knicks as they have had issues scoring in the post in the past. That could be great for spacing on the floor as it is often thought that Anthony and Stoudemire can’t play well together. If they get one of them scoring in the post consistently, that could solve some of their problems. Olajuwon at least thinks so, as he feels the two can play on the floor together just fine.
“They both have to realize that the most important thing is not how great you are individually,” Olajuwon said (via Broussard). “You’re remembered for how many games you win. So to get to play with another great offensive player should help you. It should make your job easier. You have to work well together. You can’t be competitors with one another.”
Olajuwon played with Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson for three years in Houston and it is Woodson who set up next week’s training session.
However he believes that Stoudemire, now with a post-game, shouldn’t be primarily entrenched on the block. He feels the two should complement each other and not necessarily compete against each other, which has been a trend in the past.
“It shouldn’t be Amar’e just staying in the post because he can be a scorer in the paint and outside,” Olajuwon said. “It’s the same thing for Carmelo. He can score in the post and outside. So if Carmelo is in the post, Amar’e can be at the foul line and he can make that shot. If Amare’s in the post, Carmelo can make the shot from the free-throw line, too. They shouldn’t be competing against each other; they should be complementing each other. They need each other to win.”
Winning is the key thing for the Knicks and perhaps the biggest winner on the team is Chandler, who Olajuwon sees unlimited potential in on the offensive end and not just as the NBA’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year.
“You can see that he has great timing by the way he rebounds, blocks shots and catches lobs,” he said. “He’s got great timing and reflexes. I haven’t seen him use any moves of his own, though. But there’s no way a guy with that kind of talent and timing should not have effective moves. So I want to teach him some moves so he can use all of that talent. If you add some moves to all the talent and energy he’s got, it will open up a whole new door for him.”
This can only be a positive for the Knicks frontcourt, which is still the strength of their team.
Anthony is already a good scorer in the post, but if he improves and the likes of Stoudemire and Chandler become threats to score on the block, it adds another dimension to the Knicks’ offense.
Training camp is still a few weeks away, but this is exciting news to jump start that.
Hopefully Olajuwon has a positive effect on the Knicks’ Big Three and they can figure out of to make each other better on the floor. If they can accomplish that, the sky could be the limit for the potential of this team.
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