The New York Knicks are serious about getting their low-post players in shape. Forget about going to Texas to work with Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon. They are bringing “The Dream” to New York.
Coach Mike Woodson solicited Olajuwon, one of all-time best players, especially in the low post, to work for several days with the Knicks, Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Marcus Camby at their Greenburgh, N.Y. practice facility.
Olajuwon worked out with Stoudemire earlier this summer, training the Knicks center for two-and-a-half weeks in the gymnasium on his 400-acre ranch outside of Houston. Olajuwon, who was able to excel alongside superstar teammates Ralph Sampson and Clyde Drexler, said there’s no reason Stoudemire and Anthony can’t have similar success playing side-by-side.
“They both have to realize that the most important thing is not how great you are individually,” Olajuwon said to ESPNNewYork.com. “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.”
While Olajuwon has taught Stoudemire back-to-the-basket post moves, he said the Knicks’ game plan should not be simply to post up Stoudemire while Anthony dominates the perimeter.
“It shouldn’t be Amare 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, Amare 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.”
But Olajuwon doesn’t think the Knicks need to be a two-man show offensively. He sees great offensive potential in Chandler, who averaged 11 points per game for the Knicks last season, three above his career average.
“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. That’s what he should be looking to add to go to the next level.”
Chandler is excited about working with Olajuwon. He was scheduled to work with the two-time NBA champion earlier this summer but had to pull out because of the Olympics.