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STAT update - speaks on D, and that he'll implement less of a post game than we hope.
Last season, Amare Stoudemire was arguably the biggest missing piece for the Knicks, even though he was with the team all season. Most of the time, it was Carmelo Anthony living on his own star island.
Stoudemire entered training camp not in top shape, dealt with his older brother's death in February and, a month later, suffered a bulging disk in his lower back. It all led to him only averaging 17.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game on 48.3 percent shooting -- his lowest output since 2005-06, when he played just three games because of knee surgery.
That's why Stoudemire's uniquely productive offseason could likely be the key to the Knicks' success this season. Every competitive team needs a second legitimate star, and the signs this summer are pointing to a STAT revival.
Not only will he be entering training camp a month from now healthy, lower back included (thanks to regular two-a-day workouts), he'll also be bringing new post-up moves and defensive abilities with him.
Offensively, that should enable Stoudemire to play better with Anthony because spacing ideally will be less cramped and there will be more room for fluid ball movement. On the defensive end, he shouldn't have to make Tyson Chandler and Marcus Camby work for every stop down low.
Due in large part to training with Hakeem Olajuwon for the past two weeks in Houston, Stoudemire said he has improved on both ends of the court. He said his motivation was to not only become a more complete player, but to also give the Knicks a better chance to win a championship.
"I'm looking forward to showing my opponents my moves that I've been working with Hakeem," Stoudemire said Monday afternoon before a signing for his debut children's book, "STAT: Home Court," at Citigroup Barnes & Noble in New York City.
"There are so many moves that I picked up from Hakeem. I mean, just developing my post game has been phenomenal for me. When I came out of high school, I was just thrown the ball and they said, 'Do what you do best.' I never got a chance to develop my game, as far as a post player. So now, with working with Hakeem, it's going to be a great advantage for me."
When the season ended with a first-round exit to the Heat, Mike Woodson envisioned offensive sets that highlighted a premier post player, and that was Stoudemire. At times, Anthony will be in that situation as well, based on his success at the four late last season when Stoudemire was sidelined due to injury.
"Coach Woodson's style of play is an inside-out game," Stoudemire said. "So it was important for him to develop me as a post player, and I was willing and ready."
But Stoudemire stressed that he won't just be stationed on the block; rather, it's an added tool for Woodson to use to give his power forward -- and Anthony -- more shot opportunities. While many observers have pointed to Stoudemire and Anthony having difficulties playing together, STAT said it's because his time with Melo has been limited and not consistent after the midseason trade in 2011 and the coaching change last season. But now, Stoudemire said Woodson's puting the right system in place.
"I think what he's doing is making sure that we take advantage of our talents," he said. "Carmelo and I have been (among) the top players in the league for 10 years now. I think he's figuring out a way to make that happen."
Stoudemire represents a major benefit of the Knicks' lineup this season. They have three key D's: depth, defense and dynamic lineups. Not only will Stoudemire have a refined back-to-the-basket game, but he'll also be able to employ his skills as one of the league's best pick-and-rollers.
"(Playing the post) won't be my main role," he said. "Again, it's about just being a basketball player. And Hakeem Olajuwon wasn't always a back-to-the-basket player. He was one of those players where he played the center position, but he was very versatile, outside-inside. For me, it's just another threat, another area on the court that I can work on and try to perfect."
During his time in Houston, Stoudemire concentrated a lot on learning Olajuwon's footwork, which was some of the most unconventional in NBA history. That corresponded to his famous "Dream Shake" moves, and Stoudemire believes he has similar athletic gifts to master them.
"It's great that I've been able to be so successful without having these points from Hakeem," he said. "And now that I have this extra skill, it's going to elevate my game that much even more. Also, having a post game is going to be that much more of an advantage with my quickness and size, and my skill set as far as being able to finish around the basket with my left hand and right hand, shoot the jumper. It creates havoc for the opponent, and to have so many moves in the post, it's going to be another advantage for me."
Stoudemire also wanted to pick Olajuwon's brain about shot blocking -- one of the Hall of Famer's specialties during his 18-year career. Stoudemire has been motivated to fulfill Woodson's defensive-minded ways, and he especially has to this season and beyond. Even if the Knicks manage to beat the Heat, they'll likely have to get by the Lakers' Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard or the Thunder's Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins in the West.
After all, it was defense that pushed the Pistons in 2004, with Woodson as an assistant coach, to upset the Lakers, who featured Karl Malone and Shaquille O'Neal down low.
"Defense is always the key to win championships, and that's something that I'm dedicated on also, to become a much, much better defensive player," Stoudemire said. "And it's going to happen. It's just a matter of preparation and practice, and just getting that chemistry down on that end of the court."
Stoudemire said there were other things he took away from "The Dream," but he won't reveal what those are.
"I learned a lot more," he said, "but a few jewels that he gave me, I'm going to keep to myself."
Perhaps those are the same things the Lakers or Thunder will learn the hard way.
This is exactly what I wanted to hear. When we see STAT Dream Shaking people I'm sure we will be hoppin out of our seats. Just go look at Hakeem's youtube vids and you can picture stat doing this sort of thing easily. I can't wait for this season to start. Is it october yet???
STAT is looking to prove something this year. I think both Melo and STAT are coming in with chips on their shoulders and want to prove they still got it. STAT seems especially motivated because he had such a decline last season. I hope that they can get it all together, so much is going to rely on Woodsons play calling. I really hope they have a plan for this team that will work. If STAT can perform back to the basket moves, we are that much closer to a chip. I believe in this team.
I respect Stat for always being honest and basically admitting hes a poor defender. All of this sounds great but I have to see it to believe it. Amare is one of the best in the game at marketing himself to the fans, he spoke very highly of himself last summer and we know what happened. No hate, Amare still has amazing ability and i wanna see him fulfill his potential. Theres no doubt in my mind he could still be the best PF in the NBA if he plays the right way
50K a week at Hakeem's camp. That's 100K of Stat's cash not the Knicks, can't question Stat's commitment to improve and take his game to the next level.
I've been saying since last season that he needed to develop a back to the basket game for the second phase of his career when his athleticism erodes.
Very few big men in the NBA can duplicate Hakeem's Dream Shake, Amare happens to be on of them.
All this hard work has to pay off at some point, right? I'm glad that STAT trained with Hakeem. It shows his desire to bring a championship to NY. But he has always been a BIG talker and at this point, I'd rather he just let his game do the talking, instead of hyping all of us Knicks fans up. Damn STAT, you're getting me excited for this season. Stop it.
Agreed. Out of all the notable superstars who trained with the Dream (Kobe, LeBron, Howard, etc.), Amar'e is the one who is most suited to the moves that Hakeem makes. STAT has the strength, speed, balance, and soft touch to play like Hakeem did in the low post, IMO. I can't wait to see the new and improved Amar'e Stoudemire.
Originally Posted by tiger0330
*Edit: I appreciate that our mods work hard to keep the forum organized, but putting all the info about one player into one thread is a little extreme. The threads get too crowded and it gets hard to keep up with the posts for guys who don't visit the forum regularly. Instead of making the forum organized, putting all info into one thread makes it more cluttered, IMO. Nut I also agree that there shouldn't be a new thread for just ANYTHING. lol
Last edited by MeloforMayor; Aug 21, 2012 at 11:32.
- Rep Power
Nice start by STAT, but he needed to spend 2 MONTHS with the DREAM, not just 2 weeks. Like was pointed out, its the footwork. STAT has the stroke and the athletic ability, but its the footwork and willingness to get your butt down on the block. The whole "added tool" part makes me nervous. Your points and boards are down fool. Its time now. Time to learn how to play basketball, not just running around being an athelete. STAT could have learned a post game for free if he had gone to college. Now he's having to pay 50K a week to learn things he should have learned years ago. Nice article and good for STAT that he is realizing he is mortal and physical gifts only get you so far.
Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James all players that worked with Hakeem and have become noticeably successful post players, with that being said i'm excited to see what STAT brings this season.
As far as defense....i'll believe it when i see it
Last edited by NYk_Reloaded718; Aug 21, 2012 at 16:02.
Call me out on this.....
Stat had a dominating career in the NBA, always ranking in the top-5 PF each season .. except lastseason with .....
B4real .. how much could Stat learn in two weeks with Hakeem .. one or two moves on offense, one or two moves on defense .. this was more like a publicity stunt more than anything.
I like Stat's idea in the 2010 offseason better .. practicing/workingout with teammates in the Knicks summer facility during July & August.
- Rep Power
If there is one thing Stat will be motivated on, its scoring more points. He worked his ass off to get that nice jumper (last season being the exception). He has a ton of moves near the rim and Hakeem's game actually translates very well for Amare. The Dream was never a true center but more of a tweener and was damn freakin good at it.
Defense? I'll believe it when I see it. You can't just learn a few moves to be a great defensive player... you need the mindset that very few players have.
I'm glad he knows already to mix it up instead of posting up most of the time (unless he gets that good).
Well it looks like Crazy agrees. I do agree some threads need to be separate.
Originally Posted by MeloforMayor
Of course you had to post something negative, what else do you contribute to this board?
Originally Posted by Kiyaman
Most of the other players only spent 4 days with Hakeem and showed a solid improvement. And Amare spends two weeks with him but this is irrelevant to you? Hakeem has said STAT has been one of his best students and some of the moves are coming naturally.
Amare is still going to have a full training camp with his team mates, and for the FIRST time with Melo and Chandler. Take your biased rubbish elsewhere, negged.
I think Amare gets his 20/10 player rep back this year and becomes a decent defender as well like Novak and JR have become.
Neither of those guys are lockdown guys or ever gonna make a star work hard but they alter shots, stay in front their man (most the time) and do play the passing lane by swatting at telegraphed passes.
Amare will block shots and I can see him boxing out more (and getting more rebounds) since he is preparing to play in the paint. Will he give guys like Bosh, Love, or Griffin problems defensively? No, but he can maybe help slow them down as part of an overall team defensive effort.
STAT has the physical tools to be a defensive player. He has just never been taught defense or had it stressed to him. With woodsons guidance I believe that Stat can have a major impact on the defensive end of the floor. Remember that STAT came straight from high school into the No-D 'antoni system and has played that style ever since.
And to Kiyaman: I agree that 2 weeks is a short period of time and the most STAT could of really learned in that time is maybe 3-4 moves total and some solid tips on being a better defender/shot blocker.
But what more does a player really need? Most of the best players have 1 go-to move with a few counter moves if that gets shut down. Amar'e can have his STAT-Shake in the post, his mid-range jumper, the pick'n'roll/Pick'n'pop in the high post. Outside of this arsenal, STAT doesn't need a lot of help on offense. Adding in the shake and some defensive/rebounding effort will be the difference from 17/8 to 23/10 for Amar'e.
- Rep Power
Agreed. Post moves depend on INSTINCTS because your back is to the basket and to the defense. You can't see the hoop or what's coming. You have to be able to visualize where the basket is and use your body and do it quick because a double-team is coming and you have to make the defense react to you and dictate the action. No way you learn a post game in 2 weeks. You can't even learn the dream shake in two weeks. Its tough to learn one go-to post move in two weeks. It takes YEARS to develop a post game. Really sounds like a publicity stunt. But who knows.....
Originally Posted by Kiyaman