Stoudemire shot 48.3-percent from the field this past season, which was his worst shooting percentage since the 2005-06 season with the Phoenix Suns when he shot 33.3-percent in just three games. He underwent microfracture knee surgery prior to the start of that season and after a long rehab period, he lasted just three games before missing the rest of the regular season with ongoing stiffness in both knees.
This past season, Stoudemire missed his first All-Star Game after failing to develop chemistry with various point guards, but bounced back in the month of March with an average of 18 points and 8.2 rebounds. However, Stoudemire had to miss time after suffering a bulging disc in his back and returned with just four games left in the regular season.
The Knicks earned the seventh seed in the playoffs last year due to the birth of Linsanity and the great play of Carmelo Anthony near the end of the season, but they’ll need a healthy Stoudemire if they are going to contend for a championship this season.
“All indications are that he is healthy and that his back is fine.” said ESPN New York’s Ian Begley. “He had microfracture surgery on one of his knees, so that’s always a concern there, but his general health seems to be fine. I don’t know if you’ve seen any of the videos in Houston of Amare training with Hakeem Olajuwon, but he seems to be in great shape.”
“He really needs to bounce back this year and last year as we talked about, he struggled throughout the season,” Begley added. “His numbers were at career lows and a lot of people are looking for him to really come with a stronger sense of purpose this season, to really be able to knock down a perimeter shot like he did in 2010.”
Despite participating in the 2004 Olympics, Stoudemire has declined the last two opportunities in effort to remain healthy for the upcoming NBA season.
“What’s intriguing with Amare is after working with Hakeem Olajuwon for two weeks, I wonder how his post game will translate to the NBA,” Begley said. “What can he learn in two weeks and how quickly can he implement that into his game.”
According to Stoudemire, Olajuwon’s training will have a huge impact in his game since he isn’t known for having a post game. For the majority of his career, he’s relied on pick-and-rolls or isolation situations such as driving and shooting mid-range jumpshots.
“He helped me a lot,” Stoudemire said. “A lot of moves that he has really translate to my game. To now develop a post game is going to be remarkable for me. It’s going to catch a lot of my opponents off guard and it’s going to be a great year for me.”