The Knicks will begin their preseason schedule Thursday night in Washington to face the Wizards, but will be without Stoudemire, who will not dress in tonight’s game. He sustained a bruised left knee during practice.
Averaging 17.5 points and 7.9 rebounds last season, Stoudemire decided to work with Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon on his post game. Stoudemire has never been known for having a dominant post presence, instead relying on his elbow jumper, the high pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop sets.
“To now develop a post game is going to be remarkable for me,” Stoudemire said. “It’s going to catch a lot of my opponents off guard, and it’s going to be a great year for me.”
“It’s not about taking the moves that Olajuwon showed him,” Carmelo Anthony said. “It’s more of [using] the insight and knowledge of being confident and comfortable down there, knowing when you get the basketball and take your time that you can make something happen.”
Turning 30-years old on November 16 and having gone through the past several seasons with different injuries, Stoudemire knows he needs to adjust his game if he still wants to be considered an elite player.
“I said the other day that Amar’e is a 6-foot-10 player that should be able to the ball [in the post],” head coach Mike Woodson said. “Adding the new moves will only enhance Stoudemire’s stats. He’s such an excellent free-throw shooter that if he gets fouled and gets the bucket, and goes to the line, he should be able to [knock down the free throw] and then get back on defense.”
Woodson will be entering his first full season as the Knicks’ head coach, but the addition of the new post moves by Stoudemire can only benefit the Knicks as Woodson tries to implement a new offensive system from the pick-and-roll offense that D’Antoni used.
“I’m just trying to mix it up a little bit. Instead of picking-and-popping, and picking-and-rolling he could do something different,” Woodson said. “It won’t be a lot but he’ll get some chances. But it’s the same with Tyson [Chandler], same with Melo, same with all of our bigs. It’ll be for the guys that I can think can post the ball the best. We’ll see how that plays out.”
Taking Stoudemire’s place in the starting lineup at power forward will be Kurt Thomas, who recently turned 40 years old. Thomas averaged three points and 3.5 rebounds last season with the Portland Trailblazers.