People close to Amar'e Stoudemire have said that the fragile power forward will work out with Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon this summer.
This is some of my favorite news I've ever heard in my Knicks' fanhood. One of my favorite players of all time working out with one of my least favorite Knicks. People always say "How could you hate Amar'e?! He's so good! He dunks so hard! He saved the franchise!" Okay he got us to the playoffs two years ago, I'll give him that. But once Raymond Felton and Chauncey Billups left the team and he had no one to run the pick and roll with, he got significantly worse on offense.
What really bothers me about Stat, however, is that he seems to despise physical contact. He hates boxing out, one of the fundamental elements of the game that they teach you when you first pick up a basketball. On defense, he frequently let's guys go around him and then tries to block the shot from behind, which most often leads to an easy basket. He usually looks lost while playing off-ball defense and I can't remember him ever making a great pass. His offense is cool, but I say the word "dammit" in front of Amar'e's name more than any other player due to the reasons I just mentioned.
Hakeem, however, does all of those things well. Excluding his post-prime (ages 34+), he averaged 12.2 rebounds per game. Amar'e averaged 7.8 last season. Don't even get me started on Hakeem's defense. He avergaed 4.6 blocks one season. He's one of the greatest defensive players of all time. He's one of history's greatest passing big men, racking up an impressive 14 triple-doubles (including 2 of the 4 quadruple-doubles that have ever been recorded in the NBA).
On top of all that, Amar'e likes to play out on the wing, facing the basket. Rarely will he get into the paint and call for the ball to back someone down. Hakeem can teach Amar'e a thing or two about that. Maybe we'll even see a Dream Shake in New York next season. Learning some of Hakeem's offensive moves can really add some variety to Stat's scoring ability.
LeBron James worked with Hakeem Olajuwon last summer, and his improvement showed as his skill in the post was imperative to his success last season, especially down the stretch in the playoffs.
Amar'e is a good player, but there is a lot missing from his game. What is missing, Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon can teach him.