Because Carmelo Anthony played like a surefire M.V.P. candidate during this past NBA season's final month, many fans have begun to turn their attention to Amar'e Stoudemire.
Despite struggling in the early goings of last season, Anthony turned up the heat and proved he's capable of elevating his game when the Knicks need it most. With New York poised to compete at its highest level in years, fans are hoping Stoudemire can do the same.
To ensure that this indeed happens, STAT is certainly putting in the work. The big man flew to Houston earlier this week, prepared to spend two weeks training with NBA Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon.
Stoudemire completed his third day of workouts on Wednesday, working with Olajuwon alongside Nuggets center JaVale McGee.
Thanks to the wonderful world of social media, Knicks fans can be closer than ever to Stoudemire as he looks to better his game. Travis King, a dedicated member of Team STAT and an agent for Rogue Sports, is posting all sorts of exclusive photos and video clips (like the one above) on Twitter to provide fans with an inside look. Make sure to follow him @loyaloneforlife
MSG Network's Alan Hahn also seems well-informed on the ongoing workouts, having posted this interesting blurb below:
"@Amareisreal has been working with Hakeem Olajuwon this week in Houston along with Denver's JaVale McGee. Hakeem focusing a lot on Amare's footwork on his go-to moves, plus teaching how to read the defender and how to counter how teams defend him in the post. Amar'e said he was going to keep a notebook during this two-week tutorial and memorize all he can to get his money's worth ($50G per week is the tuition)."
Being able to read and then react to an array of different defenders would surely become a key component of Stoudemire's skill set.
Over his first two seasons donning orange and blue, many analysts and fans alike have preached how important it is for STAT to have a physical front court mate who can endure most of the bumps and bruises throughout the season. In Tyson Chandler and Marcus Camby, he will have two teammates who will do exactly that next season.
That said, the way Stoudemire can help his own cause is by being quicker than the defender. Reading opponents and being able to beat each one to the basket will hopefully help the Knicks star escape such physical contact.
Needless to say, these workouts would prove to be invaluable if Olajuwon is able to help STAT improve his elusiveness around the basket.
In addition to training, Stoudemire is also spending time building rapport with other notable Knicks personnel, according to King. He recently had dinner in Houston with Olajuwon, new teammate Marcus Camby, and Knicks' head coach Mike Woodson (a former teammate of "The Dream.")
Assistant Coach Herb Williams is also expected to be in town to observe the ongoing workouts as well.