Saturday, September 15, 2012
Knicks Bringing Hakeem Olajuwon to Big Apple To Work With Their Big Men
Though the Knicks have passed on Patrick Ewing for numerous assistant coaching vacancies, and the legend most recently declined the chance to coach their D-League affiliate, it would still be oh but a dream for fans to watch the "Big Fella" even simply just mentor some of the team's players.
New York will certainly be taking advantage of "The Dream," but it's not quite the one fans had in mind.
Fresh off his summer training session with Amar'e Stoudemire, Hakeem Olajuwon will reportedly join the Knicks at their training facility next week to work with various Knickerbocker big men.
In addition to continuing to mentor STAT, Olajuwon also expects to work with the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and Marcus Camby, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard.
After having worked with Stoudemire on offensive posts moves, "The Dream" apparently believes he can also get the big man and Anthony on that coveted same page. It's imperative to the Knicks' success that the pair display some strong chemistry, and having starred alongside talented players of different positions like Clyde Drexler, Olajuwon has faith he can help the Knicks' star duo make it work too.
Though Chandler was originally supposed to work out with the Rockets legend this past summer as well, a packed offseason schedule (highlighted by the Olympics) kept the Knicks' center busy instead. After leading all of the NBA in field goal percentage last season, however, surely Olajuwon knows a secret or two as to how unlock potentially dormant offensive skills that Chandler has just been waiting to unleash.
Bringing in a Hall of Famer of Olajuwon's caliber is certainly worth a try with so much to gain as the pressure to succeed next season weighs heavily on the team's shoulders. Based on his comments to ESPN alone, one can tell Olajuwon knows the ins and outs of his craft. What's more, he has a proven track record of helping an assortment of quality players elevate their games in recent years, such as Dwight Howard and LeBron James.
The decision to hire "The Dream" is likely much more a result of head coach Mike Woodson's relationship with his teammate of three seasons, than it is a potential snub on Ewing. As nice as it would be to see the Knickerbocker legend come home to help the organization in a different way, it's Olajuwon who has built a reputation for individually mentoring players. Coach Woodson surely has a lot of trust in a person he knows on that level.