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Knicks hire Hakeem Olajuwon to work with big men

Sep 13, 2012, 9:36 PM EDT

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This summer, Amare Stoudemire spent a couple weeks in Houston working out with Hall of Fame player turned big man guru Hakeem Olajuwon, improving his post game.

The Knicks figure if it’s good enough for Stoudemire, it’s good enough for all their big men — they have hired Olajuwon to come to New York and work with New York’s bigs at the Knicks facilities, reports Chris Broussard at ESPN. It makes sense as Knicks coach Mike Woodson has a previous relationship with The Dream.

That means working out with Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Marcus Camby and Stoudemire. But ultimately, it is developing chemistry between ‘Melo and Stoudemire (with Chandler on the court) that needs to happen. And Olajuwon has thoughts on how that can happen.

“They both have to realize that the most important thing is not how great you are individually,” Olajuwon said. “You’re remembered for how many games you win. So to get to play with another great offensive player should help you. It should make your job easier. You have to work well together. You can’t be competitors with one another….

“It shouldn’t be Amare just staying in the post because he can be a scorer in the paint and outside,” Olajuwon said. “It’s the same thing for Carmelo. He can score in the post and outside. So if Carmelo is in the post, Amare can be at the foul line and he can make that shot. If Amare’s in the post, Carmelo can make the shot from the free-throw line, too. They shouldn’t be competing against each other; they should be complementing each other. They need each other to win.”

That sounds great on paper, except Anthony likes the ball on the wing and to face up, and Stoudemire excels as a pick-and-roll big (as does Chandler, for that matter).

Thing is, they can do what Olajuwon described and other variations of it, but they mentally have to make the sacrifices and be willing to give up points and touches for the team. Like Carmelo did for Team USA.

We’ll see. I’m not sold. But bringing in Olajuwon to work with the team is a smart step.

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