Amar'e Stoudemire excited to try low-post game
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Amar'e Stoudemire has long succeeded as a perimeter-based forward, but after a suggestion from Knicks coach Mike Woodson, he began to develop a low-post game by working with Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon during the summer.
The fruits of that labor should start to emerge Friday night in Montreal, where the Knicks will face the Raptors to open a three-game road trip and Stoudemire will make his first preseason appearance.
"It [the suggestion] came strictly from me and he was fired up about it, because he just hasn't been called upon to score the ball in the low post," said Woodson, who wants to see some of the back-to-the-basket moves carry over from practice.
"He's been pretty much a pick-and-roll player and he's been great doing that . . . As you get older, it's important to try to expand your game if you can . . . The fact that he can make free throws, he's got great hands in terms of catching the ball."
Stoudemire, who was sidelined with a bruised knee, is eager to experiment with the new element in his repertoire. "Hopefully, the opportunity presents itself and you'll see a few post moves," he said. "We'll see how the game flows . . . Once we move the ball enough and teams scramble to find shooters, that's when the inside opens up."
Carmelo Anthony, the team's leading scorer last season, said installing a low-post offense will be a collective effort. "Amare's been down there, we're trying to get Tyson [Chandler] comfortable down there. We put a lot of sets in, and we've still got a ways to go," he said.
Getting the ball near the basket, he said, isn't the job of a specific player. "It can be anybody. It doesn't have to be myself or Raymond [Felton]."
But Stoudemire's role is critical, and Woodson believes the work put in with Olajuwon will be worthwhile. "I've seen some of it. He's making some pretty nice moves in the low block. He just needed to learn some footwork and feel good about some of the moves," Woodson said.
Notes & quotes: J.R. Smith (sore left ankle) isn't on the trip, which includes stops in Albany against the Celtics Saturdayand at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, against the 76ers on Monday. Marcus Camby (calf) and Ronnie Brewer, who missed the start of training camp because of knee surgery, made the trip.