Often lost amidst the incessant talk of Dwight Howard this, and Chris Paul that, is the fact that the Knicks’ most glaring need this off-season is for players that come cheaply, understand their respective roles, and complement the existing roster.
And there isn’t much doubt that the player attribute that should be most sought after by GM Donnie Walsh is toughness.
A presence on the defensive end, a respected veteran that can that can hit a big basket when necessary. Someone who is entirely comfortable being just a piece of the puzzle at this stage of their career.
So might one of those pieces be Carmelo Anthony’s former teammate, and unrestricted free agent, Kenyon Martin?
It’s not so far fetched, if you believe what Martin told the Denver Post a few days ago:
“At this point in my career, I think winning and being part of a winning team is more important than starting,” Martin said.
Sure, Martin is no longer anywhere near the player he once was — and an argument can be made that he has always been overrated and under productive given his talent level (surprisingly just 13.5 PPG and 7.2 RPG for his career), but for 20-25 minutes a night, the Knicks could probably do worse.
Yes, he’s injury prone, and yes, he was something of a bad apple earlier in his career, but Martin does bring elements of intensity and “not in my house-ed-ness” to the table that the Knicks could use. And although Martin’s never been mistaken for an all-world defender, he’s better than any other Knick “big,” he’s is an above average passer, and he shot over 50% from the floor last season in Denver.
Much like how Bill Walker sometimes provided the 2010-11 team with an infusion of attitude, perhaps Martin can do the same.
Martin has ties to area — having been drafted by New Jersey 11 season ago — and he’s never been bashful about shooting, a quality that fits right in with Mike D’Antoni’s coaching philosophy. As a bench player capable of scoring when Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo are getting a breather or find themselves in foul trouble, why not?
Plus, he has lots and lots of tattoos.
If he’s willing to play for peanuts, and he truly just wants to be part of a winner — along with some like minded other players — Martin just might make some sense.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments section or shoot me a tweet @LoHudKnicks.