When the New York Knicks traded Ronnie Brewer and then signed Kenyon Martin to a 10-day contract right at the trade deadline I, as I’m sure many other Knicks fans, thought, “Who cares?”
The Knicks are the oldest team in NBA history, and have a roster that includes two 40 year-olds in Jason Kidd and Kurt Thomas. Signing another big man was a nice move, but the 35-year old Martin who hadn’t played all year? I didn’t think the move would affect New York as the season winded down.
Well, I was wrong- completely wrong.
Tyson Chandler missed his seventh straight game last night (neck) and Kurt Thomas, Rasheed Wallace, and Amar’e Stoudemire are all out for the rest of the regular season. That leaves the 6’9” Martin to man the paint, with Marcus Camby and Chris Copeland the only other big men (if you could even call them that).
Against the Boston Celtics last night, Camby didn’t even play. Martin played 25 minutes and gave the Knicks 9 points, 5 rebounds, and a block. New York doesn’t need him to do anything crazy; they just need him to be an intense defensive presence, finish around the rim, and control the paint. The Knicks won the game handily 100-85.
Since joining the team, K-Mart has averaged 8.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. And, if Martin continues to produce as he did last night, he could make a strong case to start alongside Chandler when he returns.
I admit that I was wrong about the addition of Martin not being substantial. I’m glad I was wrong- without him, the Knicks would be the thinnest team in the NBA as far as big-men go.