Saturday 23rd June 2018,
The Hoop Doctors

Is Kenyon Martin a Good Fit for NY Knicks?

Kenyon Martin and the New York Knicks continue to dance around and toward each other.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Knicks are once again considering signing the veteran power forward:

As Rasheed Wallace’s foot injury lingers, the New York Knicks are showing a renewed interest in free-agent forward Kenyon Martin, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The Knicks have done some additional fact-finding on Martin in recent days, sources said.

Martin has been open-minded about the possibility of accepting a 10-day contract to get the opportunity to prove his value to the Knicks, sources said.

Wallace has missed 12 straight games with what the Knicks call a “stress reaction” in his left foot. The uncertainty surrounding Wallace’s return has made the Knicks circle back on the possibility of signing Martin, sources said.

Wallace’s status is the “critical piece” to the Knicks signing Martin, one league official said.

There’s no denying that New York has sorely missed Rasheed Wallace over the last dozen games. Once he joined the Knicks, he aided in the transformation of their defensive culture, rendering them one of the league’s top defensive teams.

Fueled in part by his absence, however, the Knicks are now 20th in the league with 106.5 points allowed per 100 possessions. Though his return is unlikely to re-shape such a reality immediately or completely, his presences provides New York with some much-needed interior defense.

The Knicks’ renewed interest in Martin, though, is a clear indication that New York has no idea as to when—or even if—Wallace will return.

As such, should Wallace be unfit for duty for the rest of the season, signing Wallace would border on a great move.

While with the Los Angeles Clippers last season, he improved their defensive efficiency by 4.4 points per 100 possessions. His athletic build allows him to defend an array of positions and his willingness to absorb contact makes for a valuable weapon on the class as well.

The catch?

Martin isn’t the scorer he used to be. Or even close to it.

In Los Angeles, the Clippers scored 6.4 points per 100 possessions more with Martin on the bench, thus meaning they posted a minus-2.2 with him on the floor combined. Though there is always a case to be made for specialty players, New York currently boasts the second-most efficient offensive attack in the league. And that’s not something you want to jeopardize when putting Martin on the floor.

Furthermore, the Knicks already have 15-men signed onto their roster. If they were to add Martin, somebody would have to go.

But who?

Wallace is the most likely candidate if he is unable to play again this season, yet if there remains a glimmer of hope that he’ll step foot on the hardwood again, it’s hard to imagine New York parting ways with him. Not only did he help strengthen the Knicks’ defensive attack, but he has a huge fan in Mike Woodson as well.

Rookie sensation Chris Copeland isn’t going anywhere either. Or rather, he shouldn’t. His defense and aggression on the boards has proved to be spotty, but he’s provided the Knicks with instant offense when called upon.

Which leaves guard James White, who arguably becomes expendable once Iman Shumpert returns. He’s an undeniable athletic fiend who can man the point position in a pinch, yet he has been used sparingly throughout the season.

At the same time, however, with Raymond Felton on the sidelines for at least another month, Shumpert still rehabbing and Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni as old as they are, New York arguably shouldn’t mess with its depth in the backcourt.

And here we have why latching onto Martin becomes so complicated. He’s a proven defensive commodity, yes, but his addition only makes sense if Wallace’s injury proves fatal to the rest of his season.

Right now, New York has one of the deepest rosters in the league. A talent like Martin’s could strengthen and enhance that depth, or it could disrupt the continuity of the Knicks’ current rotation.

Yes, New York needs defense. Badly. But if the Knicks hope to see Wallace take the floor again, the more realistic, the sensible course of action would be for Woodson hone the defensive mechanics and rotations of Amar’e Stoudemire and Copeland.

Not go out and sign Martin in favor of Wallace or anyone else on the roster.

Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at in addition to Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.

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