With the addition of Kenyon Martin, the Los Angeles Clippers are even more formidable championship contenders than before, correct? Actually, not so much.
The Clippers run one of the most uptempo and athletic offenses in the league, thanks to the presence of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. DeAndre Jordan, while a near non-factor on offense, is an athletic fiend, Mo Williams is the epitome of swiftness, and Caron Butler and Chauncey Billups have proven to have some serious hops left in their step. So where does Martin fit in?
Los Angeles is in need of some further assistance in their second unit, but is Martin necessarily the one to provide it? He seems to think so, as he has already stated that Griffin and Jordan should thrive under his tutelage.
From the LA Times:
“With my knowledge of the game, I know I can help Blake,” Martin said. “I’ve been where Blake is — a whole lot of athleticism and not really knowing how to play. He’s getting it, but I think me being here, being around and talking to him and DeAndre, I think it’s going to help a lot.”
Even during Martin’s brief stint as a premiere power forward, he was never as athletic as Jordan or Griffin. His rebounding was solid and he was an underrated defender, but he never thrived in transition, blocked many shots, developed a solid mid range game or had a positive attitude about him.
Yet somehow, Martin believes, that at 34 and more than six years removed from any sort of prolific display, he can help hone the skills of the Clippers’ young low post tandem, help develop them into a player that he never was. That doesn’t exactly sound like a recipe for success.
And as far as his impact on the second unit goes, he would be a real asset if Los Angeles is ever looking to slow things down, but that’s an avenue they hardly ever explore. Half-court sets are not what helped them stave off the Orlando Magic in overtime, and it’s not what’s going to propel them to victories over the Oklahoma City Thunder or Denver Nuggets.
Are the Clippers worse off with Martin on the roster? Aside from the fact that he’s a public relations time-bomb, absolutely not. But does his oft-injured presence make them a substantially better team? No, it just provides Los Angeles with an extra body.
While there are those that will argue an extra body is all the Clippers need at this juncture, keep in mind Martin is not only an injury risk, but liable to disrupt any ball movement or transition opportunities the team would have had with Griffin or Jordan on the floor in his stead.
Martin’s role with the Clippers is simply as a stop-gap, a body who can hopefully allot Jordan and Griffin some rest.
Is he the ideal candidate to assume such a role? His public sentiments say yes, but reality says no.
Dan Favale is an avid basketball analyst and firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His work can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.