By Max Marcilla
The Knicks just signed Kenyon Martin to a deal. To Knick fans it’s a big deal. They saw K-Mart shine on defense in his 18 regular season games last year, as well as the Knicks post season run. To the general public, it’s no biggie. Martin is just “another veteran” who helped a team in their run, similar to Chris Anderson in Miami. However, since he will be under contract with the orange and blue for all 82 games, he will have a huge impact and will be a standout role player for the New York Knicks.
Here’s why: The phrase “defense wins championships” applies here. The Knicks now have a core group of physical, tough defenders, from Metta World Peace to Tyson Chandler. Now K-Mart just adds to that mix. The Knicks now have 3 forwards capable of lockdown defense, and if you include swingman Iman Shumpert, that’s 4. If all the defensive-minded vets on this team can stay healthy, then the big men in the NBA will be ineffective day-in and day-out against the Knicks.
That leads me to my next point: Health. Yes, these signings of tough defensively talented forwards-centers are always questionable due to the high possibility of injury, but by signing K-Mart, that just gives the Knicks more insurance. If MWP goes down, Martin can fill his role and the Knicks can play a big line-up. If Martin goes down, Melo can move to the 4 and MWP can go to the 3. And the least likely player to go down is Tyson Chandler, but even if he goes down, the Knicks can move K-Mart into the center position, and play small ball.
I’ve touched on all the different possibilities of line-ups for the Knicks in case of injury, but if they stay healthy think of the endless choices for Coach Woodson . This is the most important part of bringing Martin back.
The Knicks have many line-ups now. Let’s say the 12 men on the Knicks roster now are the 12 on opening night.
If they want to go small… EASY! Put in 3 guards ( choices are Felton, Prigioni, Smith, Hardaway Jr., Shumpert), and 2 forwards ( choices are Anthony, World Peace, STAT, Bargnani). When one guy gets fatigued or is having a rough night, the Knicks can look down the bench and find at least 2 other options for every position.
If they want to go big… EASY! Put in 2 guards, 2 forwards, and a center. That could vary and be a defensive minded line-up of Felton, Shumpert, Anthony, Martin, and Chandler. Or, it could also be an offensive minded line-up of Felton, Smith, Anthony, Stoudemire, and Bargnani.
This way the Knicks will have depth. They can have an A+ line-up on the floor, and because of the hole Martin fills, he could help them produce an A+ lineup off the bench.
Martin provides something the any successful team needs: Options. The Knicks can have about 25 different line-ups that will all be successful based on match-ups. Before Martin came back the Knicks they were lacking big men. Now, Martin gives them enough options to thrive against any team. In the end it is all about health.