Over the course of the offseason, Buckets Over Broadway will be doing year-end report cards of the New York Knicks roster. The roster experienced a decent amount of overhaul this season, so we’ll simply be covering the core players of the 2012-13 team. Players will be analyzed by their offense, defense, and overall contributions throughout the season. Next up is Kenyon Martin.
Offense: Kenyon Martin’s overall play in his quarter of a season with New York surprised a lot of people, and his offensive contributions perhaps topped that list. Martin hasn’t really been a productive offensive force since his high-flying days with the New Jersey Nets. He’s always been able to finish around the basket, but beyond the paint he’s shaky. However, in his 18 games with the Knicks, Martin proved to be a valuable cog in the pick-and-roll. His hands are good enough to catch a pass up high or down low in the roll, and he was more than happy to go up for lobs. Beyond the paint, he was still shaky, posting field goal percentages in the 20s beyond eight feet from the basket, according to NBA.com/Stats.
His presence on the court didn’t mean a whole lot for the Knicks’ overall offense though; they were two points better in Offensive Rating with Martin off the floor. Likewise, after missing nearly the entire season as an unsigned free agent, Martin’s production fell off in April after a strong March. In March, he posted 8.4 points per game on 60% FG. In April, however, Martin managed just 4 points per game on 55% FG. He was still a surprising boost to a team that was nearly gutted in early March and he filled a nice role in the PnR.
Defense: Once again, the Knicks were actually better on the defensive end with Martin off the floor. They posted a 96.4 Defensive Rating with Martin playing versus a 95 D-Rating with Martin off the floor. However, some of this can be attested to how Martin was used. The Knicks rarely went “big” with Martin at the power forward and Tyson Chandler at center. During most of Martin’s minutes he was situated at center, including a stretch in which he started for the Knicks and faced other teams’ starting centers. Martin, while a stout defender with capable footwork against most players, was simply out-matched by bigger and stronger players. Not to mention, he probably wore down over the course of the season.
Martin still swatted shots with gusto, often sending soft layup attempts into the fifth row. Likewise, he rebounded fairly well, averaging 5.3 board per game in 24 minutes of playing time. His rebound percentages were down from the Knicks’ overall percentages, but that was likely as a result from playing small. Perhaps Martin’s best trait on defense, though, was his willingness to clobber any players entering the paint, and then willingly raise his hand to take the foul.
Overall: Martin’s short stint with the Knicks was surprisingly effective. Considering he was often out-matched in the paint and was thrown immediately into the rotation after almost a full year of not playing, Martin held up his end of the bargain. He finished easy plays around the basket and did his darndest to prevent opponents from scoring. His future with the Knicks is uncertain and may depend on his asking price this offseason, but he’ll come back for cheap, he’d be welcomed. His production was up and down, but it was an overall fun two months with K-Mart.