Contract: One year, $1.4 million dollars (veteran’s minimum).
Acquisition Details: Re-signed by the New York Knicks in July. Initially signed as a free agent in February 2013 to a ten-day contract, ultimately signing for the rest of the season in March.
What to Expect Offensively: Now at the end-stage of his career – not to mention on the other side of microfracture surgeries to both knees – Knicks fans should not expect a late arrival of the high flying Kenton Martin for the 2013-14 season. (He turns 36 this December.) Instead, Kenyon will serve as a backup four or five (more of the latter when the Knicks go small, as they often do) with limited offensive range and mediocre offensive rebounding numbers. That is not to say that K-Mart cannot contribute when it counts, though. It cost New York next to nothing to bring him in last season, but that investment more than paid for itself when Martin caught a high and outside ‘Melo fastball to convert a game-changing layup in the waning moments of Game 1 of last April’s playoff series against the Celtics. Martin’s interior prowess is nothing new, either, as the University of Cincinnati product has hit at close range at nearly a 50% clip for his career. K-Mart remains a “high energy” player (in limited minutes); his putback dunks, replete with howls to the Garden faithful, providing an invaluable and difficult to quantify contribution off the bench. The Knicks, as they did last season, are likely to feature a three point guard rotation, often playing two at once, a strategy that should continue to benefit players like Martin. Ray Felton, Pablo Prigioni and Beno Udrih, each with above average court awareness, are capable of finding Kenyon when he floats along the baseline away from the ball, a likely scenario as opposing defenses are forced to devote much of their attention to Anthony in the post or on pick-and-rolls.
What to Expect Defensively: When the opportunity first arose to acquire Martin, the Knicks were sorely in need of a player with Martin’s constitution. Though New York had proven itself formiddable on offense, their defense often left something to be desired. (Fans have long-lamented the perception that the Knicks – their bigs, specifically – are soft.) With Tyson Chandler as the sole true protector of the rim, the Knicks inability to contain opposing guards on the perimeter was only amplified. Enter K-Mart. His presence at times conjured memories of Oakley, Mason, and the X-Man, and his impact upon his teammates cannot be understated. Leading by example, Martin filled monster void when Chandler missed several games due to various injuries, and those “it looks like I’m falling off a ladder, but really I’m blocking your shot into the fifth row” highlights both energized his teammates and helped forge the team’s defensive identity. Capable of acting as the defensive lynchpin of any lineup he’s featured in, Martin’s hustle often served as the the catalyst to offensive conversions on the break, too. On the defensive side of the floor, Kenyon is the “the straw that stirs the drink,” so to speak. Healthwilling, perhaps the Knicks will occasaionally deploy a frontcourt lineup of Martin, the recently-signed Metta World Peace and the aforementioned Chandler, especially against rugged teams like the Pacers and Bulls, who have presented vexing matchup problems for the ‘Bockers.
Kinda Sorta Maybe Reasonable Season Prediction: At this stage of his career, Martin is never going to fill the stat sheet anymore, so the biggest question mark will be his health. Unreasonable to expect K-Mart to appear in all 82 games, nor should the Knicks need him to, the more likely scenario is 60 games or so. Woodson will need to be careful in monitoring his minutes, but if strategically deployed, there is no reason to think that Martin cannot replicate his efforts from last season, and provide New York with some insurance in case something happens to Chandler. Figure on 5.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG, .3 APG, .8 SPG, 1.2 BPG, 49.1 FG%, 63.2 FT %, and at least three ejections.