NBA Free Agency Rumors: Kenyon Martin Would Lift Warriors into Playoffs

Matt ShetlerCorrespondent IJuly 13, 2012

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 17:   Kenyon Martin #2 of the Los Angeles Clippers in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 17, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Since Mark Jackson took over as head coach of the Golden State Warriors prior to the 2011-12 season, he envisioned a team that wasn't only athletic, but was tough as well, especially on the defensive end.

No team in basketball may have improved as much through the draft as the Warriors, but they are still missing that toughness.

That can be addressed by signing veteran forward Kenyon Martin. If they do, the Warriors will be heading back to the playoffs in 2013.

Matt Steinmetz of reports that Martin is on the Warriors radar.

The former No. 1 overall pick played in 42 games last season for the Clippers, averaging 5.3 points and 4.2 rebounds in 22 minutes per game.

But the stats don't indicate just how important he would be to the Warriors.

They added a hard-nosed guard by trading for Jarret Jack and they need a guy like that in the frontcourt. Martin adds toughness and the willingness to get the job done.  He’s an above average, low-post defender, capable of defending power forwards without needing help. He’s also a solid team defender which fills a huge need on the Warriors club.

With a solid starting five that likely includes Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, first-round pick Harrison Barnes, David Lee and Andrew Bogut, the Warriors are set to compete.

But signing Martin would also strengthen the Golden State bench.

Add Martin to a group that now includes Jack, rookies Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green, Richard Jefferson and others, the Warriors have a chance to be one of the most improved teams in the NBA.

To do that, though, they need toughness and post defense.

Martin can give them that.

If they find a way to sign K-Mart, the next stop for the Warriors will be the postseason.