Brooklyn Nets Need Kenyon Martin in a Bad Way
The Brooklyn Nets have signed, re-signed or acquired 13 players over the course of this offseason— including all five of their likely starters, most of their rotation and even those sure to stay glued to the bench. It's an unapologetic remodeling for a team looking to redefine itself. The Nets, after all, have a new arena, a new home and a new visual identity. Why not have a new team as well?
The re-signing of Deron Williams was obviously crucial to Brooklyn's offseason, and the supplementary moves to bring back Gerald Wallace, Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries—in addition to the trade to acquire Joe Johnson—gave the Nets an unquestionably solid core.
But it also extinguished resources and limited what Brooklyn could do to fill out the rest of their roster. Billy King stayed active, but committed to low-level signings as a way of filling out his team's bench. He made some quality acquisitions (C.J. Watson, Mirza Teletovic) nonetheless, but there's only so much that can be done with minimum-salary contracts and trade exceptions.
As such, Brooklyn registered plenty of movement, but hardly budged in the dimensions of the game that really mattered. Minutes will be filled by decent NBA players, but due to their financial restrictions, the Nets were prevented from really addressing the weaknesses of their roster.
Enter Kenyon Martin, who—per Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated—has been discussing the option of joining the Nets for the coming season. And though Brooklyn is hardly the only team that could use Martin in their frontcourt (the Lakers and Knicks are noted in Amick's report, among others), the Nets' need of a player with Martin's skill set is far more considerable than that of his other suitors.
At present, the Nets look to be the NBA's best team without a single quality defensive big. Lopez's feet have a tendency to turn to lead on that end of the court, and both Kris Humphries and Reggie Evans rebound aggressively without bringing the same benefit to their team defense. Teletovic shouldn't be a liability, per se, but he also gives us little reason to believe that he can be a plus-defender in his first year in the NBA.
That leaves Brooklyn's defense very little margin for error, and though adding Martin wouldn't rectify that collective weakness on a consistent basis, every bit of good interior D counts.
The sad part: Martin, at 34, isn't even a particularly remarkable defender. The mobility and explosiveness that made Martin so useful on the back line has slowly edged away from him over the years, leaving him as merely a solid performer on that end.
Yet Brooklyn is so starved for positive defensive influences that even Martin would be a clear upgrade—albeit one who couldn't be played for serious minutes.
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