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Kenyon Martin Would Help NY Knicks in More Ways Than One

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)
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Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2013

New York Knicks fans may not like hearing it, but this team's suddenly showing a vulnerability it seemed incapable of over the 2012-13 season's opening month.

With their 102-96 loss to the Boston Celtics on Jan. 7, New York has dropped three of its past five games and six of its past 11.

Since Dec. 9, the Knicks have allowed 100.5 points per game. That figure represents a nearly six-point swing from the 94.6 points per game they allowed in their first 19 games.

Starting point guard Raymond Felton has been sidelined since Dec. 25 with a broken right pinkie. His absence has exposed the Knicks' lack of reliable scorers not named Carmelo Anthony.

As constructed, New York is forced to live and die by the three-point shot. The perimeter orientation extends to the frontcourt, with Anthony, Steve Novak and Rasheed Wallace all hoisting from deep.

Outside of the recently returned Amar'e Stoudemire, the Knicks lack a scoring threat on the interior. Tyson Chandler's points (12.8 per game) have largely come by way of alley-oops and putback finishes.

Free-agent forward Kenyon Martin might not solve all of the team's offensive woes, but the veteran would bring a contagious energy, and the subsequent second-chance points that follow that kind of effort.

 

And with Wallace suffering through a stress reaction that has left the Knicks without a timetable for his return, New York has once again set its sights on the 12-year veteran (according to what league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports).

With the Knicks struggling on the defensive end sans Wallace, Martin is the kind of physical presence that could help recharge New York's battery on that end.

He's clearly not the same player he was with the New Jersey Nets or even the Denver Nuggets (as evidenced by his 22.4 minutes per game in 44 contests with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2011-12), but he can still bring a toughness to the interior and a fairly reliable jump shot on the offensive end.

If Wallace is out for an extended period, the Knicks' frontcourt largely consists of just Chandler, Stoudemire, Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas. Five years ago that would have been championship caliber; in 2012-13, though, it's barely passable in the Eastern Conference.

Martin never enjoyed a great reputation in the league, but New York's veteran-laden roster could withstand the addition.

With Martin reportedly willing to start his tenure on a 10-day contract, there's really nothing at stake for the Knicks. He could prove to be a rare post-holiday bargain, or the team could wash its hands of him after a couple weeks.

It's too early for the Knicks to panic, but this wouldn't constitute a panic move.

Rather, it would simply mark the club's acknowledgement of a significant hole in the rotation and a risk-free attempt at filling that void.

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