Is Kenyon Martin lazy or does he just not care? I am sure there are a lot of Denver Nuggets fans out there asking the same question. His team is locked in a battle with the LA Lakers for a spot in the finals, and he is not putting in 100 percent.
Sure he has had his injury and health problems to deal with this season, but right about now, I would say everyone has some kind of niggling little complaint that they are playing through.
But suffering from a slight injury does not excuse not putting in an effort every time it is required. Too many times, especially during this series with LA, Martin has spectated, while Kobe Bryant or another of his teammates has wandered past him to the basket for an easy deuce.
I am not saying he has not played well or not contributed both offensively and defensively, he has. The problem is when he doesn't put the same effort in on every play. When someone drives to the basket and you should be there on help defense, you cannot say to your teammates, "Can you get that, I got the last one."
Do you see Kobe Bryant taking a play off here and there because he is tired or just doesn't feel like it? It is extremely rare for him to ever quit on a play. It is what makes him great.
Am I saying Kenyon Martin should be Kobe? No, but you need to match his effort or he and his team will beat you.
For all of Martin's size and strength, it seems he doesn't always use it effectively. He doesn't get to the free throw line nearly enough. He becomes one dimensional and easy to stop when he settles for jump shots.
On defense, he needs to be more aggressive, not reckless, but aggressive on every play that comes near him. A few times this series he has either not made a move to cover the key on a drive by the Lakers, or when he is there he has stepped out of the way to avoid contact and a possible foul and hasn't even contested the lay up.
Avoiding a foul, good. Not helping your team on defence, bad.
Kenyon Martin may not be a "punk," as Mark Cuban called him, but I believe he is lazy.