Kenyon Martin Is “Quietly” Holding the Denver Nuggets Together

Rich KurtzmanSenior Analyst IJanuary 21, 2010

Quiet is not a term usually associated with Kenyon Martin, the boisterous power forward of the Denver Nuggets.

Loudmouth, strongman, intimidator—these are more suitable describing words for one of the most physically dominating players in the NBA today.

But K-Mart has been quietly productive with every screaming, emphatic dunk and every, “Get that $#!% outta here!” taunt. In tonight’s win versus Golden State, he yelled, “Get him outtahere!” about Corey Maggette, who got his third foul early while playing defense on K-Mart. Martin may be louder than a megaphone naturally, but his knack for quietly generating numbers makes him a great fit for the Nuggets.

While Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, and J.R. Smith get the “mother load” of Nuggets’ touches, Martin maximizes possessions whenever he touches the ball.

K-Mart can score with a running teardrop or on his much-improved mini-jumper. It’s mini because while Martin can soar, he rarely gets higher than six inches off the ground on his shot. He mainly muscles the ball through the hoop with his amazing upper body strength (which makes for a goofy looking but valuable shot).

K-Mart is most deadly when going to the hoop: driving, dunking, or catching an alley-oop.

He’s more than a scorer though. Martin’s multifaceted nature makes him an asset to the Nuggets. K-Mart, Denver’s robust rebounder, is their best defender as well.

Martin leads the Nuggets with 8.8 rebounds per game and believes he can average a double-double every night. He’s accomplished the feat in 10 of the last 12 games and his play has been spectacular over the last month. During that time, K-Mart has racked up 14.2 points and 11 rebounds per game—stellar numbers for a power forward on a team with the NBA’s leading scorer.

When K-Mart is on top of his game he regularly skies over defenders and aggressively grabs boards on both the offensive and defensive ends. His specialty is the flying tip-dunk accompanied with a roar that always makes Nuggets’ fans jump out of their seats and scream for joy.

Martin is also the main component in Denver’s defensive machine.

For a big man, K-Mart is as active a defender you’ll see in the NBA. Regularly, he’s matched up with the Tim Duncans and Andrew Bynums of the Association, but he’s also asked to cover the opposing team’s best player at times.

He’s been asked to (attempt) to D-up Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki, and has held his own.

Martin loves to body-up and trash talk opponents—mentally and physically wearing them down over the course of a game. K-Mart is Denver’s foundation on defense and the wall crumbles when his presence is missed.

The Nuggets are 0-3 this year when K-Mart sat due to a knee contusion and they allowed 111 points in those losses, almost 10 points higher without him.

But with Martin in top form, Denver has its swagger back and they are looking again like a legitimate contender in the West.

On this 2010 Nuggets squad, each player is an equally important piece to the puzzle—Kenyon Martin is the glue that holds that puzzle together. Whether or not George Karl can assemble the puzzle and have the picture show the Nuggets with an NBA championship though, is yet to be seen.