Saturday, February 4, 2012

Kenyon Martin Adds Big Man Depth

Staff writer Vince Robbins shares his thoughts on the recent acquisition of forward Kenyon Martin.


"Hey Chauncey... Hey... Chauncey... I'm back."
Clippers, in an expected and highly anticipated move, have signed former All-Star forward Kenyon Martin, filling a glaring gap in their front court. Martin reached a buyout agreement that ended his short-lived semester abroad in China earlier this week, which allowed him to consider the Clippers mini-mid-level exception offer of $2.5 million, as well as offers from the Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks, San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks


Alongside a slew of effective guards, Kenyon Martin brings much-needed backup for Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan. In 9 out of his 11 NBA seasons, and every season in which he's played over 50 games, K-Mart has averaged double-digit points and over 6 rebounds per game. He's also averaged 1+ blocks and 1+ steals in over half of his seasons in the league. To put it simple, the guy is just a solid big man, across the board.




At this point in his career, K-Mart is mainly desirable for his defensive presence, but there's no doubt that he can still knock down mid-range jumpers and do some damage on the glass. Most importantly for the Clippers, Martin can spread the floor, allowing space in the key for Chris Paul to make use of Blake and Deandre down low. In theory, a shooting big like Brian Cook can achieve this kind of spacing, but must we delve into his stats on the year? (±20% from the beyond the arc? Is this a real statistic?) Let's just say, if Cook keeps getting minutes, the FBI should immediately be alerted, as it lends credence to the theory that he is holding one of Vinny Del Negro's family members hostage. Hey, it's just a theory, okay? Additionally, nobody, except for maybe Mr. and Mrs. Jones, will be complaining about decreased minutes for Solomon Jones; and as much as we are hyped on Reggie Evans' tenacity, he isn't bringing anything to the table offensively.

With two 6-game stretches still remaining on the schedule, and a jam-packed 20 games in 30 days in March, depth is absolutely crucial for this young Clippers squad. With the season shortened and compressed, lots of guys around the league are already wearing down, and a successful playoff drive is going to be dependent on a healthy roster.  Also, it's hard to quantify the veteran leadership that a seasoned guy like K-Mart brings to a team who is making their first legitimate shot at a title in...well...ever. Martin, who's averaged 14.9 points and 7.6 boards in 89 playoff games, brings much needed experience that our young, exciting guys lack. When the journey to the NBA finals becomes awfully trying, guys like K-Mart, Billups, and Chris Paul will be there steady the ship.


Ultimately, it's an ideal signing for the Clipps, and shows us fans that our franchise is not only serious about contending for a title, but actually in a position to make it happen. Moreover, you can't discount the value Martin brings in the (admittedly somewhat unlikely) event of a NBA tattoo competition.


Welcome to Lob City.

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