Breaking Down How Kenyon Martin Can Boost NY Knicks' Soft Interior Defense

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterFebruary 22, 2013

Apr. 25, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Steve Novak (16) and Los Angeles Clippers power forward Kenyon Martin (2) wait for the rebound during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Knicks won 99-93. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

You don't have to be young in order to be mean.

And to be frank, the New York Knicks could use a couple of jerks to help protect their paint and defend their goal.

New York signed Kenyon Martin to a 10-day contract, which is essentially a mini audition, just to make sure his body still works.

His skills? Irrelevant.

The team didn't add Martin to start putting up routine double-doubles. It got him to pick up a couple of personal fouls, knock a few people to the ground and grab some defensive rebounds.

The Knicks clearly can't rely on Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace, who haven't suited up in months while dealing with lingering injuries that are unlikely to heal. And at this point, Kurt Thomas has shown the explosiveness of my pet turtle Herbie.

These aren't guys you want to count on in a seven-game series against the Chicago Bulls or Indiana Pacers.

The only other true power forward on the roster is Amar'e Stoudemire, who isn't a physical defender and has never been known for rebounding.

The key word is physical. The Knicks have to find a way to channel their inner mid-90s. If I'm Mike Woodson, I'm showing game film from the Charles Oakley days, when an opponent couldn't drive for a layup without landing hard on his back.

Martin's responsibility with the Knicks will be to bring the pain, as Method Man so eloquently put it.

By the end of his time with New York, Martin should be the face of anti-bullying campaigns set up throughout every arena he visits.

Here's a perfect example of the services that Martin can offer the Knicks:

Although he has not played since last season, Martin should not have trouble adjusting to the Knicks since he won't need to learn a new system and his body should be fresh once he gets into game shape.

It was only a year ago that Martin was signed by the Los Angeles Clippers to play a similar role he'll be asked to play in New York. In terms of his defensive activity level, you won't find a better example of how Martin can improve a team's interior security.

In 42 games with the Clippers last year, Martin averaged a block per game in 22.4 minutes, which is what Stoudemire averaged in 2011-12, when he was playing almost 33 minutes per game.

Martin's toughness and willingness to bang are two qualities that Tyson Chandler's little helpers don't currently offer.

Will Martin be the savior? Probably not. But at 35 years old, he's younger and fresher than all three of the veterans the team previously brought in to support Chandler in the middle.

The Knicks may not have added a player they wanted at the trade deadline, but they did get themselves a need.