Originally posted on Knicks Journal  |  Last updated 3/26/13
At the beginning of the season, the Knicks reeled a bevy of well known and proven veterans in to fill out their squad.Though New York currently stands as the league's oldest team, the thought-process behind this was that if most of the seasoned vetereans were able to conservatively share minutes with one another, they'd each be able to thrive while not being asked or expected to do too much.But a handful of injuries to plenty of key Knicks contributors has undoubtedly thrown a wrench into that line of thinking. Iman Shumpert's knee injury from last season gave way to Jason Kidd (for better or for worse) earning himself a starting job, and from there, a domino effect began with regard to the Knicks needing to rely on these veterans for a lot more than anyone (including themselves) ever imagined.Potentially playing too much has resulted in Kidd experiencing his own respective cold streaks, but he's not the only one. The likes of Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby (and not to mention, Amar'e Stoudemire) have all encountered various injuries and setbacks, forcing the Knicks to look elsewhere for help.Similar circumstances is exactly what led to New York bringing in Kenyon Martin. After playing out two ten-day contracts, not only do the Knicks simply need Martin by default, but he's also done enough over the last few weeks to prove he deserves to stay in town.Filling in for the injured Tyson Chandler, Martin started in the Knicks' front-court over the last handful of games, and looked almost as steady a running mate as the All-Star Chandler does next to Carmelo Anthony. In six games as a starter, Martin has averaged 12.2 points (on 67% from the field) and 7.2 boards.That's not bad for a guy who up until until late February, hadn't participated in professional competition since last Spring.Martin has served as a key factor in the Knicks resuming their winning ways and bouncing back from an otherwise recent frustrating road trip, but the question remains, how long can he keep it up?It's been well noted that when Chandler eventually returns to the lineup (that very well could be Tuesday against the Celtics), Martin will go on to resume taking a seat on the bench to begin contests. This is undeniably the right move, as overplaying the new Knickerbocker and burning him out this early with so much to gain the weeks ahead would be quite the let down.With the rest of their options having dwindled down to not very many over the last two months or so, the Knicks need to recognize the life-presever of sorts they've been tossed in the form of Martin. It's tough not to sound overly dramatic when it comes to the Knicks' keeping their head afloat the rest of the way with regard to coping with so many injuries, but the fact remains that Martin is one of the team's last hopes in the front court.As Anthony and the rest of his teammates begin to peak at exactly the right time with their eyes narrowed in on the ultimate time, it's important Coach Mike Woodson and his staff stick to the original plan when it comes to Martin.Martin's proven that not only can he still play at this level, but also that he can be a key contributor in a contending team's success. If the Knicks want to keep reaping the benefits of having him aboard, they must monitor his minutes accordingly.With Chandler out, New York has been given a unique window into the world of Martin and what he can still do, but now it's time to reel him back in and ultimately, better prepare themselves to unleash him and his freakish athleticism and explosiveness once again when it matters most: the postseason.
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