It is not a secret to anyone who has been following the Knicks at all over the last few months that the Knicks primary target in free agency is a veteran center who can be signed cheaply. Now the Knicks have a list of guys they intend to pursue as soon as the lockout is over. Kwame Brown heads the list that includes guys like Kurt Thomas, Tony Battie, Nazr Mohammed etc. Kwame is the Knicks primary target for several reasons, he is the youngest of the group, the biggest of the group, and the most athletic.
Now normally I would be opposed to the idea of Kwame Brown getting anywhere near the Knicks but strangely I believe that Brown could provide serious value and help this team far more than his career advanced stats may suggest. At the risk of sounding totally nuts let me explain.
At a listed 6'11 and 270 lbs (Although the fact is he is actually 7"0 1/4 in shoes and closer to 285 lbs), Kwame is certainly big enough, strong enough and athletic enough to guard any center in the NBA. Kwame is also exceptionally quick for such a big man and therefore is quick enough to guard all but the most fleet footed power forwards. Kwame also has proven himself to be a decent one on one defender when his head is on straight although he has lapses in team defense. However his lapses are no more frequent or egregious than say Andrew Bynum's and the Lakers won two titles with him playing center.
Brown's ability to guard 4's as well as 5's means that he can take the other teams best scoring big and allow Amar'e to take the weaker offensive player most games. This benefits the Knicks in two ways. First Amar'e is a below average one on one defender, but has shown decent ability as a weak-side help defender. The more that Amar'e can serve as a help defender rather than a primary defender the less of a liability he becomes at that end of the floor. Secondly by Brown taking the more difficult offensive match up he helps to keep Amar'e out of foul trouble.
Brown is not a great rebounder but has shown when he gets consistent minutes he can be solid. He has proven that when motivated he can consistently go out and get 9 rebounds a game. For example Brown averaged 9 rebounds a game over Charlottes last 50 games last season. He did the same a few seasons ago for the Lakers. If he can do that here, then he helps the Knicks be better able to compete on the boards. Last season when the Knicks were able to break even or have a slight advantage in the rebounding battle their record even against playoff teams was very good (.714 winning percentage). So the more Brown helps us get to at least even on the boards the better the chances of this team having a really good record.
Brown also can have an impact offensively. Brown has never played with another big as offensively productive as Amar'e Stoudemire. This means that Amar'e draws a lot of attention from opposing defenses when he has the ball as well as he usually draws the other team's best defending big. Both situations will create opportunities for Brown to be useful in the offense. Now while Kwame is certainly no Hakeem or a young Tim Duncan in the low post, he can score some when he gets the ball down there. Picture this, the Knicks are playing Miami, Joel Anthony and Chris Bosh are on the floor for the Heat. Which one is guarding Amar'e? That's right Anthony. That means that Bosh will be on Kwame. Now Bosh will be giving up a couple of inches in height and about 40-50lbs in weight and a bunch of strength to Kwame. Get Kwame the ball 6-8 feet from the basket against Bosh and he should be able to just over power Bosh to the hoop at will down there. Seriously folks get Bosh on Brown that close to the hoop and you might as well be throwing the ball to Dwight Howard, cause Bosh isn't stopping either guy. Now more important than his points in these situations is that fact that the ability to go to Brown in the post against guys like Bosh, Boozer, Brand, Aldridge etc. puts these guys at risk of picking up fouls guarding him down there, thus limiting those teams ability to keep key offensive personnel on the floor against the Knicks. Now there is an example of offense helping defense. I still say the easiest way to guard any player in the NBA is to have him on the bench sitting next to his coach for large stretches of the game.
Also the attention Amar'e draws when he has the ball should also create situations where Kwame may be turned loose on the boards giving him a few cheap buckets on put backs.
For these reasons even if Kwame only averaged 8 pts and say 7 rebounds a game, he could be a far bigger pick up than his stats. Fans and the media are fairly ignorant sometimes. If the Knicks do sign Brown there will be people all over the media and the fan base blasting the move. That is understandable as the media and fans focus on the who a player is rather than what he can do. I just gave you three areas where what Brown can do could make the Knicks a better team, whether he is a better player or not.