Joe Flynn's piece on the efficacy of signing Kenyon Martin started me thinking about what realistic options the Knicks have if they need to add a player to this roster. I am not certain that signing another player, and cutting someone off the current roster to do so, is the best plan for the Knicks. I would feel more comfortable waiting first to determine how long Marcus Camby will be out with injury and where Amare Stoudemire is in his recovery. If neither are able to assume a heavy workload for the forseeable future, the Knicks should consider waiving a current player and acquiring someone to contribute through the rest of the season and the playoffs.
Remember, though, that adding a player simply because they are a living body doesn't necessarily help the team. It wasn't so long ago that I was confused about the addition of Dan Gadzuric at the expense of Renaldo Balkman. The Knicks have a couple options available if Camby is out for an extended length of time.
Let's begin with Kenyon Martin. I've been fairly vocal in my opposition to signing K-Mart. He just isn't very good anymore. Martin is very inefficient offensively, an awful rebounder, never possessed significant court vision, and isn't certain to be healthy. He is a good shotblocker and forces turnovers with his aggression and active hands, but he also fouls very often on defense. He posted a -4.1 points allowed per 100 possessions last season for the Clippers, though it's difficult to determine whether that was due to his defensive fortitude or him just not being Blake Griffin. I expect it was a little of both. Joe pointed out his solid defensive rating of 102, but his offensive rating of 92 deserves mention as well. The Clippers offense basically did not exist while Kenyon was on the court. Part of that was due to the lack of depth at the PG position for that team last year, but Kenyon's horrific inefficiency certainly did nothing to help there. The Knicks also lack very many good rebounders. Martin will only hurt them there. It's also no sure thing that Martin can contribute to the Knick defense this year, as his 102 DRtg last season was his best mark there since 2005. I'm not a huge fan of DRtg, but if we're using it to form any sort of prediction about Martin's defensive impact we should take note of that.
Troy Murphy was actually a very good, underrated player three years ago. He was a strong rebounder, an acceptable defender, and stretched the floor with his perimeter jumper. That guy would fit pretty okay on this roster. Unfortunately, Murphy nosedived since then and got waived after 14 games with the Dallas Mavericks this season. He was shooting 36% from the field and 30% from the 3 point line. Yuck. He's not good anymore and shouldn't be considered. At least Kurt Thomas can set a screen.
Jordan Williams is interesting because he's young at 22 years of age. Many posters here at P&T like signing young guys. The intrigue of player development tempts many into wanting to roll the dice and hope for the best. I like the idea, if the young player is good. And Jordan Williams is good. He takes nearly all of his shots around the rim, where he shoots 62%. He has the tools to be a good rebounder in the NBA, though his defensive rebounding was strangely questionable during his rookie season. He's a modest shotblocker and gambles in the passing lanes, which leads to the problem. Williams is not a good defender. Without a go-to skill to contribute at this level, it would be unwise to release a current player in the hopes that he turns into the player the Knicks need. Also, recall that Woodson does not typically care for young players.
Darko Milicic lol.
Hassan Whiteside is young so Woody won't love him. He can block shots and rebound and not much else. Do not want. He is not a great defender.
Alright, I'm going to stop talking about all these mediocre or worse players because there is actually a very good player available. His name is Chris "Birdman" Andersen. Andersen is very, very good at things you expect centers to be good at. Incidentally, they are all things the Knicks sorely need: Rebounding, shotblocking, stealing, and efficient scoring. This is not an exaggeration. Andersen posted per 36 numbers of 12.4 points, 11 rebounds, .4 assists, 1.4 steals, 3.4 blocks, and only 1.3 turnovers last season on 55% shooting from the field and 61% from the FT line. His propensity for fouling limits him a bit, but his 3.9 fouls per 36 matches K-Mart's last year. Andersen is the ideal backup center: He rebounds, protects the rim, forces turnovers, and draws fouls at a high rate (22.9% of his offensive possessions end in a drawn foul). Andersen is also a very good defender. He's long, athletic, and aggressive. The Nuggets defense consistently improves while Andersen plays. Opposing offenses' eFG% dropped 3.3% while Birdman was on the court. Also, just because I mentioned it earlier: Birdman put up a defensive rating last season of 99. Honestly, the primary reason Andersen isn't playing for a team today is the legal case he is currently involved in. I won't attempt to make any statements about the case, as I'm not involved, but this from the Denver Post today seems relevant.
In summary: Birdman is very good. If the Knicks need to sign anybody, he should be taken before the Heat acquire him. Most other players are not so good, and the more I think about this the more I want Birdman on this team. Good player.