- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.
Kenyon Martin has been one of the driving forces behind the Knicks' four-game winning streak, averaging 14.3 points and 7.5 rebounds while shooting 75 percent in the past four games.
He has done so as the starting center, in place of the injured Tyson Chandler.
So what happens when Chandler comes back?
Mike Woodson says K-Mart will return to the bench.
Clearly, Woodson likes Carmelo Anthony at power forward, where he has taken advantage of mismatches against bigger, slower defenders.
If Martin remained in the starting lineup, along with Chandler, Anthony would be forced to shift to small forward.
Woody also thinks K-Mart and Chandler bring similar qualities to the starting unit.
"They're pick-and-roll guys. Both are defensive-minded guys. They both can block shots. And they both finish pretty well around the rim," Woodson said. "Tyson is probably one of the leaders in our league at finishing at the rim. If I bring Kenyon off [the bench], then it becomes a double threat and we don't lose a whole lot there when we're running pick-and-roll basketball."
That is Woodson's rationale. On the flip side, you could make the argument that Martin would bolster the Knicks' defense in the starting unit and add size to their front line, which could be pivotal in the playoffs.
Just how impactful has K-Mart been on defense?
The proof is in the numbers: When Martin is on the floor, the Knicks are giving up 99.5 points per 100 possessions, which would rank fifth in the NBA. When he's off the floor, they're giving up 103.3, which would put them 17th.
The Knicks would lose something in the second unit if Martin starts, but you'd think Marcus Camby could pick up the slack and Woodson could pair him with Martin or Chandler for large stretches.
Question: Should Martin come off the bench when Chandler returns or should he continue to start?
Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
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5dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann