Kenyon Martin is a veteran, so he didn't pout or panic after playing all of five minutes in his first 12 days with the Knicks.
"I just waited my turn; I was being patient," the 35-year-old Martin said. "I knew my time would come."
Now, Kenyon's time is here.
With Amar'e Stoudemire expected to miss approximately six weeks due to right knee surgery, the Knicks will need Martin to fill the void as the first big men off of their bench.
"It's unfortunate that you have to benefit from someone's injury, but I'm here, so I'm going to take advantage of it," Martin said.
He got his first taste of life sans STAT on Saturday night against Utah, and things worked out pretty well.
Martin provided needed energy off of the Knicks' bench with three first half dunks, two of which came off of feeds from his ex-Nuggets teammate J.R. Smith.
"Just moving around trying to find spots, guys did an excellent job finding me," Martin said after the Knicks' win over the Jazz. "It's always easy to get some dunks."
The dunks are great for the home crowd, but the Knicks need Martin to provide a defensive presence off the bench.
He did that on Thursday against the Thunder, guarding Kevin Durant for 17 minutes of the Knicks' one-point loss to OKC.
After that game, Martin said he was going to "sleep like an infant."
He'd played just five minutes during his first 10 days with the Knicks, so his fatigue was understandable.
But Martin will start to see regular minutes with Stoudemire out. The former No. 1 overall pick insists he's ready for the challenge.
"Kenyon's been around the block," Tyson Chandler said.
Martin was brought in as a free agent in late February to replace Rasheed Wallace, who's out at least eight weeks with a broken foot.
Wallace was a driving force off the bench during the Knicks' 15-5 start. Teammates lauded Wallace for his ability to communicate on defense and call out screens and cutters.
They're saying the same thing about Martin.
"He's a great communicator, always out there talking," Chandler said after Martin had had 10 points and six rebounds in 21 minutes against Utah .
Communication is a major part of Martin's daily approach to the game.
"Just talk and be aggressive. I think if we communicate on the defensive end and we're aggressive, the sky's the limit," he said.
The Knicks, of course, have the option to get rid of Martin at the end of his current 10-day deal. That wasn't likely to happen before the Stoudemire injury and it's almost definitely not going to happen now.
They could also cut Wallace and use the roster spot to add a player. But as long as Martin is healthy and effective, there may not be a need to let Wallace go.
Not with Kenyon ready for his close-up.
"It's unfortunate, with Amar'e going down, that you have to benefit from something like that," he said. "But I'm going to take advantage of that and try to help this team win."
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