Last season, the Knicks saw Jason Kidd get played into the ground due to increased playing time and a more exhausting role. Clearly benefitting from his impact on the court, New York suffered that much more when he was tired.
Kidd wasn't the only veteran that got exhausted over the course of the season. The likes of Rasheed Wallace, Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas, (and even Amar'e Stoudemire, to an extent) all played more minutes than initially expected at one point or another. When they went down and/or couldn't be depended on, the team's play took a hit.
It's for that very reason that Coach Mike Woodson is perhaps aiming to learn from his previous mistakes. Even as early as training camp, Woodson is monitoring his veterans closely and limiting the minutes they are getting on the court.
Among the most notable of Knickerbockers to be taking a seat more often than not this month is Kenyon Martin. The big man and 13 year NBA veteran actually filled in really well for the aforementioned veterans later in the year. That said, despite becoming a fan favorite while playing in 18 contests, Martin too took a fall, missing 7 out of the Knicks' last 8 games.
New York re-signed Martin this past summer, which due to his aggressive, physical, and intimidating nature on both ends of the floor, was a good move. That said, should it be a cause for concern that Woodson and company is choosing to keep him out this much during camp?
Just a thought: keeping him out of training camp in hopes of preserving him for the regular season is one thing, but let's hope such hesitation isn't present during the actual season. The Knicks need a player like Martin to step up and be a key factor for the team off the bench. Players are signed for an 82 game season, not for much less. It's important Martin stays involved and excuses aren't made when things really count.
That goes for any number of the Knicks' returning veterans, for that matter.
Depending on players for only portions of the season proved to be the Knicks' problem last season. Here's to hoping they aren't faced with such a dilemma this year as well.