As we mourn the loss of Kevin Martin, let's not underrate the value, impact and talent of Carl Landry. Our friend Zach Harper of Cowbell Kingdom reminds us of Landry's toughness. Carl got shot in the leg (with a bullet!) after a car ran him off the road while driving home from a game last spring, and Landry ran away while the would-be robbers chased. (Landry was back on the court within weeks.) This year, Landry famously walked away calmly from a collision in which several pieces of his mouth got embedded in Dirk Nowitzki's arm.
But beyond all that cowboy machismo, Landry is really freaking good. At basketball.
Landry is 19th in the league in Hollinger's PER this season. He's 11th among forwards, and 14th among all big men. He's 16th in per-minute scoring among all players (21.3 points per 36 minutes). And he isn't scoring all those points because he's taking a ton of shots: among those who have played 500 minutes this season, he's 13th in True Shooting percentage (.621), and sixth among forwards. Of all players who average at least 20 points per 36 minutes, he's the most efficient.
Landry basically scores as frequently as Brandon Roy and Tim Duncan ... but does so far more efficiently. He scores one point fewer than Amare Stoudemire for every 36 minutes played ... but gets his more efficiently. This season, Landry has scored more frequently than Kevin Martin, and done so far, far more efficiently.
Basically, Landry is the forward version of the 2006-07 and 2007-08 Kevin Martin.
Like that Martin, Landry isn't renowned as a defender or passer. He can't touch Roy or Duncan, obviously, in either category. But he is a really, really good scorer. And efficient! I'll repeat: we're basically trading for the forward version of Martin.
Landry doesn't figure to help much on the defensive boards: he's been worse than Spencer Hawes or Jason Thompson for his entire career. But he has played with really good rebounders -- Chuck Hayes, Luis Scola, Yao Ming, Dikembe Mutombo -- in Houston, so perhaps we'll see his numbers improve in that category. He's a solid offensive rebounder (better in previous years), but again, his draw is scoring. Efficient, frequent scoring.
The loss of Martin breaks my heart, it breaks my heart. But I'm beyond stoked to see what Landry can do in Sacramento. Get it, homey.