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Meet Carl Landry

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Carl Landry will make his debut as a Sacramento King tonight in Los Angeles. To help us get the flavor of what it's like to watch and root for Landry, I asked Tom Martin of The Dream Shake, SBN's fantastic Rockets blog, to share a few words. Also be sure to check out Jim Kozimor's interview with Landry on KHTK.com and Sam Amick's story on his arrival. And many thanks to Tom and the other writers who helped introduce us to our new Kings.

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I've been through many trades, as the Rockets have always been active on the market. I'm used to seeing players shuffle in and out. It happens all the time.  Sometimes, a particular acquisition can find a nice role on a team and gain a special trust from fans. Then he leaves, and you move on. Such is life in the NBA.

But this is Carl Landry. He grew up as a Rocket, raised from scratch. Watching him play in a different uniform is going to be one of the strangest sights I'll ever see. It's like losing a son to college. You knew it could happen, but you never expected it to happen.

You guys are going to love Carl. If you loved watching Kevin Martin grow, you're in for a similar experience, albeit not as personal, as Kevin was essentially born a King. Ziller took the words right out of my mouth: Landry is the power forward version of Speed Racer, an efficient scorer that could use work in other areas, but is otherwise a joy to watch. The fans will love his hunger and heart, and the team will love his playful, yet driven attitude. He's a fearless, tenacious teddy bear. Few people genuinely enjoy playing basketball as much as Carl Landry does.

Carl has improved his offensive game dramatically over the past few seasons, effectively transforming from "that bouncy energy guy off the bench" to a fourth-quarter menace and a reliable post presence. He has learned how to adjust to facing taller defenders and has extended his game to about fifteen feet from the rim. He's a fantastic finisher around the rim, as he is athletic enough to utilize a double-clutch or reverse lay-up to avoid having his shot blocked. Then, sometimes, you'll see a nice gorilla dunk.

He has developed a reliable jumper, and when he is able to face up against a defender, he can either take the shot or make a one-dribble spin move to the rim with ease. In other words, he's a quicker version of David West on offense, minus the ability to shoot comfortably from anywhere inside the arc. Up to this point, Carl has been finding different ways to score from as many angles as possible. In addition, he has developed a sweet free throw stroke and was shooting near 90% for the better part of the first half of the season. He seems to have found all the right tools; now he must refine them.

While Carl is an elite offensive rebounder, his defensive rebounding needs work. He doesn't always box out effectively, and when Carl doesn't put 100% effort into something, he's likely to suffer. He's a solid post defender, but won't block any shots. If anything, he is able to use his quickness to get position before an opposing forward can post up.

If there is one word I can use to describe Landry, it is that he is tough. He is incredibly tough, mentally and physically. He got shot in the leg and barely missed any time. He lost his teeth to Dirk Nowitzki's elbow, missed one game, then returned three nights later to score 27 points. This is the glaring difference between Landry and Martin: Carl can take a beating, and it won't matter, because he still will try to jam one in your face.

Lastly, I think Landry will fit very well with Spencer Hawes. I haven't seen much of Hawes, but he seems to be a capable post that will take a double team away from Landry, something that he has not yet figured out how to beat. Landry can be a go-to guy in spurts, but mostly finds his points in complementary bunches, either off of offensive rebounds, loose balls, or when he is set up by another teammate.

Again, you guys are going to love Landry. I can't promise you that he will be an all-star caliber guy due to his lack of dimensionality and size, but if anyone can prove the doubters wrong, it is absolutely Carl Landry. Best of luck to Carl and to the Kings this season.