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The dissing of K-Mart continues...

(Photo courtesy of Denver Stiffs reader Mordecai)

I know I'm late to the party on this one, but Denver Stiffs has had it with the dissing of Kenyon Martin.

First off, Denver Stiffs has been about as critical of K-Mart as anyone. The trade and subsequent max signing of K-Mart in 2004 has been derided routinely on this blog (as has K-Mart's refusal to develop a consistent mid-range jump shot), and last summer Denver Stiffs named K-Mart as the lead player on the All NBA Most Untradeable Team.

But as K-Mart's defenders have pointed out since Day 1 on this blog, it's not his fault that the Nuggets traded three number one picks for him and offered him a maximum contract. It's Kiki Vandeweghe's. And to K-Mart's credit, he could have gone the Darius Miles/Stephon Marbury/Steve Francis route and just been another bad guy collecting money from a bad contract, but instead he worked himself into impeccable shape to recover from two microfracture surgeries and came into Nuggets camp in 2008 with a renewed attitude, while admitting to his faults of previous seasons. (Unfortunately a consistent jump shot wasn't part of K-Mart's reformation project.)

In other words, before Chauncey Billups arrived and gave the Nuggets locker room the NBA version of "Extreme Makeover", K-Mart had already been a catalyst in changing the culture of the Nuggets.

And yet after the conclusion of his best ever season in a Nuggets uniform in which he was critical to the Nuggets winning 54 games, K-Mart has been fined $25,000 by the NBA for a routine hard foul on Dirk Nowitzki in Game 1, was given a completely unwarranted technical foul (his third in the postseason, seven is an automatic one game suspension) while walking away from Ryan Hollins who had horse collared him in Game 2 and didn't receive a single vote for the 2008-09 NBA All-Defensive Team, announced on Wednesday. Some might argue that K-Mart didn't appear in enough games (66 total) to qualify for either the Defensive First or Second Teams, but the Celtics' Kevin Garnett made the first team after appearing in just 57 games. For K-Mart to not receive a single vote is nothing short of blasphemy.

Fair or not, K-Mart is paying the price for years of having a surly reputation around the league. But how can the NBA justify fining K-Mart $25,000 for one mere hard foul while letting Rajon Rondo off the hook even though he's been a repeat offender this postseason? And does anyone honestly believe that Udonis Haslem, Ronnie Brewer, Andre Igoudala, Derek Fisher, Jason Kidd, Anderson Varejao, Kirk Hinrich, J.R. Smith (no joke! J.R. received two second place votes and K-Mart received none!), Trevor Ariza, Andrei Kirilenko, David Lee, Antonio McDyess, Travis Outlaw and Rasheed Wallace are more deserving of All-Defensive Team consideration than K-Mart? That's more laughable than David West getting voted as an All-Star over Carmelo Anthony.

Clearly, the NBA and the "vetted" sports writers who cover it have an agenda against K-Mart. As a former fierce critic of K-Mart, Denver Stiffs believes it's time to lay off the guy and measure him up against his peers, not against his past transgressions.

(For more on K-Mart's new attitude, his repaired relationship with Nuggets head coach George Karl and K-Mart's charity work to help people who stutter, I encourage you to re-visit my interview with 5280's Robert Sanchez who followed Karl closely earlier in the season).

On a side note, in response to an Anonymous Denver Stiffs commenter who asked for my take on the Denver Post's Mark Kiszla's suggestion that Nuggets Nation take up a collection to pay for K-Mart's $25,000 fine (when K-Mart has $32 million due to him over the next two seasons) I have to say I, too, found this to be ridiculous. I've applauded Kiszla in the past for being the only "vetted" Denver writer who's had the courage to call out what a bad job George Karl did up until this season, but he's a little out of line here.