Kevin Martin Is Heavily Underrated

In college, Kevin Martin was a star. In his 3 seasons at Western Carolina, Martin was able to have carreer averages of 23.3 ppg, 1.7 ast, 4.5 rpg, on 46.2% from the field and 34.6% from three. Despite being one of the nations best scorers for 3 consequitive years, the sharpshooter fell to the 26th pick in the 2004 NBA draft.

What’s interesting about Martins career, is that it took him two years to really kick things into gear. An injury to Bonzi Wells in the 2005-2006 season thrusted him into the starting lineup for Sacramento, and the rest is history. His best year was the following season, 2006-07. He led the team in scoring (20.2), three point percentage (38%), as well as field goal percentage (47%), those shootung splits cemented him as one of the leagues most promising sharpshooters. The Kings implemented their offensive system around Martin, giving the Kings hope for next year, as they fell short of a playoff spot finishing the season 33-49. 

sneaker news.com

The next three years Martin didn’t disappoint as he maintained scoring 20+ points, but it was clear that the Kings weren’t going anywhere as their record got progressively worse, and it wasn’t all on Martin. 

Three years into his 5-yr/$55m deal the Kings traded Martin to Houston in a three team deal that included Tracy McGrady, Carl Landry, Joey Dorsey, Kevin Martin, Kenny Thomas, Hilton Armstrong and Sergio Rodriguez. 

Martin learned of the news on the team bus and was crushed that he was being dealt. “It’s a sad day for me in the sense that Sac was the first team that took a chance for me late in the first round of the draft,” Martin said from the team bus. “They showed so much loyalty to me throughout the years. They gave me the big contract to show that you loved me…(But) I just think it was time for us to go in a different direction. I was the young guy before, and now I’m the oldest starter. I think it’s good.” (via Sam Amick Blog). 

Photo from Chatsports.com

Houston never saw the postseason during Martin’s time with the Rockets, and unfortunately that was the resume he accumulated over his whole career. He was a guy who could flat out score the basketball, but could never push his respective team over that hump and compete for a title when he was in a position to. Throughout his career he only saw the post season three times. Two of those years came on the back end of his career, and his first look at the playoffs came when he was 22 and inexperienced.

A talented player who just got unlucky. Put Martin in the right system in his prime and I believe we would be describing a different narrative. The problem with Martin is that he was too talented, Sacramento acquired a lot of value through the deal, leaving Martin with no pieces or old washed up stars to surround him in Houston. Needless to say this makes Martin one of the most underrated players in NBA history.

Another reason why Martin didn’t have a successful career in terms of accolades is that he could never seem to keep himself healthy. He only accumulated five seasons where he was available for more than 68 games. That hurts a franchise when your star player can’t stay on the court consistently. 

His only standout season was the 2006-07 season as I mentioned previously, and ended up coming in second in the Most Improved Player race, losing to rising star Monta Ellis. 

I wish the narrative was different because I actually loved Kevin Martin, but he will just be forever known as another forgotten talent that came through the league.

NoLimitJumper   

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Six Things to Be Thankful For: NBA Edition

Well it’s that time of year where we get to eat all day and not watch basketball. Kind of a win/lose for all of us NBA fanatics right ? We get to eat good food but have to settle for football.

Looking on to what this NBA season has turned into, it’s been a historic one. We haven’t seen a season like this in a long time and it’s about time I can actually share what I’m thankful for.

Celtics and Lakers are top teams in their conferences: growing up these two teams were all over headlines. Now we see the Lakers (#1) and Celtics (#2) playing great basketball and that rivalry that was always there is back and looks to better than ever.

January 20th will be the first time we see this matchup and I get goosebumps just thinking about it. Being that kid from Boston (even though I’m a Hawks fan) it feels good to know that the rivalry is alive again. 

Carmelo Anthony is back: The league wouldn’t be the same without Melo In it. In just five games Melo has put up a solid 16.6 points, 5 rebounds, 1.8 assists on 45% from the field.

To be more clear about how much of an impact Melo has made in Portland I’ll break it down for y’all:

  • Melo is shooting the best he’s shot in five years-  45% overall: 37% 3pt 49% 2pt
  • He has a plus/minus of +5.4 the best we’ve seen since I’m his whole career. His other career best was +4.6 when he was with Denver 
  • Managed to start all five games thus far as he was told he was a bench a player for the past two years

Overall, it seems like the Trailblazers value Melo and are utilizing him to the best of their ability. Glad to see another guy from the ‘03 draft class still active

Luka Magic: I missed seeing the Mavericks contend the last few years and have to hand it to Mark Cuban. He’s assembled one of the greatest and youngest NBA talents in a long time. Luka Doncic is someone we will be talking about for a very long time.

Doncic at 20 is leading a franchise to an 11-6 start in a grueling Western Conference. I could post stars all day about how he’s the first to do this, the first to do that, but he’s all over the headlines this year and his play has been speaking for itself. 

Here’s what he said about losing to the Clippers two nights ago:

“I was feeling sad yesterday,” he said. “Not feeling great. I was pissed. I went straight home. You just have to get through it. When we lose a game like this and I have a bad game, I feel like I let everybody down and I want to be alone”. (Dallas Morning News) 

Do we ever hear this kind of talk nowadays? This is what makes Luka special and I’m thankful to have a player who shares such passion for the game of basketball and cherishes every win and is humbled by every loss. 

The Golden State Warriors: Making my 8th seed prediction look distinct at this point, the Warriors have been a shocking 4-15 to start the season out and I couldn’t be happier of their demise. From a fan standpoint, Golden State has ruled the league with an iron fist for years, so I apologize if I’m excited that has come to an end.

Obviously I’m not happy that Steph, Klay, D’Lo, and Green are all inactive, but we all have to be thankful about Eric Paschall.

Paschall is averaging 17 points and 5.4 rebounds and has notched two 30+ outings and two 25+ outings on 14 games played. The 23 year old rookie out of Villanova is filling a lot of shoes at the moment as he is trying to keep the Warrior’s head above water.

If you are a Warriors fan and need to find something to be thankful for, then Eric Paschall is it! 

Andrew Wiggins is playing like his draft stock: I don’t know what has happened to Wiggins this season, but something just clicked. He seems more in tune with the game, is creating better looks for himself, and is in control of his play.

Shooting 47% on 20 shots a game, Wiggins is a huge reason why the Timberwolves are 10-8 and seeing a positive record.

If he can keep up this level of play and with Karl Anthony Towns averaging 26 and 12, this young duo could cause some havoc later in the season. The Timberwolves are not a team you want to see in a first round playoff matchup. 

NoLimitJumper Staff: Lastly, I would just like to thank my whole team here at NLJ for their continuous hard work and dedication to making this brand something special. Please if you haven’t already show some support to the writers below:

Try to enjoy that good food even though basketball isn’t on!

NoLimitJumper

Shaquille O’Neal – The Nickname MVP

After listening to the Book of Basketball 2.0 podcast by Bill Simmons, it got me thinking about Shaq. Growing up in Los Angeles, I got to experience Shaq for eight fun, interesting, frustrating, exhilarating years. From 1996, when he signed as a free agent from the Orlando Magic, to 2004 when the Lakers traded Shaq to the Miami Heat, Shaq made sure his presence was felt in LA … on the court and off the court.

During his career, Shaq did a lot. He won championships, an MVP, multiple Finals MVPs, multiple All-Star selections and All-NBA selections … and also made us laugh a whole lot. Though this topic is discussed every now and then with Shaq, it’s not touched on enough, and it’s one of the things Shaq was best at – Nicknames.

Shaq’s Best (and funniest) Nicknames

Feel free to skip ahead at any time!

Shaq The Diesel
Superman The Big Aristotle
M.D.E. Shaq Fu
Wilt Chamberneezy Osama Bin Shaq
The Big Deporter The Big Fella
The Big Cactus The Big Shamrock

Shaq

Shaq’s original nickname is … Shaq. He was born Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal, but everyone shortened it to ‘Shaq’.

Shaquille is an Islamic name. It means ‘little.’ Rashaun means ‘warrior.’ [My mother] said, ‘You’re my little warrior. I’ve fought with you; I’ve fought for you,'” he says.

Shaq on the meaning of his name.

The Diesel

The nickname ‘The Diesel’ signified a couple things. It implied that Shaq was strong and built like a diesel engine and it was the name of Shaq’s rap album from 1993 … that went platinum!


Superman

This is probably the name that is synonymous with Shaq. Shaq has a tattoo of the Superman “S” and the words “Man of Steel” on his left bicep. Not only is Shaq a huge Superman fan, the name fit him perfectly. He was larger and faster than anyone in the league that it looked like he was flying, and he was so strong that ‘Man of Steel’ seemed a little too accurate.


Big Aristotle

Shaq declared himself ‘The Big Aristotle’ after winning the MVP in ’99/00. People used to make fun of Shaq that he was uneducated, but in fact Shaq is extremely intelligent and has multiple degrees.

I would like to be referred to as ‘The Big Aristotle’

Shaq after winning the MVP in 1999/200

M.D.E.

Shaq called himself MDE, which was short for “Most Dominant Ever”. Usually I am against nicknaming yourself, but Shaq is the nickname MVP, so we let this one slide. Shaq also designed the LA Lakers 2020 city uniforms, which released last week. “MDE” is listed on the white trim, in typical Shaq-fashion.


Shaq Fu

Shaq Fu was a game that came out in 1995 for the Super Nintendo System (Super NES). I had this system as a kid (in ’95 I was 10) and you know damn well I had this game. Not only was Shaq kicking people’s asses on the court, now we could all kick ass as Shaq. Let’s just say the cover is the best thing about this game.


Wilt Chamberneezy

Kobe Bryant actually gave Shaq this nickname, dubbing O’Neal the great “Wilt Chamberneezy” after NBA Hall-of-Famer Wilt Chamberlain. I assume this happened around 2000 because that’s when Snoop Dogg was adding “neezy” and “nizzle” to everything.


Osama Bin Shaq

I actually forgot about this one and laughed so hard when I found it again. Shaq called himself this after “terrorizing” the New Jersey Nets (mainly Keith Van Horn) in the 2002 NBA Finals. This nickname, while hilarious, is a little touchy and probably wouldn’t work in today’s society.


The Big Deporter

Shaq called himself this after eliminating foreign-born centers in consecutive series in 1999/2000. Who were the Centers? Arvydas Sabonis (Blazers) and Rik Smits (Pacers). Another nickname that might not work well now, but in 2000 that shit worked just fine.


The Big Fella

I heard this nickname a ton, mainly by Lakers color commentator Stu Lantz. It was just a nice, easy way to talk about Shaq without saying Shaq. Everyone knew who the Big Fella was.


The Big Cactus / Shaqtus

When Shaq was traded to the Phoenix Suns in 2007, he had to call himself something. Thus, ‘The Big Cactus’ was born. Shaqtus was also used because you know … Shaq goes with everything.


The Big Shamrock

Keeping up with the tradition of nicknaming yourself, Shaq called himself ‘The Big Shamrock’ when he was with the Boston Celtics. Even today, it’s still weird seeing Shaq in Celtics colors. Ugh.


Bonus: The Shaq Pack

Sure, Shaq never actually went by this nickname, but I vividly remember this combo at Burger King …. so it goes on the list!

Shaq, thank you for making us laugh then… and now! Comment below or hit me up on Twitter to let me know your favorite one … or any I forgot!

@rosenthalsports

The Issues Nobody Talks About In The NBA

Here I sit at 5 in the morning before anyone else is even thinking about opening their eyes looking at their phones and I can’t help but take a minute to realize a few things.

When you look at the bigger picture, the NBA is facing multiple issues but it is often overlooked due to the large amounts of money made on a daily basis. Did you know the NBA made $8 billion in revenue last year according to Investopedia; valuing each franchise at an average of $1.9 million. I could go through hours and hours of research on how much money the NBA generates from their merchandise, ticket sales, and franchises. There is probably money in areas we don’t even know about.

The point is money gets in the way of a lot when it comes to seeing the bigger picture. NLJ writer Zak Cunningham wrote about “Sleep Deprivation in the NBA” and discussed the severity of stress that is put on players bodies throughout the regular season, dealing with back-to-backs, plane rides, and the constant “on the go” mentality. I wish that was the only problem these players experience, but that just isn’t the case.

Have you ever took time to realize the amount of sacrifice some players make in the league? I’m not talking about the superstar tier players; I’m talking about the ‘average’ players who are constantly worried about a job or those role players who sign one year contracts. 

Guard Luke Ridnour went to four different franchises in a span of a month back in 2014. Think about the adjustments he had to make, the last minute hotel rooms, the money spent making his career work. It all adds up for those who aren’t guaranteed to have that lavish career. 

The trade block is the most stressful process in the world. Just imagine that you’re told to go to Memphis right. You pack your bags, hop on a plane, get a meal, and arrive at a hotel. The next morning your suiting up for practice because you had a conversation with management the night prior and as you are five minutes out you get a call from your agent saying that the Grizzlies traded you to Indiana. Here you are almost at the training facility In Memphis, Tennessee and now you have to pack up and travel East to Indiana. Ridnour did that four times in a month; breaking down the math that’s a new team every week. 

The term ‘sacrifice’ is an understatement in the NBA. At least 41/82 (50%) games are played on the road per franchise. Meaning, 50% of the time a player is on the road away from his family. Now, I don’t understand what it’s like to be in the NBA, but I understand what it means to be a father. Spending that much time away from your kids, and significant other does a number on an individual. Why do you think we see players taking games off for “personal” reasons? 9 out of 10 times those guys are taking time to stay at home with their family. 

With that comes stress and anxiety. If you don’t think these are real things, then kindly exit out of this article because this isn’t for you to hear. Guys like Kevin Love, and DeMar DeRozan have publicly spoken out about these issues and they’ve paved the way for others to express their feelings.

 In Kevin Love’s “Players Tribune” he talks about how he had to be subbed out of a game and when he reached the locker room he fell to his knees because he could hardly breathe. Anxiety will cripple you, make you distant, and alter your moods. Anxiety often turns into stress and it’s not something we shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Is the league soft? Some people might think that, but until you put two and two together the overall perception will be “they get paid millions of dollars so their problems don’t matter”. At face value this is exactly what the media, and the NBA thinks. They’re stuck in that mindset and it’s been known as a staple for many years. 

The next time you watch your favorite player really think of them outside of basketball and be aware that they are humans just like all of us. 

NoLimitJumper

Jimmy Butler Isn’t The Sole Reason For The Heat’s Success

The Miami Heat have been surprising everyone this NBA season. They currently sit 5-1, after and impressive 29 point win over the Houston Rockets, causing Russell Westbrook to be -46 in the plus/minus.

Despite having doubters this off-season, Miami has really came out and dominated so far. Many question where this dominance is spurring from. So, the question has to be asked, how are the Heat playing so well?

Here’s a few things to look into:

Currently, eight players are averaging double digits ,while two others are averaging just above 8 points.

The ball is moving flawlessly over in Miami, as they average 27 assists a game as a team.

They are also great at team rebounding, snagging 47 rebounds a night. Nearly the whole roster has a positive PER consisting of +13 and higher. The Heat are seeing nothing but green lights thus far.

Who knew guard Kendrick Nunn would come out averaging 19.5 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 3 assists. The 24 year old rookie out of Oakland College is seeing 29.5 minutes a game, and has started all 6 games. On the contrary, they’ve seen promising production from their draft pick rookie Tyler Herro, who is shooting a healthy 36.4% from deep, including a 29 point outing against the Atlanta Hawks. Like Nunn, Herro sees some big minutes (32) and you have to love what Miami is doing. It’s always great to see an organization valuing their young talent so early on in the season.

Bam Adebayo is one of the most aggressive forwards I’ve ever come across. He is putting up 13 PPG and 9 RPG on what seems to be a career year for him. Many have underestimated him as he was in the shadows of Hassan Whiteside, but the 6’9 interior force is picking up the slack

Looking more at the roster the Heat have, Justis Winslow stands out like a sore thumb. One ability that often gets overlooked is his rebounding ability. Winslow is averaging 8.5 RPG this season, being able to rebound at such a high clip as a wing will only benefit this strong Heat team. Winslow also shoots at a 30% clip from deep, while also dishing out 5.8 assists a game. Winslow has really progressed and matured since his primitive years with the Heat.

On paper, Miami’s roster looks below average, but when you watch a game or two they look like one of the top teams in the East. Some might argue that their schedule is a bit on the easy side, but a win is win.

I haven’t even spoke on Jimmy Butler yet, and that should speak volumes to you NBA fanatics. I don’t think we have ever seen Butler average 14 PPG ,7 APG,7 RPG, as well as 1.3 blocks and 4.3 steals! Talk about living up to that two-way role. We are seeing a different type of Butler as he is taking a step back and letting his teammates hoop, which is resulting in wins. 

During his turbulent time in Minnesota and short tenure in Philly, all Butler wanted was a team who could play basketball. A team who didn’t question authority and knew their role. Well, the Miami Heat are a perfect replica of what Butler wanted. It is perfect timing for him to arrive in Miami, as Whiteside left for Portland and D-Wade retired. He’s already doubling his rebounds and assists this season, as his career averages are 4.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists. A rather big accomplishment for a player who has been questioned about his ability to carry a team.

If you look at the roster, they have one player over 7′ and all of their forwards are 6’11” and under. The Heat are controlling the tempo and balance of the game, while also being one of the smallest teams in the league. 

The Heat play again on Tuesday as they take a well oiled Denver team on the road. Arguably their best completion this season. Lets see if Miami can keep up this hot start.

NoLimitJumper