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. 

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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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Who Didn’t Sign Extensions Extensions, and What it Could Result In.

The deadline for players from the 2016 draft class to sign contract extensions was on Monday. Five players were able to sign extensions on the day of the deadline. These players are Jaylen Brown, Buddy Heild, Dejounte Murray, Taurean Prince, and Domantas Sabonis. Pascal Siakam was also able to re-sign with the Raptors a few days prior. I’m sure the teams that were able to bring their young guys back are feeling good right now, but there’s always two sides of the spectrum. Some players and organizations weren’t able to get deals done. The list of players who didn’t resign is not as prominent as the ones who did, but there are a few good young role players that teams have yet to come to terms with.

Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans

After an underwhelming rookie year, Ingram made some strides in his last two years with the Lakers. His scoring totals shot up from his rookie year, and he’s shown growth almost across the board in his first three seasons. After being included in the Anthony Davis package, he is now in New Orleans, where he isn’t in a win now situation. This could help Ingram grow and develop more over this season, and could ultimately give him a rather large payday this coming summer if he keeps improving. I’m sure Ingram is looking to get as much money as he can, so maybe not extending until the end of the year is a smart move. Brandon could be regretting not singing an extension if things go south, or he doesn’t take another jump in talent level like many expect, which would evidently result in a lower salary than expected.

Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento Kings

The Kings being so young will have a lot of players to resign, and they have a lot of solid young players that will be looking for a decent sized contract. Of course, Bogdanovic is no star, but he has played an important role for the Kings, and he could in the future. Last season he averaged just under 15 PPG, primarily coming off the bench. He’s a good scorer and a lot of teams can use a guy who can come off the bench and score when their starters are resting. I’m sure this summer at least a few teams will be interested in adding Bogdanovic. His asking price could be somewhere from 12-15 million dollars a season. The Kings will have to give Bogdan the money for being an important role player to their team, or some other team will pay him to do it somewhere else.

DeAndre Bembry, Atlanta Hawks

Bembry has taken a couple of years to get going in the NBA, playing under 40 games in each of his first two seasons. Last year DeAndre played all 82 games, averaging 23.5 minutes a night. He was a big part of the youth development that took place in Atlanta last year, where it seems like all their young guys all just get better with experience. Bembry emerged as a good wing defender last season and was a big part of the Hawks bench unit. Now in a contract year, if Bembry has another solid year, then the Hawks will most likely want to bring him back to continue his development along with their other young players. The ability to defend well is appealing to a lot of teams, and if Bembry shows again that he can do it well, I’m sure a couple of teams would enjoy having him on board.

  • Kevin Barnett

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The Next Generation of Elite Point Guards

“Point God” was a term coined by the true point god of our era himself; CP3. A point god does everything you need the most important position on you team to do. Shoot, handle, defend, but most importantly, distribute. Every offense starts with the point guard. Another player who dubbed himself as a point god is Ja Morant. He, and a handful of other young point guards have what it takes to rise to the rank of point god.

Ja Morant

Ja is certainly on the fast track to becoming a point god. Anyone who watched his performance in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament. He went for 17 points, 16 assists, and 11 rebounds to lift his underdog Racers over Marquette. What stood out was his complete control of the game and the poster of the tournament. His ability to make the players around him better with his play was off the charts. This is what point gods do. His shot needs to become more consistent and his defensive game could certainly come up but he is as promising of a prospect as any right now.

Trae Young

Trae Young has shown he has what it takes to be one of this games elite court generals. With his deadly pull up game and ability to pass off either hand. He’s a threat from anywhere on the court. With ample options around he, he’s primed to make a jump. He hasn’t shown himself to be an elite defender but he has a bulldog build and can easily round out his game.

Darius Garland

Darius Garland was the number ranked point guard coming out of high school and is the youngest on this list. His coach at Vanderbilt said if he played in his era (the 70’s), he would’ve been the best play maker in the game. Garland was rated as the second best passer after Ja, by the rookies of their class. He has a natural feel for the game and a jumper with no limit which makes the game come to him. His bag makes him a handful to guard, if his finishing and defense become elite as well he’ll be a full fledged point god.

Dejounte Murray

Dejounte Murray has shown a lot of promise when he gets to play. Just this pre-season he had a sequence where he shut down James Harden on one end and blew by him on the next. His size and athleticism make him a different breed. He’s on track to come back from a devestating ACL injury that sidelined him for over a year. Hopefully his diverse arsenal will be back better than ever for a Spurs playoff push.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Shai is the true heir to the point god throne. The Thunder traded away their two superstars and basically got back Shai, Chris Paul, and a load of draft picks. These were calculated moves. Shai led his team to the playoffs his rookie year. His length, decision making, and ability to be a jack of all trades make him the ideal point guard for any team. CP3 will mentor him and show him the ways of the point god. The Thunder may be in for a down season, but with him at the center of their franchise, they’re in for a bright future.

De’Aaron Fox

Fox had somewhat of a breakout year last year. He lead his Kings to the brink of the playoffs in the Western Conference. He showed he could efficiently run an offense, score, and even bring down boards. He’s one of if not the fastest player in the NBA and has plenty of bounce as well. With a great shooting guard in Buddy Hield and a 1st team rookie in Marvin Bagley, Fox has assets around him to be successful. The Kings need another breakout year from him in order to finally reach the post-season.

An OG OJ Joint