#5 Best Houston Rocket: Kenyon Martin Jr
Kenyon Martin Jr has no doubt made Kenyon Martin Sr very proud this season. Selected in the second round by the Sacramento Kings in the 2020 NBA draft, Martin was traded to the Rockets for cash and a 2021 second-round pick before signing a four-year contract with the Rockets and beginning his NBA journey in the G-League for the Rio Grande Vipers.
Players of Martin’s profile hardly ever make a dent in the NBA and his rookie season has beat all of the expectations. He’s fourth on the team in win shares and second in win shares per 48 minutes for players who have played more than 600 minutes.
What has fueled Martin’s surprise rookie season has been his efficient shooting. He’s converted 56.6-percent of his 2-point attempts and 39.5-percent of his 3-pointers which are both comfortably above league average.
Now, Martin isn’t a budding All-Star by any means and his lack of size could be an issue going forward. Listed at 6’6, Martin has primarily split time between the small forward and power forward positions.
If he is going to make it as a small forward he will need to improve his perimeter defense, off the dribble shooting, and playmaking, which is no small task. However, if he is asked to play power forward he’ll need to develop the ability to defend the post and become a better rebounder.
It should be noted that Martin’s impressive 3-point shooting might also be a mirage. He isn’t a horrible free throw shooter but he’s slightly below average and free throw shooting is the best future indicator of 3-point shooting.
Martin is still only 20-years-old and his ability to finish at the rim won’t go away anytime soon. A good second season for him would see him simply not regressing. However, if his 3-point shot is for real, then his upside grows considerably.
The Rockets did well to get Martin for virtually nothing and at the very least he’ll be a solid NBA rotation player. With the very best outcome seeing him develop into a legitimate 3 and D stalwart.