What’s Next for Kenyon Martin Jr?
If Martin never develops an ounce he’ll still be a valuable, although-flawed, rotation player. Even if his 3-point shooting comes down to Earth, as multiple metrics suggest is possible, he’ll still be able to have a long career as a spark plug off the bench that bends the rim with ferocious dunks.
An encouraging comp for Martin’s development is Miles Bridges. Bridges entered the league as a forward-tweener with incredible vertical athleticism, a shaky 3-point stroke, and limited ability to create for himself and others.
However, Bridges, in his fourth season in the league, has exploded. He’s averaging 20 points per game on 59.3% shooting on twos and 32.3% shooting on threes. Bridges was able to break out because he was asked to do more self-creation in his second year, and while it tanked his efficiency it gave him the necessary skills to go from highlight machine to borderline NBA All-Star.
The Rockets would be wise to push Martin to fail more, much like the Hornets did for Bridges. He’s shown what he can do, but if that’s it, there’s very little chance he’ll be a key part of any team with real playoff aspirations.
The Rockets won’t pay Martin more than $2 million a season over the remainder of his deal. They’re not paying him to improve, but what separates championship rebuilds and those of the Sacramento Kings is taking marginal players and turning them into stars. Martin has a solid base to build upon, but he needs to show more to be a real part of the Rockets' future.