KJ Martin landing spot #1: Charlotte Hornets
The Charlotte Hornets are the best stylistic fit for Kenyon Martin Jr. They had the third highest frequency of transition opportunities (18.9%) and the 11th best points per transition possession (1.15). While that combination doesn’t sound impressive, there is an inverse correlation between transition frequency and transition efficiency.
The Hornets also took the second highest percentage of their shots three feet or closer to the rim and had the second highest corner three attempt rate. Transition, dunks, and threes basically describes Martin’s shot diet.
From a roster standpoint, the Hornets have perhaps the best player in the league to unleash a dunk-happy cutter in LaMelo Ball. The Hornets will also be down a forward this season after Miles Bridges was charged with domestic battery.
Martin has had a similar start to his career to Bridges on the court. Before Bridges' breakout last season, he was an extremely gifted athlete unable to fully unleash his physical advantages on offense because of poor ballhandling. If the Hornets coaxed that development out of Bridges, then there’s reason to believe they could do the same for Martin.
The final reason the Hornets are a great landing spot for Martin is their willingness to play small lineups. At this stage of his career, Martin is an undersized power forward, but the Hornets just played the 6’7 P.J. Washington over half his minutes at center. A frontcourt of Washington and Martin might have serious issues on defense, but it’d be a nightmare for opposing defenses.
Houston was just the first part of Kenyon Martin Jr.'s journey
Few teams would balk at acquiring Kenyon Martin Jr. He has a small salary, is young, has potential, and has already found a small but useful role in the NBA. However, that’s what makes finding a good landing spot so important for him. Martin likely doesn’t want to spend his entire career playing a small role on losing teams and needs to find a place where he can excel or be given the license to fail as he pushes the boundaries of his game.
The Rockets gave him a great launchpad, but new additions and extensions saw him fall down the pecking order. Job insecurity is the nature of the NBA, and the writing is on the wall. Martin went from the 52nd overall pick to a real NBA contributor. He’s shown if he’s given an opportunity, he can make the most of it.