The next subject of our post-season report card series for the Houston Rockets is Kenyon Martin Jr., better known as K.J. Martin.
K.J. Martin has undoubtedly shown steady improvement throughout this season, making his presence felt on the Houston Rockets' roster. Among his many accomplishments, Martin was one of only two Rockets players and one of just 10 players across the entire NBA to achieve an Iron Man season, demonstrating his dedication by playing in every single game.
This impressive feat not only highlights his physical endurance but also his unwavering commitment to his team.
As the season began, K.J. Martin found himself alternating between the starting lineup and coming off the bench. Despite this uncertainty, he quickly became the go-to player to fill in whenever there were injuries or other reasons for a starter to be out of the lineup.
Martin's adaptability and readiness to step up whenever needed demonstrated his versatility and value to the team.
Martin's big break came when Eric Gordon was traded at the deadline, opening up a full-time starting position for him. This opportunity allowed Martin to truly showcase his skills, and his performance soared to new heights.
Grading Houston Rockets rising star Kenyon Martin Jr.'s third season in Houston
Before the trade deadline, Martin averaged 11.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 56.6% shooting in 26 minutes per game. Following the trade deadline, Martin's stats improved across the board, with him averaging 14.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 57% shooting in 32 minutes per game.
This increase in production and consistency proved that Martin was more than ready to embrace his new role as a full-time starter. The Houston Rockets' decision to promote him paid off, as his performance continued to elevate throughout the remainder of the season.
In a season marked by various team lows, one of the shining highlights was K.J. Martin's representation of the Houston Rockets at the NBA Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend in Utah. While he may not have emerged victorious, Martin's exceptional performance and awe-inspiring dunks captured the attention of fans and fellow players alike.
K.J. Martin undeniably had a strong season, showcasing his growth and tenacity as a player. His rise to a full-time starter position, along with his contagious energy and jaw-dropping dunks, have made him a standout figure on the Houston Rockets roster.
With the Rockets' season in the books, Martin and his teammates should be eager to capitalize on their individual successes and work diligently during the offseason to come back even stronger.
As K.J. looks to further improve his game, he should focus on continuing to develop his three-point shooting (31.5 percent from behind the arc) and defensive abilities. With consistent hard work and dedication, there's no doubt that Martin will solidify his status as an indispensable asset to the Rockets and the NBA as a whole.
Taking into account his impressive performance this season, K.J. Martin's season grade stands at a well-deserved B+. As both the player and the team prepare for the challenges ahead, fans can look forward to witnessing the continued growth and progress of this promising young talent in the seasons to come.