Kenyon Martin Jr. was one of the guys that started to get a lot more attention from Rockets fans by the end of the season. His role needs to change.
The starting power forward for the Houston Rockets was set up to fail from early on in the season. Even a guy like Kenyon Martin Jr. was way too small to be extremely successful in that role, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that the defense struggled and that Jae'Sean Tate had a very hot and cold season.
Tate started at the four for most of the season. This led to varying levels of success, but there is a rising number of people that believe that KJ should actually start to take over some of the minutes from Tate.
When you look at the numbers and assume that both guys should move to the three if the Rockets get a draft pick, Martin makes a compelling case as the better-suited option for the starting role.
In a straight up comparisson between Tate and KJ, the latter projects to be a decent fit on the team if he starts at the three.
There are still a few free agent moves and the draft that need to happen before we can get a true prediction, but assuming the Rockets find a forward in the draft and are able to take some minutes from Eric Gordon for a young guy, Martin looks like a fit.
While he only played a limited role in 2021 and mostly out of position, Martin finished the season shooting .357 from three and saw his two-point percentage increase from .509 in 2020 to .533 in 2021 on only slightly fewer attempts.
The catch and shoot potential that Martin brings to the table allows for a major improvement over Tate. Tate struggled from three for most of the season and held onto the ball a bit too long for an offense that wants to run through the guards.
Tate would likely be better at the three just like Martin, but his struggles with shots from distance do not inspire much confidnece that he would elevate this unit in 2022 unless he is coming off the bench.
The odds are decent that both guys will get a chance to play a role that fits them much better as the team hopefully finds and answer at the four, but KJ Martin should absolutely see his minutes increase next season as the Rockets get a better idea of what they have.