Kenyon Martin Jr’s Season in Review
There was a lot to like about Kenyon Martin Jr’s 2021-22 season. His 3-point shooting once again defied the scouting reports, the dunks came fast and furious, and he genuinely played with intensity whenever he was on the court.
His on/off numbers were the fourth-best of any player who played over 1,000 minutes for the Rockets. While a lot of his positive damage came in low leverage situations, aka garbage time, you can only play who is out there.
The next step for Martin is to get consistent minutes in situations that matter. Two minutes in the clutch is worth ten minutes down 20 with two minutes to go. When you play matters nearly as much as how often you play. Hopefully, Martin comes into training camp with an improved handle and better defensive fundamentals and carves out a role in the starting and closing lineups. However, even if he doesn’t, his career has already been a success.
Martin, the 52nd pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, has already exceeded his draft slot in his short career. The Rockets have to view his acquisition from the Kings and his contract, a four-year $6 million deal, as organizational wins. They found a young NBA rotation piece with upside in the second round and locked him down to an incredibly team-friendly deal.
Martin is paid like a deep rotation piece and has excelled in that role. His development over the next few seasons will be interesting to watch and could provide the rebuild with an unexpected boost if he improves in a few key areas. Even if his development stagnates, he’ll remain a human highlight reel and fan favorite.