Houston Rockets: Why the Rockets have been better with Kenyon Martin Jr

Houston Rockets v Phoenix Suns
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There’s a large cohort of Houston Rockets fans that continuously implore Stephen Silas to give Kenyon Martin Jr more minutes. The second-year player has only featured in 155 minutes, but every time he’s on the court, the Rockets suddenly look like a competent basketball team. 

When Martin is on the court, the Rockets' net rating, the difference between their offensive and defensive rating per 100 possessions, is +0.34. When Martin sits, the Rockets’ net rating is -10.94. The Rockets go from being as bad as the Pistons, -11.3 net rating, to being as solid as the New York Knicks, +0.4 net rating, when Martin suits up. 

Fans aren’t wrong that the Rockets have better with Martin on the court, but is the success they’ve found with him sustainable? The first thing that needs to be examined is Martin’s individual performance. 

Kenyon Martin has been a beast at the rim

Martin’s offensive game can be summed up in three words, attack the rim. Part of what makes Martin so exciting, is also what makes him so efficient. 60-percent of his shots have come within three feet of the basket and he’s finishing them at a ridiculous 81.5-percent rate. In a small sample, Martin has performed like a low usage Shaquille O’Neal. 

Martin would struggle to maintain that level of efficiency with a larger role. He’s only attempting 4.1 shots per game in 14.1 minutes of game action. However, an increase in volume with a decline in efficiency would certainly help the Rockets' offense.