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

Houston Rockets v Phoenix Suns
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John Collins, Kenyon Martin Jr.,  Houston Rockets
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Kenyon Martin Jr’s Defensive Contributions

Kenyon Martin Jr's defensive contributions are far harder to gauge. The Rockets defense has been better with him on the court, 106.5 points per 100 possessions, than off, 109.4, but the difference isn’t large enough to draw any resounding conclusions. Martin’s ability to credibly defend multiple positions helps, but the fact that he primarily faces backups complicates it. 

Digging deeper into what has driven the Rockets' success with Martin on the court, two things become apparent. The Rockets have benefitted from good fortune with Martin on the court, and Martin has benefitted from playing in statistically advantageous game states. 

Opponents are shooting 28.2-percent when Martin has been on the court, compared to 33.8-percent when he sits. Defensive 3-point shooting is one of the noisiest stats. It swings the outcomes of games but it also takes a long time to figure out which teams are good at stopping threes and which teams have just been lucky. Martin might be good at defending threes, but his presence alone won’t make the Rockets the best team in the league at defending them.