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

Houston Rockets v Phoenix Suns
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Kenyon Martin Jr.,  Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets v Denver Nuggets / Jamie Schwaberow/GettyImages

Game Leverage is helping Kenyon Martin Jr’s production

The other factor to consider is when Martin has played his minutes. Of the 155 minutes Martin has played, 50 have come in low leverage situations. Low leverage situations are almost entirely in the second halves of blowouts. 

The Rockets 1-11 record and -7.7 net rating indicates that the Rockets have been the team down big. However, a funny thing happens when NBA teams are down big, they play awesome and the opponent plays poorly. 

In low leverage situations, Martin and the Rockets have looked like a juggernaut. They have a net rating of +35.4 points and a defensive rating of 75.5. In Martin’s 105 non-low leverage minutes, the Rockets have a net rating of -16.2 points and a defensive rating of 121.1. 

Martin has benefitted from playing against teams that are trying to run out the clock. It helps explain his awesome efficiency, and it also explains why Stephen Silas hasn’t played him more. When the game is in the balance, Martin hasn't shown the ability to help the Rockets win. 

Does Stephen Silas have it right with Kenyon Martin Jr’s minutes?

Kenyon Martin Jr is a second-year player who has yet to turn 21. Playing him more is not going to help the Rockets win. Add in that he’s shooting 33-percent on 1.1 threes a game, and it makes a lot of sense why Silas has been judicious with his minutes.

The Rockets are building for the future, and Martin could one day be a contributing part of it. Stephen Silas should give Martin more minutes simply because he needs to develop, even if it won’t lead to more victories or better play. That being said, it will give the world more face-melting dunks.

Next. Kevin Porter Jr’s the good, the bad, and the ugly start to the season. dark