Kevin Martin has the unenviable task of having to replace James Harden with the Oklahoma City Thunder after Saturday night's trade, something that is even more difficult to do when you consider the bearded one's popularity among his teammates and fans.
By now, of course, you've heard the particulars of the deal:
News:Thunder acquires Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, draft picks from Rockets for James Harden, Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook. Lazar Hayward.— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) October 28, 2012
While Jeremy Lamb is a solid prospect and adding draft picks is never a bad thing, Kevin Martin was the key piece for the Thunder to receive in exchange—and with good reason.
Martin has shown throughout his career that he can be an effective scorer, but he does better as a secondary option than as the focal point of the offense.
Last season, Martin consistently drew the opposition's top defender as the biggest scoring threat the Rockets had, leading to him no longer attacking the rim and becoming more of a spot-up shooter, something that didn't go so well with multiple defenders on him constantly.
That won't be a problem for him in Oklahoma City, where Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will continue to give opposing defenses all they can handle, leaving Martin one-on-one with a defender, a situation he can exploit time after time.
Because no matter what Martin does, teams can not afford to switch off of Durant or Westbrook and focus more on him.
And that's going to lead to Martin attacking the rim like a man possessed, something he did two years ago when he averaged 23.4 points per game on nearly 44 percent shooting from the field. During that 2010-11 season, Martin took 259 shots at the rim.
In 2011-12? Only 63 shots.
I'm not going to lie, there are some negatives.
Martin isn't an elite defender by any means. At his best, he's mediocre. Chances are, Martin is going to give up some easy baskets this season for the Thunder.
He's going to miss some time, having missed at least 20 games in each of the past five seasons. However, what he brings to the table offensively far outweigh any of the negatives.
Martin is a quick, athletic scoring guard who is at his best when he can attack the rim, draw fouls and get to the line.
As the third option in Oklahoma City, Kevin Martin may just be the dynamic piece that the Thunder need to capture that first elusive NBA Championship.
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