Kevin Martin now finds himself in a whole other world after the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets completed an epic trade over the weekend that sent James Harden to Houston for a package of players and draft picks. This new environment will lead to a rejuvenation of Martin’s career as he finally gets the chance to win.
Getting out of Houston was good for Martin, and landing in Oklahoma City was even better. Playing alongside two All-Stars and for one of the best organizations in professional sports is worth the move.
This new environment will help Martin get what was once a promising career back on track. One of the best scorers in the NBA at one time, Martin has wallowed in the NBA’s losing depths for years. He finally has his best opportunity at winning and playing at a high level.
Martin’s time in Houston, especially recently, had not been all peaches and cream. Rockets’ head coach Kevin McHale made it clear last season that he was not fond of Martin, benching him on a number of occasions. In Oklahoma City, Martin has a chance for a fresh start.
He will no longer be surrounded by a young team that is not ready to win. Instead, Martin will be among a talented group of young veterans who can actually teach him a thing or two about winning.
Martin will also get to play a different role for his new team, coming off the bench instead of starting, per Royce Young of Daily Thunder:
Scott Brooks says Martin will definitely begin the season coming off the bench.— Royce Young (@dailythunder) October 29, 2012
Coming off the bench will be new for Martin, but according to Young, Martin stated that he was “very comfortable with it.”
That new role will invigorate Martin’s career. Learning to play the game in a different way or in a different role can often give you a different perspective and make you better than you would have been otherwise.
Martin will grow from the experience, as he learns his new role and is embraced by the Oklahoma City Thunder fanbase.
A Whole New Class of Teammates
According to Young, Martin stated that the best two players he had played with personally were Brad Miller and Ron Artest. Needless to say, Martin will have two new answers to that question immediately.
Martin has not been a part of a winning team for years. He was drafted out of Western Carolina in the first round of the 2004 draft, and after going to the playoffs in his first two seasons with the Sacramento Kings, he has yet to make it back to that stage.
Thanks to this trade, he is almost assured to reach the playoffs for the first time in six years. A winning environment can do wonders for a player’s career, and being around great players can motivate such a player to work even harder on his own game.
This trade will be the best thing to ever happen to Martin’s career because of what he got out of it. He traded Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. If that is not a one-sided trade, then nothing is.
Within the Offense
The Oklahoma City offense is dominated by Durant and Westbrook for good reason. Each of them is an All-NBA talent, and there are many players who would be unable to be successful having to share the ball that much with two teammates.
Martin is the type of player who can flourish on the same court as players like Durant and Westbrook because of his skill set. Not only can he work with the ball in his hands, but he is also very good at spot up shooting.
The double-teams that Durant and Westbrook draw complement Martin’s game because he can knock down open shots. His ability to function on offense without dominating the ball makes Oklahoma City a great place for him to resurrect his career.
Leaving Houston would have been good for Martin no matter where he went. It was clear that the franchise’s plans did not include him and that he and the head coach did not get along.
Being traded to Oklahoma City just makes his departure all the better, because it is a place where Martin’s career can finally reach his potential. This fresh start in an elite NBA culture will get the very best play possible out of Martin as he learns to win and play within the offense.
It is a dream come true for him, the happy ending/beginning to his NBA career.