Kevin Martin Will Be Perfect Fit for This Minnesota Timberwolves Team
And that is saying something, considering Martin's been a solid contributor over his nine-year career, averaging 17.8 points.
For Minnesota, having Martin on the team will really upgrade some of its biggest deficiencies. He'll provide a major boost in three-point shooting, which was a a weak spot for the team. The efficient Martin will also contribute to a Minnesota offense that was below average in this regard.
As far as Martin is concerned, landing with the T-Wolves is an ideal situation. That's because he's once again reunited with head coach Rick Adelman, with whom Martin had huge success in previous stints. Adelman's offensive system fits Martin to a T, and the presence of a premier point guard in Ricky Rubio will make sure Martin thrives in it.
Martin is a Three-Point Specialist
Kevin Martin can bring a lot of things to a team. However, one of his biggest skills is his stellar three-point shooting.
Over his nine-year career, Martin has nailed 38.5 percent of his three-point attempts. That percentage alone is promising. What makes it even more enticing is that the shooting guard set a career high last season, hitting on 42.6 percent of his 371 three-point attempts.
|Player||Career Three-Point Percentage|
A player with that type of ability would help virtually any team. It's even more of a boon to Minnesota, who finished last year as the NBA's worst three-point shooting team, making only 30.5 percent of its three-point attempts. What's worse, it wasn't a particularly close margin separating the 'Wolves from the pack, as the 29th-ranked team (Orlando Magic) hit 32.9 percent of its three-pointers.
It's not like the T-Wolves brought in a plethora of other three-point shooters either. Their other outside additions with previous NBA experience (Ronny Turiaf and Corey Brewer) aren't exactly sharpshooters. So adding Martin is their only real option at increasing their three-point efficiency.
And what a good option to have.
He Brings Efficiency
Kevin Martin's offensive efficiency extends beyond his ability to knock down an open three-point shot. The guy simply makes the most of every offensive possession in which he has the ball.
He can get to the charity stripe with consistency, averaging 6.1 free-throw attempts per game. When he gets there, he doesn't miss either. He has a career free-throw percentage of 86.7 percent. Essentially, a team can count on him to get five points a game on free throws alone.
His career field-goal percentage of 44.3 percent is also very good for a shooting guard. It's even more remarkable when considering a vast majority of Martin's attempts are jump shots, which we'll get to later on.
As we've already covered, he's also a very good three-point shooter.
This all lends itself to an excellent career effective field-goal percentage of .510 and a career offensive rating of 117.
|Kevin Martin career averages||.443||.385||.867||.510||117|
Compared to what the T-Wolves were able to do last season, it's apparent Martin will also help to upgrade their efficiency.
Minnesota was 25th in offensive rating at 102.9 points per 100 possessions. The team was even worse in effective field-goal percentage (.473), ranking 27th overall.
So not only will Martin help the Timberwolves in three-point shooting, he should help boost their whole offensive attack.
Reunited with Rick Adelman
This will be Martin's third stint with Rick Adelman as his head coach. In each of the previous two tenures, Martin has enjoyed varying degrees of success.
When the shooting guard was drafted by the Sacramento Kings in 2004, he spent his first two seasons under Adelman. Those were his developmental years, and it was during that time that Martin began developing into the player you see today.
Coming from Western Carolina University, Martin's rookie year was somewhat of a wash, as he had to adjust to the speed of the game after coming from such a small school. He only played 10.1 minutes per contest for what was a playoff team, with most of his opportunities coming in one-sided affairs.
Yet he made major strides in that second year, boosting his playing time to 26.6 minutes and his scoring to 10.8. He also got to start 41 games, seeing his scoring jump to 13.7 in that role. Perhaps most importantly, he posted an offensive rating of 118 as a starter, showing off the traits that would make him such an efficient player.
Following the 2005-06 season, Adelman left the Kings. Martin stayed in Sacramento for the next three-plus years. He continued to develop and posted some of the best seasons of his career as a good player on a bad team.
When Tyreke Evans was drafted by the Kings, the team wanted to head in a different direction, trading Martin to the Houston Rockets. Luckily for Martin, Adelman had moved on to Houston by that time.
The two picked up right where they'd left off, and then some, as K-Mart by then had developed his game even further. He averaged 21.3 points and an offensive rating of 113 for the remainder of that 2009-10 season.
After having a full offseason and training camp to adjust back to Adelman's system, Martin had in 2010-11 one of his best seasons as a pro. He averaged 23.5 points, posted a career-high 25.9 points per 36 minutes and had an offensive rating of 117. His 9.5 win shares and .175 win shares per 48 minutes were the second best of his career.
Adelman left following that 2010-11 season. Judging off of what we've seen in the past, Timberwolves fans can expect yet another happy reunion.
Adelman's System Plays to Martin's Strengths
It's no coincidence that some of Kevin Martin's been years have been with Rick Adelman as his coach. It's because the corner offense employed by Adelman is tailor-made for players of Martin's skill set.
The corner offense is geared toward jump-shooters, players who can move without the ball and bigs who can pass the ball effectively. For his part, Martin satisfies two of these requirements: He's a jump-shooting guard and he moves well without the ball.
Despite his efficiency, a vast majority of Martin's points come off jump shots. In fact, of Martin's 907 field-goal attempts last season (regular season and playoffs), 754 of them were jump shots. That's an alarming 83.1 percent.
Now, unlike a lot of players who are "sharpshooters," Martin isn't solely a set shooter relying on others. In other words, he doesn't just find a void on the perimeter and wait for a teammate to hit him when the defense collapses in the paint to cut off penetration.
For one, Martin's an excellent shooter on the move. If he's coming off screens, he can catch a pass and shoot without breaking stride. When he creates off the dribble, he does so by gaining enough separation to step back. Or, as he's often accustomed to doing, he'll get the defender to leave his feet and draw a foul, which largely explains his high number of free-throw attempts.
He's also very good at moving without the ball. That's the way he gets a lot of his opportunities—by getting separation without the rock, then getting a pass from a teammate who can hit him on the run.
Beyond his familiarity with Adelman's offense, Martin also has players around him in Minnesota who will help him thrive. Ricky Rubio is obviously one of the league's best passing point guards. J.J. Barea and Alexey Shved aren't slouches in this regard. Not to mention, Kevin Love is an excellent passer for a power forward.
A Match Made in Heaven
Ultimately adding Martin to the Timberwolves is the perfect fit for both sides.
Do you like the fit of Martin with the T-Wolves
With his three-point shooting and offensive efficiency, Martin will immediately upgrade two of Minnesota's biggest weaknesses. As he's shown throughout his career, those are traits K-Mart has displayed in every setting.
Yet having a coach he's so familiar with—and one he's played so well under—will only help ease the transition. He doesn't need to learn a new system, and the corner offense run by Adelman and the T-Wolves fits Martin's skill set like a glove.
On the surface, just adding a player of Martin's caliber looked like a good move for the Timberwolves. The deeper you dig, you find that not only was it good—it's got the potential to be perfect.
If you want to talk basketball, hit me up on Twitter: @SimRisso
Unless noted otherwise, all stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference
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