"I'm not one-dimensional," he said. "I finally get to showcase to myself—not to anybody else, but to myself—what I am able to do. ... I wasn't able to do it in Portland. I want to get off to a good start. I want to show my ability to create a shot for myself.
"I know I can do it. I'm not going to hold anything back. People say preseason doesn't count for anything. It means a lot to me. It is allowing me to learn what Coach requires and expects from me. What better way to start than in preseason?"
Let's start with Martell Webster against the Utah Jazz.
Martell scores 24 points in a single quarter. Why is this significant? Well, not only is scoring 20 points in a quarter hard to do in the first place, it's the way that he got his 24 points that's most impressive. Brandon Roy was out with an injury, the Trailblazer's offense was struggling, and out of nowhere, Webster comes off of two double-screens and hit's a 3-point shot.
This play is something that Webster was capable of doing as a rookie. Always known as a 3-point specialist, Webster was only utilized for his shooting stroke in Portland. Although he started a number of games, he never had the chance to play a well rounded game with Brandon Roy holding the reigns. This particular game, Webster then got the ball on the right wing, started a basic dribble, went right, crossed left and hit a pull up jumper. He created his own shot.
He get's traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Luke Babbit and Ryan Gomes, and he relays information in interviews that he wants to be a playmaker, he wants to have the ball in his hands, and he wants to lead by example.
In comes the preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers. Needless to say that despite Michael Beasley scoring 21 points in less than 20 minutes with superman efficiency, Martell Webster's performance was the most impressive by far. He displayed a tight handle going both ways, dribbling behind his back, crossing over when needed too, and hitting shots all over the court.
Let's look at it from the Wolves point of view: He's a 5-year veteran, but he's only 23 years old (same age as his rookie teammate Wes Johnson). He was probably the Trailblazers best perimeter defender, he can shoot the 3-point shot, he's very athletic, but most importantly, he has the potential of creating his own shot on a consistent basis.
Looking into the upcoming season for Webster, he looks like he could be brought off the bench for the Wolves as he was in the preseason. But make no mistake, he will be given plenty of minutes to showcase his abilities. Head coach Kurt Rambis liked what he saw out there, and it appears that he's going to be given the green light. The Wolves will even attempt to run the offense through him off the bench, or when Beasley isn't in the game.
"It's kind of funny," Webster said, "In practice, I'm a real team-oriented player, I like to get everyone involved. Coaches were getting on me to shoot, to drive and finish. But I'm looking for my teammates, I want to gain that trust."
"When the game comes, it's a totally different thing for me. They definitely weren't expecting that (shot creation)."
Martell enters in as a leader on the court and someone who has plenty of upside at 23. Rudy Gay is just now getting to the point where he's becoming a go-to scorer, and it takes some guys longer, especially coming out of high school.
"Not a fresh start," Webster said, "Not to say that I didn't have one in Portland, but now I get more of one. The opportunity is a little bigger. For me, something bigger means a lot more. It's trying to change the identity and make this a winning organization, which I was part of in Portland. My early years there, that was fun, to tell you the truth."
"It's the craziest thing," Webster said, "Corey Brewer and all those guys, that's all my class. It's kind of surreal when you think about it. I'm a young vet. I just want to come here and bring my knowledge and definitely spread it on this team. ... It's like getting a new bike: You can't wait to get out there and test ride it."
The Timberwolves have had plenty of games where they had 4th quarter leads and have surrendered them. Now that Webster is closer to a return, more than likely he's on the court in crunch time due to being a leader and knowing how to handle game time situations. It's this type of presence on the wing that the Wolves have been missing, a veteran that can do the little things and know what it takes to win.
"I want to do that by showing it starts on the defensive end because that wins games. I want to be contagious and spread it around this team."
Due to the surgery in his back, Webster is recharged and ready to go. Looking at a minor surgery, if your having full contract practices in 4-5 weeks, you're in good shape.
Webster is slated to return by this weekend.