The most interesting and controversial season in OKC history for the Oklahoma City Thunder was this past one. The last nine months were new things all the time, including players. The season started with a huge surprise, trading one of the best players on the team (and in the NBA), James Harden. The Thunder traded Harden to the Houston Rockets in exchange for two first round picks, Kevin Martin, and rookie Jeremy Lamb. The Thunder have since had to endure non-stop second-guessing about their trade, and Martin is often the centerpiece of discussion.
However, Kevin Martin's impact was felt instantly, scoring double figures in every game in November besides only three. That's extremely impressive for only knowing the offense for four days before the season. Averaging 14 points per game in the regular season with a career-high .426 3-point percentage to his credit, this was one of Martin's stronger seasons, not because of pure statistics, but because of his role on a championship-contending team. Filling the big gap of sixth-man left by James Harden, he did a great job filling it. K-Mart has never been a full-blown starter, despite his years in Houston, so coming off the bench was not a red flag coming in. Coming out of the gates, in the season-opener against the Spurs, Kevin Martin impressed Thunder Nation by showing them he does have the talent to be a top scorer, scoring 15 with five assists to his case. Despite the loss, I was hooked on K-Mart from the opening tip.
Martin continued to impress me throughout the season, scoring in every game he played in all season. That might not sound impressive, but for a guy coming off the bench it is. The role Martin filled wasn't easy, but he still found a way to become one of the top candidates for Sixth Man of the Year (won by J.R. Smith of the New York Knicks.)
Defensively, Kevin Martin was not good all-around. Here-and-there, Martin could work with other, better defenders, but it wasn't often. Also, Martin had a habit of flopping even if on offense.
Kevin Martin flopping warning (via theassociation)
Derek Fisher and Kevin Martin NBA SYNCHRONISED FLOPPING in HD (via magnetik)
The second one has to be the funniest play Kevin Martin had all season, synchronized flopping with Point Guard Derek Fisher.
In the playoffs, where Martin's playing time was increased immensely versus the regular season (mainly due to Russell Westbrook's injury and Kendrick Perkins' disappearance) he played the same, but on the offensive end, it seemed like he could not shoot. I recall a game from what seems like yesterday in the Memphis Grizzlies series, where he shot 2-11. Also, I remember a game in the Houston Rockets series where Martin shot 1-10. Both of those games were big L's on the series.
Kevin Martin's first trey with the Thunder! (via NBA)
Kevin Martin can shoot, nothing more to it. Each year he is one of the top free throw and three point shooters, an uncommon combination. This past season, Martin shot 89% from the line, and shot 42.6% from beyond the arc, a huge contribution off the bench, being one of the top shooters on the Thunder. Kevin Martin's ball handling is not bad either, knowing he can regularly pull off a pull-up, and run a dribble-drive offense.
The future for Kevin Martin is not with the Thunder, after he signed a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves earlier in the month. Although he only spent one year with OKC, his impact was definitely felt, replacing the role of James Harden very well, still being one of the top candidates for Sixth Man of the Year. He will be missed, but he will be replaced. Thanks for the memories, Kevin (especially the double flop.)
A: Far exceeded expectations
B: Exceeded expectations
C: Met expectations
D: Did not meet expectations
F: Fell far short of expectations