All Access: Kevin Martin Introduction
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If it feels like it was a month ago when the Wolves made the acquisition of shooting guard Kevin Martin official, that’s because it has in fact been that long.
On July 11, the Wolves announced they had acquired Martin in a three-team trade, but due to hectic schedules from everyone involved, Martin wasn’t able to have his official media day until Monday.
It was worth the wait as Martin was able to talk to media members, take photos, and meet with season ticket members along the way.
Martin was the headline or as President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders would say the “domino” of a very busy offseason for the Timberwolves. The rest fell into place after that.
“Of course we signed him a long time ago, at least it seems that way, I guess about a month ago,” Saunders said. “Since that time we've done a lot of things with our team but I really believe that he was the first domino that started our offseason which I consider really a successful offseason and where you look where we were a year ago, and we needed to strengthen our team, leadership, veteran leadership, someone who has been in a big-game situations, which Kevin has definitely done.”
Going into the offseason, the Wolves knew what they needed: Size at the shooting guard position and someone who could stretch the defense with the ability to hit the 3-point shot. With the sign-and-trade for Martin, they seemed to have gotten both of those things along with veteran leadership.
Martin stands at 6’7”, and although he is listed at 185 pounds, it’s his height the Wolves needed the most.
“Our main thing defensively is that as a team we wanted to get bigger at the two guard. As you saw walking in, most of our two guards are my size. Kevin is a lot bigger than me,” Saunders said. “That's going to be beneficial.”
Martin also brings veteran leadership and has shown the ability to adjust to situations that might not always be favorable for a player who is used to getting the majority of his team’s shots. Last season, Martin was shipped from Houston to Oklahoma City in a deal that included James Harden.
Despite not starting a game for the first time in a season since 2004-05, Martin managed to average 14 points per game, while shooting 42.6 percent from the 3-point line, which marked a career high.
"Last year was just a product of a different role and last time I played for Rick (Adelman) I think averaged 24 (points),” Martin said. “I told him I probably wouldn't be able to do that this time and I would aim for 22, but winning is the most important thing.”
For Minnesota fans, they will take 17 if it means a playoff appearance, and Martin told media members he thought that was a real possibility, but shouldn’t be the team’s ceiling.
"You never know a ceiling until you actually get in the gym and I think Flip has done an incredible job of coming in here and not only putting new blood in this team but actually putting together a pretty good team. I don't think our goal’s just to make the playoffs,” Martin said. “That would be a mistake to sit up here and say that's our ceiling or things like that. This team is built to do more than that and that's one thing we have to do more of getting into the gym. The foundation has been laid, a pretty strong foundation. Now it's our job to work hard every day and establish a family atmosphere in that locker-room."
“I had contact with point guard Ricky (Rubio), you know, I'm a smart a two-guard, I'm contacting my point guard first. We're getting on the same page and he's the first pass-first point guard I've ever played with in my career so I'm excited for that.”
He also noted things could change.