Kevin Martin | 2013-14 Profile

David Sherman & Jordan Johnson/NBAE/Getty Images
by Mark Remme
Web Editor
@markremme

Editor’s Note: Throughout the next month, Timberwolves.com will take a look back at the Wolves’ 2013-14 roster individually and look ahead to the upcoming offseason and 2014-15 campaign. Part XI looks back on Kevin Martin, who joined the Wolves via a sign-and-trade deal last July.

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Kevin Martin

SG | 6-7, 197 pounds

2013-14 season: 68 GP, 68 GS, 32.0 MPG, .430 FG%, .387 3FG%, 19.1 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.9 APG

There was nothing surprising about Kevin Martin’s unorthodox shot for Timberwolves fans when he joined Minnesota last July. The 10-year veteran had been around the league, and fans had gotten used to seeing him spot up from beyond the arc and release what has become known as one of the three most unique forms in the league—Shawn Marion and Joakim Noah owning the others.

His teammates, in similar fashion, were astonished to watch it every day.

“That thing is ugly—it goes in, though,” Brewer said. “Why change it if it’s going in?”

Ugly, but effective.

That’s why the Wolves brought him in last offseason, and for the most part Martin gave Minnesota exactly what they were looking for. A main void in this team’s roster throughout the franchise’s history has been a steady, perimeter scoring threat from the shooting guard position. Martin provided Minnesota an opportunity to gain a 3-point shooter with traditional 2-guard size.

So they made the deal in July that sent Luke Ridnour to Milwaukee, bringing Martin to the Twin Cities from Oklahoma City in a three-team deal. Martin was a favorite of coach Rick Adelman during Adelman’s tenure in Sacramento and Houston—the two have a strong relationship off the court, and on it Adelman likes Martin’s shooting ability and understanding of his offensive system.

So after two years in Minnesota with a shooting guard merry-go-round that featured everyone from Wes Johnson and Martell Webster to Brandon Roy, Malcolm Lee and Alexey Shved, Adelman finally had his steady off-guard for the 2013-14 season.

On top of that, Martin told Timberwolves.com last summer he thought the personnel already on the roster was a big draw for ending up in a Wolves’ uniform. For one, Martin said he thought the Kings should have drafted Ricky Rubio when he was with the Sacramento organization in 2009. They drafted Tyreke Evans at 4, and Rubio went 5.

“I thought our games would be perfect,” Martin said. “It was a big [part of the decision], outside of Rick, Kevin Love and Flip [Saunders] running the organization, Ricky was a big reason for me coming here.” 

When Martin put on the Timberwolves’ uniform, he gave the type of production he’d given his teams since he first got his shot with the Kings. He averaged 19.1 points per game while shooting 38.7 percent from 3-point range.

The main concerns with Martin are his ability to perform defensively, and his durability. He played in and started 68 games for Minnesota last season after playing in 77 off the bench for Oklahoma City the year before and starting 80 games for Houston the year before that. But between 2007 and 2010, he played in 24 games or fewer twice and never more than 61. With the Wolves, he was able to withstand the wear-and-tear to the point where he stayed on the court much of the year.

Kevin Martin’s Top Games

Nov. 8 vs. Dallas: Martin teamed with Kevin Love in this one and helped the Wolves storm past the Mavericks 116-108. Martin was sensational in this early-season matchup. He played 38 minutes and shot 10-of-18 from the field, hit 3-of-5 3-pointers and finished with 32 points. He was 9-of-10 from the line and added five boards, two assists and two steals. Couple that with Love’s 32 points, 15 boards and eight assists, and the Mavs didn’t have enough to keep up with Minnesota’s high-scoring tandem.

Nov. 3 at New York: Another memorable performance during which the Wolves’ duo of Love and Martin stole the show—this time on the sport’s brightest stage. Martin scored 30 points at Madison Square Garden, shooting 9-of-12 from the field and 5-of-5 from 3-point land, while adding three boards, two assists and two steals. He was 7-of-9 from the free-throw line, once again accentuating the fact that when Martin is able to draw contact and get to the line—coupling that with his 3-point efforts—he was at his best. Meanwhile, Love had 34 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in a 109-100 win over the Knicks.

Feb. 4 vs. Los Angeles Lakers: In the second of three wins over the Lakers this season, Martin shined on the Target Center court. He played 41 minutes in this one, putting up 32 points on 13-of-26 shooting—including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. He added four assists, three rebounds and a steal in the victory. True to form, Love was right there with him. He had 31 points and 17 boards on this night, as the Wolves climbed back to .500 at 24-24.

Top Offseason Objectives

Martin is a veteran in this league who has spent many of his offseasons working out in Florida in the same training group as Corey Brewer. That’s one of the reasons the two both ended up here in Minnesota over the offseason—once Martin was put in place during a sign-and-trade that sent Luke Ridnour to Milwaukee, Brewer was able to sign on. They’ll work together this offseason again, and the biggest key for Martin is continuing to keep his endurance and shape up as he continues  to advance in his career. He’s 31 years old as we speak, and last year he played more minutes per game than he had since the 2010-11 season—and he did it in the starting lineup after a year coming off the bench in Oklahoma City. With Martin, you know you’re going to get about 20 points per game and a 3-point shooting threat. You just need him to stay healthy for the duration of the season.

They Said It…

“It’s not about numbers anymore. I had so much more praise averaging 14 [points per game] being a sixth man for OKC than 22 a game and playing for a ninth seeded team not making the playoffs in Houston. We know what’s important.” — Wolves guard Kevin Martin after joining the Wolves last July