Despite Obvious Similarities, Cody and Caleb Martin’s Differences Standout on the Court

by Sam Perley

There have been a few instances of twin brothers concurrently playing on the same NBA team, with the most recent and recognizable examples perhaps being Marcus and Markieff Morris and Brook and Robin Lopez. But rarely, if ever, have a set of twins – identical nonetheless – started their NBA careers together in the same organization.

For as long as they’ve been basketball players, Cody and Caleb Martin have played together on the same team. From high school, to North Carolina State, to Nevada, to the NBA and even the G League, the two have been side by side for their entire lives, especially on the hardwood.

Both possess overlapping physical attributes of size, length, athleticism and energy, making it understandable that the pair often get lumped together into one singular unit. Upon closer inspection though, Cody and Caleb have evolved into completely different players and perhaps more importantly, different people as well.

“With us being on the same team, we’re going to be known as the twins,” said Caleb. “I know what I can do individually and Cody knows what he brings to the table individually. When people really watch us play and dissect our games, they notice the differences. If people want to group us together, I’m used to it.”

Cody added, “I think that’s what makes us really intriguing in knowing that we bring a variety of different things to the table. I think we both understand that when we get out there and play our games with confidence, people can see the difference. That’s why when we’re both on the floor, we’re able to coexist because he has a different style of play, and I have a different style of play.”

From a basketball standpoint, the two say they have never felt any pressure to separate themselves from the natural bond they share. A major element in the confidence they showcase on the court comes in knowing who each is as an individual player, something that’s become more recognized and appreciated by the Hornets coaching staff.

“You look at them, they look identical and most people in general lump them together,” said Hornets Head Coach James Borrego. “They play the same way, [people think] they’re the same person, but they’re really not. The more I’ve gotten to know them, their games and personalities are different. They each need their individual attention and their own development program as well. We’ve done better with that over the course of the season.”

He added, “There’s a real trust between the three of us. I have my own relationship with both of them. We’re just thrilled to have them in our program. They’re fantastic kids. They’re about the right things. They affect winning, they’re about winning and they want to get better.”

Cody was drafted 36th overall last summer largely on his potential to be an NBA-caliber three-and-D wing. And Caleb stood out more for his offensive abilities after closing out his senior season at Nevada ranked third in the Mountain West Conference in scoring (19.2 points) and first in three-point field goals (107).

Since arriving in Charlotte, Cody has averaged over five more touches per game than Caleb (26.9 to 21.7), indicative of his heavier ball-handling role. He also attacks the basket more frequently (3.6 to 2.6 drives per game), while Caleb averages more catch-and-shoot points (3.2 to 0.9) and fewer passes (15.3 to 20.5). Defensively, Cody records more contested shots per outing (4.8 to 3.6) and has a slim advantage over Caleb in charges drawn (0.29 to 0.22).

Oddly enough though, Cody’s offensive rating (104.5) is higher than Caleb’s (103.2), while the latter’s defensive efficiency (102.4) tops his brother’s as well (107.7). “In a way, we both bring similar things to the table, but also bring completely different things at the same time,” Cody said. “I think that’s why when we’re both on the floor, we have a lot of energy and we bring a different kind of dynamic when we’re out there.”

Cody and Caleb know they have a unique blessing playing alongside one another again at the NBA level, especially factoring in the franchise’s proximity to their hometown of Mocksville, NC. Although to some they might always be known as the “twins” here in Charlotte, each brother has proven to bring a unique skillset and identity to the Hornets’ young core.

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