Nets All-Time Top 25: No. 11 Kenyon Martin
Defensive standout brought toughness and finishing power to front court
The selections for the Nets All-Time Top 25 Team were made by the author, with no input from the Brooklyn Nets organization. Selections were based on a combination of individual performance, team success and their contribution to it, and longevity with the franchise.
Kenyon Martin was the second player to be selected by the Nets as the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft, and he fulfilled that promise as a key cog for two NBA Finals teams.
The rugged power forward started 280 of the 283 games he played for the Nets over his four seasons with the team. His debut delayed by a broken leg suffered late in his senior season at Cincinnati, he nevertheless earned a spot on the NBA All-Rookie First Team after averaging 12.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.1 steals per game over 58 games.
That made Martin a core returning piece when the Nets added Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson and Todd MacCulloch the following season, in addition to welcoming back guard Kerry Kittles from a knee injury. With Martin providing the frontcourt toughness, the Nets improved by 26 wins to win the Atlantic Division with a 52-30 record.
With the Nets featuring a remarkably balanced offense, Martin was, by a fraction, the team’s leading scorer with a 14.9 points per game average. He continued to excel defensively with 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.2 steals per game.
In the first round of the playoffs, he had 29 points as the Nets survived a decisive Game 5 battle with the Indiana Pacers in two overtimes. Martin averaged 19.4 points per game in that series and 22.0 in the four-game NBA Finals loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Martin averaged 16.7 points per game in each of the next two seasons, helping the Nets to another Atlantic Division title and Eastern Conference championship in 2002-03. He increased his rebounding, to 8.3 per game in 2002-03 and 9.5 per game in 2003-04. Martin earned his only NBA All-Star Game selection that season.
Traded to the Denver Nuggets after that season, Martin played 11 more years in the NBA.
With the Nets, he averaged 15.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game. He was also a solid passer for his position, with 2.4 assists per game.