Kevin Martin may have an unorthodox shot, play in a dying market, and draw his nickname from a lackluster department store; but K-Mart serves as the NBA’s most underrated 2 guard, and possibly it’s most underrated player.
In the echelon of shooting guards in the NBA, Martin is nowhere near the top in terms of name recognition. Kobe and Wade top the list. After them, are a list of declining two guards (which is longer than shooters on the rise). Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady are past their prime. Ray Allen (who is 33) and Joe Johnson, whose numbers haven’t increased, and (in terms of ppg) are only slightly above twenty. Both have seen their scoring averages drop in the past few seasons, even with select roles on their respective teams.
The 2008-2009 season has proved the fragility of even tested shooting guards, superstars such as Gilbert Arenas and Manu Ginobili played career lows in terms of games.
Not including Martin, the list grows even thinner. Andre Iguodala, who is sometimes listed as small forward, is one of the game’s rising stars. He showed in this year’s playoffs that he has what it takes to be the new “AI” in Philly.
But seriously, after Iguodala who is there? Jason Richardson, who contributed little in Phoenix, Golden State’s Corey Maggette? Vince Carter? Who simply can no longer will his Nets team to victory, must see his production slide as well.
Not like Martin, alone, is suddenly going to lead the Kings, a shell of the days of Webber, Williams, and Divac, to the Western Conference Finals, but Martin should rightfully be the cornerstone of the franchise.
In his fifth year in the league and his fourth year as a starter, Martin has seen his numbers rise consistently and his efforts are starting to take notice.
2008-2009 NBA Scoring Leaders
1. Dwayne Wade 30.2
2. LeBron James 28.4
3. Kobe Bryant 26.8
4. Dirk Nowitzki 25.9
5. Danny Granger 25.8
6. Kevin Durant 25.3
7. Kevin Martin 24.6
Ranking third in scoring among active shooting guards deserves some credit. Not bad for a skinny kid from Western Carolina University, whose numbers other than scoring are also on the rise, including assists and steals.
With the No. 4 pick in the draft the Kings might gain some firepower to add to Martin’s team and give the fans inside the ARCO Arena and remind the people of Sacramento what it’s like to play winning basketball once again.