by Maurice Bobb / @reesereport
Kevin Martin is stalling.
There’s a hornets’ nest of reporters buzzing near the training room entrance at the Houston Rockets’ plush downtown practice facility at the Toyota Center, waiting on the reluctant star guard, who still gleams like a shiny new toy to the local media as they formulate their collective opinions of the recently acquired two guard brought in by the blockbuster trade that sent the mercurial Tracy McGrady to the Knicks and the former Western Carolina standout to Space City.
The boyish-looking six-year veteran knows the media is hungry for meaty sound bites or little nuggets of vengeance about the upcoming meeting against his former team, the Sacramento Kings, for whom he played five seasons and rose to a kind of muffled superstar status as the ridiculously efficient shooting guard with the spastic jump shot that makes him look like he’s having shooter’s Tourette’s.
As he hoists his unorthodox shot—which makes you want to cringe as he winds it up and releases—it’s evident the shot mechanics are even more bizarre up close and in person. He of the fluky ankle and wrist injuries, making it look easy on the comeback trail, dropping 33, 32 and 28 points, respectively, in his last three outings as a vital cog in Daryl Morey’s overachieving bunch. And despite what most of us can grasp of the laws of physics and countless examples of the perfect shooting form demonstrated by former and current NBA greats such as Dale Ellis, Reggie Miller and Ray “Jesus Shuttlesworth” Allen, K-Mart’s J goes in. One by one, they go in. They tickle the twine. His shot is water from downtown. Mid-range. The Key. The wing. The corner. All over the place. True story.
And as much as he wants to avoid the sizzle and pop of superstardom and all the rampant B.S. that goes with it, Martin acquiesces and dives head first into the media throng to answer their questions.
There’s the usual. Nervous? Stoked? Sentimental? Through it all, Martin flashed his impish grin after the standard responses. He wasn’t doing anything differently. He wouldn’t try to show and prove against his former team. He’d just play his game. There were bigger fish to fry. You can cut and paste his other responses here.
I waited until after the TV crews scurried off like hyenas with mouths full of carcass, to jump into the action, like girls do in double-dutch and lobbed a few questions his way. Check the responses:
“It will be emotional but it’s not like I’ll be out there trying to get them and it’s a one-man show. I had great times in Sac. The community took me under their wing and I was very blessed to have a great five years there.
“What we’re trying to accomplish here is much bigger than Kevin playing Sacramento. We’ve got bigger goals and bigger expectations here, so I’m just trying to get back to being a great player and hopefully we have a big month. I’m not worrying about one game – we treat every team the same.”
“It’s the system and guys around me are giving me the ball in the right places and it seems like I’ve found my stride since being inserted into the starting lineup first couple games is to see what everything is about and get used to everything. It’s been good and hopefully we can continue to build on it.”
“I’m a scorer in this league; that’s what I bring to the table. I can create my own shot and get others involved as well.”
“There’s really no difference between playing with Tyreke and Aaron. They’re both scoring point guards. Most shooting guards don’t really like playing with a scoring point, but I love it.”
“I’m just being active and watching Shane, one of the best defenders in this league. The staff is really holding me accountable on defense. I’m willing to do anything to help the team win games.”
“Knowing I’d be joining back up with Coach Adelman was a relief. When I arrived in the League, he taught me how to be a professional and a lot about how to be a player in this league. So with me coming here, I know the system very well and it’s tailored for a player like me.”
“Yeah, a lot of people have tried to change my shot over the years, but they couldn’t do it. And it makes no sense to change a shot that works.”
“I’ve always said that Houston was one of my favorite cities. A lot of players say that they like L.A. or Miami but I’ve always liked Houston and it’s everything I thought it would be.”