SLAMonline Top 50: Kevin Martin, no. 49

by September 01, 2008

by Emry DowningHall

Quick question for you: What do Glen Robinson and Kevin Martin have in common?

Robinson’s career is generally remembered for questionable shot selection and a basic lack of interest in the defensive stance, so fans of Martin may be thinking, “not much.”

However, both Martin and Robinson are guilty of snatching a nickname that was already established for another player in the League.

In Robinson’s case, the victim was the tinted shades wearing, box out machine, Antoine Carr, also known as the original Big Dog. Though Carr was a 16-year vet, his lack of status prohibited him from putting up too much of a fight for the moniker.

Martin’s case is a little different. To my knowledge he doesn’t refer to himself as “K-Mart,” but the fact that his first name begins with a K, and his last name starts off with Mart, the situation is somewhat unavoidable for the catch phrase obsessed sports fan.

This was first brought to my attention by a SLAMonline reader who commented on one of my fantasy columns, asking if it was fair to refer to Kevin Martin as K-Mart, since Kenyon is now a shadow of his former self.

Look, if you feel compelled to compare guys to bargain department stores, be my guest, but I’m not recommending it. Kevin Martin deserves better.

Though the name David Thorpe might not jump off the page, he’s very well respected in the professional basketball community. Thorpe is the executive director of pro training at IMG Academies in Florida. One of his first clients was Kevin Martin, who started training with him after his sophomore season at Western Carolina. Thorpe’s business is basketball, and he’s on record saying Martin is by far the hardest working athlete he’s ever been around.

A lot is made about the way Kevin Martin shoots the rock. For a pure shooter, Martin’s stroke is truly unorthodox, and while you wont see him endorsing any Better Basketball videos – somewhere JJ Reddick exhales – you can’t argue with the results -24 points per game, 86% free throw, 40% 3-pointers last season.

Out of high school Martin was largely ignored by college coaches who figured his slim build would prevent him from making an impact on the next level. Martin attended Western Carolina where he went on to become the fourth leading scorer in school history. The Kings hoped to boost their offensive punch, and took-on Martin in 2004 with the 26th pick in the draft.

Martin has always been extremely thin. He’s listed at 6 foot 7 inches and 185 pounds, making him susceptible to blowing away during high winds. However, just like Kevin Durant at no. 50 on this list, Martin’s max bench press fails to define his basketball ability.

His selection as the 49th player on SLAMonline’s Top 50 is a result of his lethal scoring ability, and his potential as an elite swingman in the NBA. Though getting buckets comes naturally to Martin, describing him as a guy concerned with scoring 30 every night would be inaccurate. His shots come within the offense, and his scoring ability is super efficient.

At times I feel like NBA public relations officials go out of their way to paint guys as model citizens or overall just good people. In the case of Kevin Martin, it seems to be real talk. And while his humble demeanor wont shoot him up this list, his outstanding commitment to improving his game will. Though I’m comfortable with his selection at no. 49, I doubt he would be, and he might put up 500 extra shots today as a result.

Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.