First things first…this is my first FanPost so please take it easy on me in the comments.
I have been reading a whole bunch of talk about Kevin Martin not being the guy that can take us to the promise land because he can´t finish games in the fourth quarter. But honestly, can we say that just yet? I guess that can be said, but is it a fair assessment of KM. How many other stars out there could be doing better with what the Rockets, as a whole, are giving KM? I was checking out a few stats on Yahoo Sports and came across this interesting quote:
¨Nov 23 G Kevin Martin leads the Rockets in scoring, averaging 23.4 points per game and is second in the NBA behind Kobe Bryant in points per minute.¨
I would have to say that this is pretty good company to be in. And just think, he is accomplishing this WITHOUT 40% of his fellow starters (and even less if we factor in Yao at only 24 minutes).
Listen, NBA coaches are good…really good. They know who the go-to-guys are on the opposing teams, the strengths of these players, where they like to receive the ball, the capabilities of the other players on the floor at the end of the game etc. And guess what? They know exactly when it is time to change the flow of the game and cut off what has been working for the opposing team…and that typically includes doubling the go-to-guy to get the ball out of his hands.
We don´t have to look any farther back than this year´s Miami Heat to see that at the NBA level, it takes more than just bringing in another superstar to win a game (at least consistently). I didn´t check but I think that Miami has only been truly healthy for 4 or 5 games this season and look what is happening to them (and that is not even accounting for Mike Miller´s absence since day one). You gotta be healthy to compete at the NBA level and the Rockets are not even close to being 100% healthy.
Let´s say that all of you who don´t believe in KM had your wish and you could trade straight up for any other player in the league (at the 2 or 3 position). Who would you bring in, why would you bring in him and do you honestly think that we would have any more wins than we do right now? Ok, maybe we would have 4 or 5 wins but not many more. You can trade KM straight up for Kobe, LeBron, Wade, Carmelo, Durant etc. but I am telling you that we wouldn´t be winning many more games than we are right now. And why? Because basketball is one of the ultimate TEAM sports. It is not baseball where you can hand the ball to one man who will make the absolute difference in getting the W or L.
How would the outcomes of our games be any different with Kobe handling the rock during the last six minutes of the game? He would get the ball at the top of the key (or free throw line extended after backing his man down) and he would be doubled team immediately and would then have to pass to _________ (insert any Rocket player here not name Scola) and the result would be the same. (But coach, it really felt good leaving my hand…)
So what´s my point?
Let our ´boys get healthy for 10 or 15 games straight and then let´s talk about whether or not KM should be sticking around. After all, KM is already a top 10 scorer in the ENTIRE NBA right now. And he has accomplished this without having to chunk up 20 shots a game. He takes seven shots less than Durant and Rose, five less than Carmelo and Kobe and three less than LeBron. Just think how much better he will be when (if) we have all (most) of our talent on the floor and not sitting on the bench.
P.S. Make sure to read what I said…I didn´t say that I wouldn´t trade KM straight up for any of the players listed…I said that they wouldn´t make that much of a difference with our team´s situation right now. I mean, who wouldn´t take a healthy Wade over KM at the shooting guard position?