T-Mobile Player of the Week: Kevin Martin

I feel like this was a long time coming.

Kevin shot over 40% in each game last week, and played a key role in the Rockets' victory over the Denver Nuggets with 29 points. He also scored 28 against the Knicks, and with the exception of that game, kept his turnovers to a minimum throughout the week.

There are two aspects of Kevin's game that Rockets fans need to start getting used to:

A. He does his damage while you are leaning forward to look for the remote, or looking down to reach for your popcorn, or simply zoning out while watching the game. In other words, you don't notice Kevin's production nearly as much as you notice that of other elite scorers. He doesn't demand the ball like a Carmelo Anthony or a Kobe Bryant might. He takes what comes, and moves around the perimeter or down the baseline, hoping someone might find him for a pass. But he doesn't handicap the offense in the same way that Tracy McGrady did. He might not even touch the ball once on many possessions. That's just the way he plays, and if there is any beneficiary of his unselfishness and patience, it is Aaron Brooks.

B. He still has a lot of work to do on defense. As one of the commenters, Tisbee, pointed out, teams are starting to attack Kevin more. I remember David Thorpe telling Henry Abbott that if Kevin really dedicates himself to defense, he can be a good defender. Not to disagree with David, who knows far more about Kevin that I do, but in watching Kevin, I've noticed how flat-footed and upright he can get while guarding an opposing player. He doesn't get low to the ground like good perimeter defenders do, and as a result, he gets beaten off the dribble quite easily. His help defense seems to be getting better, which is a good sign. But he has a lot of work to do in order to become a better defender - luckily, it's in the little things that are tied to simple dedication.

For now, Kevin's going to have to do even more offensively, as our frontcourt seems to have been swatted to the trainer's room like a bunch of flies. I don't think he'll mind.

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