We may have seen him play sparingly in a Rockets uniform, but truth be told, we still have yet to see the real Kevin Martin. He's still learning, still performing trial and error, and has yet to really gel with the guys. In simplest terms, Speed Racer is a pledge, nickname and all.
But after going through multiple practices with the Rockets, accompanied by the bad news concerning Trevor Ariza, Martin suddenly figures to return to a familiar role: alpha dog.
"I just want to get my feet wet," Martin told Sports Radio 610 the day preceding his first game as a Rocket. Martin proceeded to shoot 3-16 from the field in a less than inspiring debut. But frankly, it came as no surprise. This is Kevin Martin, the heart and soul of the Sacramento Kings for the past few years, the leader, the scorer, the guy who everyone turned to for help and for heroics... coming off the bench. In a new system. With new players. And new fans to win over.
I'm happy that Martin made any shots at all. Antawn Jamison went 0-12 in his Cavaliers debut. It's common to have a shaky first outing after a quick change of scenery. If anything, Martin's first basket as a Rocket served as an indicator of what he could do once he became comfortable with his new settings. In the meantime, there were kinks to be worked out. That's what practice is for.
As of today, Martin has not only practiced, but is now back in his familiar role as the wing scorer. He'll still need to work with Trevor and Kyle Lowry, and eventually Yao Ming and get in tune with what they do, but I expect him to begin to find his stroke, as he becomes more accustomed to his former coach's system.
For now, Kevin will be able to focus on himself, on his game. After a two-game abyss of sorts, there's a good chance we'll be seeing the real Kevin Martin for the first time.