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Rockets 2021-2022 player previews: Kenyon Martin Jr.

Sky Man

NBA: Utah Jazz at Houston Rockets
Martin Blocks The Spurious Logic MVP
POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

First off, let’s get his name straight. His name is Kenyon Lee Martin Junior. His father, a redoubtable NBA player in his own right is named, naturally enough, Kenyon Lee Martin. His dad was nicknamed KMart, along with Kevin Martin, or Another KMart, the weird shot one (who was also a Rocket). This is unfortunate, as in seemed to suggest he was a value-conscious sort of player.

For those who never experienced KMart, the store, it was kind of a low price Target, before Walmart filled that role (and every other, in some places). It was known for having lower prices, shabbier stores, going into bankruptcy several times, and having “Blue Light Specials”. This meant that in the store, a blue emergency siren type light would flash at times, and certain items, or even whole aisles of goods, would receive a special discount while the light was shining. This practice is also the source of the catchphrase “Attention KMart shoppers!” as someone on a store-wide loudspeaker would announce the Blue Light Special. If you’ve ever wondered.

The concept, I think, was that these deals were so good it paid to shop, or simply hang around, at KMart in case such a deal appeared whilst you were in the store. There was, frankly, a lot less entertainment and distraction in those days, so hanging around for a blue light special might just qualify.

Anyhow, KMart is the KMart of nicknames, and we need something better. We know people call him KJ Martin, which I assume stands for “Kenyon Junior”, but again, he needs something better. I don’t know what it is, but we can find it together.

I’d be willing to bet that Kenyon Martin Jr has never shopped at a KMart, or heard of it in any context outside his dad. Ironically, he was, however, a value pick by the Rockets, and a declaration of intent by a new Rockets executive suite. That intent presumably being that the Rockets’ bizarre obsession with sub-six-foot-tall guards might be at a welcome end.

Martin the Younger chose to eschew college at Vanderbilt when I’m guessing he was informed that Vanderbilt was good for social life but bad for basketball. He went instead to the IMG sports agency training academy to wait out his NBA post high school eligibility year. The G-League Ignite was not yet a possible option for him, as it wouldn’t exist for another year.

Martin now has a season under his belt for the Rockets, and although that season was chaotic, the chaos served to bring him far more minutes than such a raw, but explosive, young player might expect elsewhere.

What did Martin do with those minutes? Block every very tall guy he played against. Every one. Rudy Gobert, Boban Marjanovich, you name him, Martin probably rejected him. It was a bright spot in a dismal season.

What else did he do? Look like a 19-year-old playing in the NBA. And not one that had been a pro since he was nine and legal to smoke, like they do in foreign places.

What can we expect this year? More of the same with a bit more polish, as pretty much the whole team fits the description of “Young, talented, inexperienced.”

Which is to say, we might like to draw conclusions from a game, or a stretch of games, or even this season. I’d urge against anything too sweeping on the negative side.

I think Martin is at least a rotation player, which is a good result from a second-round pick. He might be more. In his case it depends on his shot. If he can shoot the three ball at 36 percent, and play plausible defense, he’s an NBA starter - an absurdly good result from a second round pick.

In the meantime, enjoy the blocks.

Poll

New Nickname?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    No, KMart is totally boring and I love it.
    (12 votes)
  • 5%
    Yes. One is needed immediately.
    (6 votes)
  • 56%
    Let him grow into one.
    (59 votes)
  • 18%
    Someone’s initials aren’t really a nickname. Just saying.
    (19 votes)
  • 8%
    The Big D. Kind of says it all.
    (9 votes)
105 votes total Vote Now