The Oklahoma City Thunder undoubtedly have two go-to scorers on the team in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook; Serge Ibaka can contribute as well on a nightly basis.
But in order for a deep playoff run and eventual NBA championship, Kevin Martin will have to find a way to break out of his mini-slump that he has been in since the All-Star break.
Martin’s pre All-Star break numbers: 15 points per game on 43 percent shooting.
Post All-Star break numbers: 11 points per game on 36 percent shooting.
The ‘slump’ that Martin has been in since the All-Star break has not been that devastating. He is still shooting 41 percent on the year, which is a pretty impressive statistic. But once the playoffs begin, Martin’s offensive contribution will have to increase.
Westbrook and Durant more than likely will not have great games in every game down the stretch. Bench players for the Thunder will have to pick up the slack whenever their two premier scorers are not hitting.
Thunder coach, Scott Brooks, has made clear that Martin will have to be the guy to take over the second team. That means offensive plays will be set up for him during games.
It will be crucial that Martin is able to produce whenever those plays are used. Martin is not the type of player that can make his own shots like James Harden did for the Thunder last year, but he is just as good of a shooter as Harden, if not better.
Martin has been one of the players coach Brooks has used in his rotation down the stretch of games. Late in fourth quarters, you will see Martin strolling the perimeter waiting for a kick-out three-pointer.
Durant will likely be doubled late in games due to his reputation of being a clutch player. When he is doubled, it leaves Martin wide open on the three-point line.
Will Martin be able to produce when the ball is thrown to him in clutch situations? I guess we will find out.