Kevin Martin started off the season on a high note after being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder but his play has tapered off a bit of late. The Thunder need Martin at his best throughout the playoffs for them to get back to the Finals.
When the Thunder dealt Sixth Man of the Year James Harden to the Houston Rockets after failed contract extension negotiations, there was NBA-wide speculation if Martin would be able to replace the scoring and playmaking that Harden provided off the bench for Oklahoma City. Martin initially filled in well, averaging 15 points while shooting .454 from the field, .436 from three and .904 from the free-throw line prior to the All-Star break.
While those averages are all solid, Martin hasn’t produced at nearly the same rate lately. Since the break, his numbers are down to 11.8 points and he’s shooting just .425 from the field and .370 from deep.
The Thunder still rely mainly on Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to carry them offensively, but Martin’s play is as essential to Oklahoma City’s success as any other player on the team. When Martin plays, he is averaging 14.8 points on .455 from the field and .431 from three in the Thunder’s 55 wins but just 11.7 points in their losses.
Oklahoma City is chasing the San Antonio Spurs for the top seed in the West, but they will need Kevin Martin to step it up and give them a consistent scoring option off the bench. Martin may not be the playmaker that Harden is, but he is capable of spacing the floor and knocking down open shots. If Martin regains his form, the Thunder should be a lock to return to the NBA Finals.