Remember Kevin Martin? You know, the shooting guard that the Oklahoma City Thunder swapped James Harden to the Houston Rockets for? The same Kevin Martin that shot the basketball so well during the regular season? Well, the Thunder will need that Kevin Martin to reappear or they will find themselves out of the playoffs real soon.
To his credit, postseason play is territory that is unfamiliar to Martin. He’s only played in the playoffs once before in his career, and that was back in 2006 with the Sacramento Kings (yes, the Kings were actually good back then).
But Martin’s lack of playoff exposure is no excuse for how poorly he has shot the ball. Martin may still be averaging 14.1 points per game — on par with his season average of 14 — but so far in eight games he is shooting just .362 from the field, including being held to just 2-11 by the Memphis Grizzlies in game two of their series. I would share Martin’s shooting chart with you, but I’ll save you the horror. It’s that ugly.
Martin shot .450 from the field and .426 from three-point range during the regular season, so he’s a more than capable shooter from all areas of the court. And given that Martin averages less than five rebounds and assists combined, it’s not as if his workload in other areas of the game are making him too weary to shoot accurately. Scoring is his one and only job for the Thunder.
Whatever the case may be, Oklahoma City will need Martin to rediscover his ability to knock down shots and fast, especially with Russell Westbrook lost for the postseason. The Grizzlies appear poised to control this series and as great as Kevin Durant is, he can’t hold them off alone.
If the Kevin Martin that was so effective during the regular season doesn’t show up soon, the Thunder can kiss a return to the NBA Finals goodbye because they may not even make it out of the second round.