Minnesota Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman and new addition Kevin Martin have worked together before. Martin was drafted onto Adelman’s Sacramento Kings in 2004 when they were still a Western Conference powerhouse. The team blew up shortly after that as Adelman was gone by Martin’s third season, and the Kings were no longer a playoff team. In Adelman’s last year with the Kings and the few seasons after, Martin established himself as one of the best young shooting guards in the league, averaging 20 points or more per game from his third year until being traded to the Houston Rockets.
On the Rockets, Martin rejoined Coach Adelman for 104 games split between two seasons. Martin played well under Adelman, scoring 23.5 points and knocking down 2.2 three pointers per game in their one full season together in Houston. After Adelman left for the Timberwolves, however, Martin’s production fell off. He played just 40 games in the lockout shortened 2011-12 season, averaging 17.1 points per game – the first time he averaged less than 20 since his second season.
Martin was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder last offseason and didn’t exactly flourish in his role there . He played a prominent role off the bench, averaging over 27 minutes a game, but it was his first time since his second season that he was not the starting shooting guard. On the Wolves he’ll be a starter, likely playing around 30 minutes.
Look for Martin’s scoring to improve under Adelman in a starting role. Adelman gave Martin a starting role back in his second season and knows his strengths and weaknesses well. Martin has certainly had success with different coaches, but rejoining Adelman can only be good for his career.
As the Wolves’ second scoring option, Martin has a chance to do what he does best — score. He will likely score around 18 points per game this season. His game has grown to incorporate the three pointer more, and he will probably shoot close to six a game this season. Martin has sat out the last few preseason games, but team officials have called it a precautionary measure, meaning Martin should be ready to play opening night. If Martin can play anywhere close to how he played in his last season under Adelman, the two will be in the playoffs together for the first time since 2006.