Kevin Martin was quoted on Twitter saying something that many found insulting to his former superstar teammates.
Kevin Martin on playing with the Wolves: “This is such a fun team to play on. Nobody is trying to lead the league in scoring here.”
— NBA Guru (@NBAGuru) November 4, 2013
The Oklahoma City Thunder and Minnesota Timberwolves are drastically different teams. Each of them features a star point guard and forward combo in Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant and then Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love, respectively, but the Thunder have been title contenders the past two years, and the Timberwolves have missed the playoffs.
While recent Thunder teams have been better than recent Timberwolves teams, Martin has found a bigger, better role on a Timberwolves team that is playing surprisingly well. Martin has been heavily featured in the Timberwolves offense, and is their best shooter. On the Thunder, he was their sixth man, and played fewer minutes. Martin was an offensive leader off the bench, but was never a main passing target, and he thrives scoring off assists.
Durant came dangerously close to winning the scoring title last year, but he was by no means a ballhog; many would even argue that he should have shot the ball more. Durant also sat out the final game of last season when he had a chance at overtaking Carmelo Anthony for the scoring title, so it’s clear his health and the team’s success was more important to him than a personal achievement.
Westbrook, on the other hand, has been seen as a selfish player at times, but wasn’t really close to winning the scoring title, finishing sixth in points per game last year. Neither of the Thunder’s stars really seem to be the target of Martin’s comment.
Love has a decent chance of winning the scoring title this year, so that too makes the comment a little confusing. Likely the comment was simply a reflection on playing with a selfless team led by a pass-first point guard, something Martin hasn’t experienced in a while.
Martin is thriving in his new environment, so it’s acceptable and expected for him to voice his happiness with his new team. Calling him a Thunder hater is just reading too much into a minor comment. A Thunder, Timberwolves rivalry could be exciting, but it will likely start with a first round playoff series, not a tweet.