Friday, August 23, 2013
Kevin Martin's impact in Minny
By Joe Kaiser
Minnesota's efforts to land a reliable three-point shooter in recent years have failed time and time again. Drafting college sharp-shooter Wayne Ellington in 2009 didn't work. Using the No. 4 overall pick on Wesley Johnson a year later was an even bigger disappointment. Derrick Williams hasn't carried that part of his game over from college to the degree some thought he would. And last year's attempts to fix the problem -- trading for Chase Budinger and signing Alexey Shved -- didn't work, either. Budinger played just 23 games and shot 32.1 percent from downtown, while Shved showed promise but connected on 3s only 29.5 percent of the time.
The Timberwolves latest solution to the ongoing problem, signing 30-year-old Kevin Martin, didn't come cheap; He is guaranteed $28 million over four seasons. But in Martin, do the Wolves finally have their answer?
How well Martin holds up over the length of his deal is reason for concern, but in the short term his value to the Wolves -- even if primarily in the role of 3-point specialist -- could be huge.
Andrew Unterberger writes at The Basketball Jones this week that Martin could excel and remain an effective player in Minnesota, for that very reason.
"In retrospect, maybe even just being the second-unit offensive anchor was too much responsibility for a prematurely aging Kevin Martin in Oklahoma City," Unterberger wrote on Wednesday. "Really, all he should be tasked to do at this point is stand behind the three-point line and shoot, and maybe occasionally draw a foul on a late closeout. But on this Wolves team, with Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic commanding attention down low and Ricky Rubio driving and distributing, Kevin Martin can be a difference-maker just by standing and shooting, giving the Wolves a dimension they were sorely lacking when they finished last in the league in three-point shooting next year. It’s the best chance Martin has at staying a relevant player as he continues to age in NBA dog years."