Kevin Martin won't replace James Harden's beard, but as hyper-efficient scoring guards go, it's hard to find a player with a better résumé than Martin. As recently as 2010-11, Martin was second to Kobe Bryant in points per minutes played -- and was more efficient than Bryant has ever been.
And it's not because defenses are forgetting about him. Prior to Kyle Lowry a couple of seasons ago, the best player Martin has ever played with before this season is Metta World Peace, back when he was Ron Artest in Sacramento. Yet in Sacramento and then in Houston, Martin managed to score a high volume of points with excellent efficiency -- not quite Harden level, but comparable to Dwyane Wade in terms of effective field goal percentage.
How does he achieve such numbers? We dig into video and stats to take a look:
Deadly 3-point shooting
Kevin Martin has a low, off-kilter release, but he gets it off quickly and it's accurate as hell. At 6-7, Martin can get the ball off without much room. He is at least Harden's equal as a floor spacer, and he's never played with anyone who can draw the defense away from him like Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. He should have great opportunities to cash in when the Thunder play the three of them together.
Attacking the closeout
Martin's quick and low release lends itself to a particularly nasty shot-fake; he only has to flinch and it looks like he's going up. Though he's not especially creative off the dribble, he has a quick first step and is very good at attacking in straight lines to the rim. And because he remains perfectly balanced throughout his minimalist shot-fake, he can rapidly convert fake to attack. This year, expect to see Martin cruising into the lane as his defender flails in the air behind him.
Dissecting Kevin Martin's efficiency
ESPN.com | Oct 29