The Houston Rockets’ Kevin Martin just hasn’t been the same since the vetoed blockbuster trade that would have sent him, along with two teammates, to New Orleans. After a career season in 2010-11 when he averaged 23.4 points per game and shot nearly 90 percent from the free throw line, Martin is currently pouring in only 16.5 points per game and disappearing from contests at a higher rate than ever.
Whether the decline in production and consistency (Martin scored four points in the season opener, 25 in the second game) is due to discontent over the trade that wasn’t, new NBA rule changes making it more difficult for Martin to draw fouls with his vaunted pump-fakes, or his reliance on outside shooting — he is shooting his lowest percentage from three-point range since his rookie season —it is undeniable Martin is regressing.
Something is up, and it’s even visible in his body language. Martin is a preternaturally quiet guy who rarely plays with a lot of emotion or fire, but his dejected expressions and at-times lazy floor game predicated solely on jump shots suggests eerie comparisons to the last few years of the Tracy McGrady-era in Houston. Not good.