Tuesday , Nov , 28 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

There’s a new K-Mart in town

(Sports Network) – Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin is a former All-
Star, and at one time was recognized as a top power forward in the NBA.
Injuries have slowed the 28-year-old Martin down and his best games are part
of history.


There's a new K-Mart in town

Now, there is a new K-Mart in town and his name is Kevin Martin.

The Sacramento Kings received a big lift early in the season, as guard Kevin
Martin is having a breakout year and is recognized as a rising star.
Originally selected out of Western Carolina by Sacramento in the first round
(26th overall) of the 2004 NBA Draft, Kevin Martin went through growing pains
under former Sacramento head coach Rick Adelman during his first two seasons
in the league.

In his rookie campaign, the 6-7 guard appeared in 45 games and played just
over 10 minutes per contest. He averaged 2.9 points, 1.3 rebounds and less
than one assist in limited playing time. Kevin Martin did not start any games
and had a difficult time breaking into the Kings’ rotation

Year two was more productive for Kevin Martin. His playing time increased to
26-plus minutes of action per contest, and he played 72 games, including 41
starts. With more playing time came better statistics, as Kevin Martin
compiled respective numbers in his sophomore season. He averaged 10.8 points,
3.6 boards and 1.3 assists.

Glimpses of a possible breakout came during the playoffs, Sacramento fell in
six to the San Antonio Spurs, 4-2, in round one, but it was evident that Kevin
Martin was becoming a better player. He averaged 13.2 points in the best-of-
seven series, and made the game-winning lay-up as time expired in Game 3

The difference was obvious in 2005-06. Kevin Martin looked more confident and
he was more aggressive on both ends of the court. Maybe it was beneficial for
the Western Carolina product to learn the NBA game from the bench in his
rookie season.

Kevin Martin was compared to Doug Christie when he was drafted in 2004 by
Sacramento. Christie, a former King, was a hard-nosed player who was known
more for his defense rather than his offensive skills. Sacramento hoped Kevin
Martin would be a solid player who would help defensively and score when
needed.

Under new head coach Eric Musselman, who replaced Adelman last June, Kevin
Martin has flourished in all aspects of the game. Musselman has teamed Kevin
Martin and Mike Bibby to give Sacramento an explosive backcourt. Bibby is the
floor leader and the catalyst of the Kings’ offense, while his new starting
backcourt mate has developed an all-around game that has had a big impact on
the team.

After just 12 games played, twenty-three-year-old Kevin Martin leads the Kings
in scoring (24.9 ppg). He has also grabbed 5.1 rebounds, dished out 2.2
assists and collected 1.6 steals per game. The new K-Mart is also shooting a
an impressive 54.5 percent from the floor, including an unbelievable 49
percent from beyond the arc.

There is a lot of talent of the Kings’ roster. Bibby is a borderline All-Star
point guard, while two-time All-Star Brad Miller, who is currently sidelined
with torn plantar fascia in his left foot, is one of the top centers in the
league when he is healthy.

When defensive stopper Ron Artest is on the court he is one of the best all-
around players in the game. Not only is Artest, who is a former NBA Defensive
Player of the Year, a great defender but he can also light it up on the
offensive end of the court.

Add forwards Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Kenny Thomas and swingman John Salmons to
the equation, the Kings have a balanced, deep and talented roster that should
be able to compete against the top teams in the NBA.

The emergence of Kevin Martin is a bit shocking. There is no doubting that he
is a talented basketball player. After all, he wouldn’t be in the league if he
wasn’t. But, who expected him to become Sacramento’s top scorer and one of the
rising stars in the NBA?

Kevin Martin’s stock is on the rise. What a bonus for the Kings!