Q&A with Kevin Martin's personal coach, David Thorpe

  • Updated: July 10, 2013 - 8:02 AM
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Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Martin is shown in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday, March 29, 2013 in Minneapolis.

Photo: Jim Mone, Dml - Associated Press

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(Update: The Wolves press conference to introduce Kevin Martin, which had been set for 9 a.m., has been postponed. Startribune.com plans to offer live video when it is rescheduled.)

The Timberwolves are set to publicly introduce newly signed Kevin Martin on Wednesday morning. His arrival finally gives the team a legitimately sized (6-7) shooting guard and reunites Martin with Wolves coach Rick Adelman for the third time in their NBA careers. David Thorpe — Martin’s personal coach, ESPN.com analyst and executive director Florida’s Pro Training Center — recently discussed with Jerry Zgoda the player he has trained since Martin was 19.

 

Q Other than nearly 28 million other reasons, why is this marriage between Kevin and the Wolves now the right fit?

A He just felt so good about being part of a team that’s ready to make a resurgence, in a system he knew, with a coach he trusted 100 percent. He has never played with a guy like Kevin Love and for all the points he’s scored, he has never played with a point guard — like Ricky Rubio — who was looking to get him the ball more than he looked to score himself.

 

Q Can the Wolves survive defensively with both Kevin and Chase Budinger on the wing?

A I don’t think it’s the best defensive lineup you can have, two guys like that who are offensive minded. But I think Kevin’s a better defensive player than he gets credit for. He’s worse off the ball than he is on the ball, but he made huge strides there because he played in a system in Oklahoma City last year that looked for it and taught it. Any team can be better defensively if they’re coached for it, as long as guys are willing. If they add an elite defensive player at the 3, they can play a lot like Memphis because Memphis is a below-the-rim defensive team. They don’t have shot blockers that way, but I think (Nikola) Pekovic can play a lot like (Marc) Gasol on defense: basically an immovable object around the rim.

 

Q At age 30, how is his body holding up?

A He played 77 games this year, would have played 80 but they already clinched the top seed so he rested. Before the lockout year, he played 80 also. The only problem the last few years was the lockout season, but to be honest it was (new Houston coach) Kevin McHale clearly trying different things. Losing Adelman and bringing in McHale was not good for Kevin. He has never been more athletic in my gym since he was 23. He feels like a 26 year old and he looks like it when you see the way he bounces. That’s how thin, athletic guys are. They age much better than heavy muscular guys. Wait ‘til you see him.

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