Shooting guard Martin is perfect fit for Wolves' system

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 13, 2013 - 8:04 AM

New Wolves shooting guard Kevin Martin knows Rick Adelman’s offense from Sacramento and Houston.

 

Given that professional basketball players spend most of their careers singing odes to the prospect of winning championships, moving on from an NBA title contender to a youthful team trying to establish itself looks, on the face of it, like a tough shift.

But new Timberwolves shooting guard Kevin Martin sat at the podium at Target Center on Monday, introduced in person to the Twin Cities media for the first time since signing in July, and repeatedly declared his optimism for the move, his new home and the prospects of a team that has built an intriguing core.

“I don’t think our goal is just to make the playoffs — that would be a mistake to sit up here and say that’s our ceiling or things like that,” Martin said. “This team is built to do more than that. … The foundation has been laid, so now it’s our job to work hard every day and establish a family atmosphere in that locker room. … This was a very easy decision for me to come up here to Minnesota.”

No doubt, the four-year, $28 million contract Martin signed also had something to do with the sudden interest in a team that has missed the postseason for the past nine years. But Martin also divulged a little of what it means to have the opportunity to get back to a situation that makes more sense for him as a player.

Last season, Martin was traded from Houston to Oklahoma City, where he was essentially a sixth man for the first time in his career. While a major piece on a Thunder team that made to the Western Conference semifinals — and a team that might have gone much farther had All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook not injured a knee — Martin’s average of 14.0 points per game was his lowest since 2005-06.

Getting the chance to be a starting shooting guard once more will enable him to get back to his type of game, he said, which is one that has conveniently been developed in part by Wolves coach Rick Adelman, for whom Martin played in Sacramento and Houston.

Martin said his decision to come to Minnesota has only been vindicated by the welcome he has received. Walking around town last week, Martin said he was “overwhelmed” by the positive responses of fans approaching him and thanking him for joining the Wolves. When Martin traveled here to officially sign last month, Adelman — typically not one to show much emotion — engulfed him in a hug.

“We’re bringing in a guy that, probably outside of Coach Adelman and the three coaches, knows the offense better than anybody,” said Flip Saunders, the Wolves president of basketball operations.

Saunders called Martin “the first domino” in what he considers a successful offseason. The Wolves already have some key pieces with power forward Kevin Love and point guard Ricky Rubio, but the pair, particularly after an injury-ravaged 2012-13 season, needed help.

Saunders said he believes he can “pencil in” Martin for 17 to 18 points per game and expects him to provide some badly needed perimeter shooting. Last season, the Wolves were the worst team in the NBA at three-point shooting (30.5 percent), an area in which Martin — who made 42.6 percent of his shots from behind the arc a year ago — excels.

As much as anything, Saunders said he values the leadership Martin can bring to a young squad that boasts talent but is still trying to find its identity. In return, Martin breathes hope into a team that is a little short on it and speaks confidently about not just getting back to the playoffs but “doing some damage.”

“This franchise and this city deserves all that,” he said.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 7:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 7:30 PM
Houston
Milwaukee 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
Golden State
Florida 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Colorado 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Carolina
Washington 6:00 PM
Columbus
Anaheim 6:30 PM
Montreal
St. Louis 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Edmonton 9:30 PM
San Jose
St Thomas (TX) 8 1st Half 10:35
Rice 16
Stony Brook 6:00 PM
Canisius
Temple 6:00 PM
Delaware
FIU 6:00 PM
Long Island
Lehigh 6:00 PM
Quinnipiac
South Alabama 6:00 PM
Richmond
Seton Hall 6:00 PM
South Florida
Ga Southern 6:00 PM
Stetson
Yale 6:00 PM
Vermont
Cleveland State 6:00 PM
Virginia
Wright State 6:00 PM
Western Carolina
Nicholls 6:30 PM
Louisiana Tech
Morgan State 6:30 PM
Rider
Idaho State 6:30 PM
South Dakota St
Oakland City 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
Eureka 7:00 PM
Bradley
Appalachian St 7:00 PM
Charlotte
Connecticut 7:00 PM
Duke
Southern Miss 7:00 PM
Jackson State
Coastal Carolina 7:00 PM
Ole Miss
Montana State 7:30 PM
South Dakota
LSU 8:00 PM
UAB
Ohio 8:05 PM
Evansville
CS-Dominguez 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Walla Walla 9:00 PM
Idaho
DePaul 9:00 PM
Oregon State
Nevada 9:00 PM
Pacific
Portland State 9:00 PM
San Francisco
CS-Bakersfield 9:05 PM
Utah State
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Niagara 69 2nd Half 1:05
Cleveland State 55
High Point 53 2nd Half 4:48
VA Commonwealth 66
Towson 45 2nd Half 9:08
Wake Forest 58
Presbyterian 20 2nd Half
Charlotte 24
Chicago State 29 1st Half 0:30
Bradley 31
Northwestern Coll 23 1st Half 0:03
Drake 52
Vanderbilt 12:00 PM
Marquette
Temple 4:00 PM
Howard
Southern Miss 4:00 PM
Ole Miss
UMBC 4:00 PM
Rider
Miami-Florida 5:00 PM
UCLA
St Mary-KS 5:00 PM
South Dakota
William & Mary 5:00 PM
Wofford
Troy 5:30 PM
Evansville
Loyola Marymount 6:00 PM
USC
St Francis-PA 6:00 PM
Duquesne
Indiana-Southeast 6:00 PM
IUPUI
Delaware State 6:00 PM
Detroit
Tenn Temple 6:00 PM
Gardner-Webb
West Virginia St 6:00 PM
Radford
Fairfield 6:00 PM
Seton Hall
Dartmouth 6:00 PM
New Hampshire
Ball State 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 6:00 PM
Tennessee St
Trine 6:00 PM
Western Mich
Tenn Tech 6:30 PM
Lipscomb
Samford 7:00 PM
Tulane
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Ark-Little Rock 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
CS-Northridge 7:30 PM
Northern Ariz
Santa Clara 8:00 PM
Oregon
(19) Oklahoma St 8:00 PM
Weber State
Washington 8:00 PM
San Diego State
Cal Poly 8:00 PM
New Mexico
(10) Louisville 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close