Wolves' Martin learned valuable lessons in one season with Thunder

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 1, 2013 - 1:11 PM

The new Timberwolves guard says a “family-type” atmosphere goes a long way.

For Kevin Martin, playing last season for the Oklahoma City Thunder was both an adjustment and an education.

He got to watch Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, close-up. He got to witness what it’s like to spend a season under the spotlight as a part of a team with great expectations. And he brought that education with him to Minnesota when he signed her as a free agent last summer.

“They had a family-type atmosphere in that locker room,” Martin said. “You go in there, and you fit into that family and they accepted you as long as you came in and did your work. It was fun.”

In just his second game with the Timberwolves Martin will get a look at his old team. The Thunder — which got 42 points from Durant in an opening-night victory in Utah Wednesday — will be at Target Center Friday night.

For Martin, it will not be an emotional reunion. He was there just one year. But it brought an opportunity to talk about what his time there taught him. Martin, in his 10th season, has been a steady-scoring starter at shooting guard since his second season in the league. But, traded from Houston to Oklahoma City in the James Hardin deal before last season, he had to adjust to coming off the bench as a reserve on a star-studded team. He also got a look at what it takes to succeed at the highest level.

Martin had been a part of only two playoff teams in his career before last season, in which the Thunder won 60 games; the team’s playoff run was cut short after Westbrook’s knee injury.

He marveled at Durant’s ability to handle the pressure of being an NBA superstar, at how hard Durant and Westbrook worked.

“We’d have an 11 o’clock practice and they’re out there getting a workout in at 8:30,” Martin said. “They get their work in, and they hold everybody else accountable.”

It is a mind-set Martin is trying to help create here.

Martin was signed to give the team a much-needed — and sizable — scoring threat from the shooting guard position. In a season-opening victory over Orlando, he showed signs of both his potential and his toughness.

Martin scored 23 points, but struggled with his shot and his aggressiveness at times. Just 4-for-17 from the field through four quarters, Martin shrugged that off to score seven of his team’s 17 points in overtime in the 120-115 victory.

“That’s what makes you a 20-point scorer in this league,” he said. “You forget about the ones before. But your teammates, they have a lot of faith in you to get ’em over that hump. There are times in the game when things might not be going well for you. But as long as there is time on the clock, there is time to get through it.”

Martin saw that in Durant and the Thunder every night last season. And one he sees could happen here.

“It’s about doing your business every day, bonding together as a team and having those championship aspirations,” Martin said. “It takes a lot of bonding to get to that. It’s not all about talent. It better be both on and off the court to get to the places we want to be.”

Wolves coach Rick Adelman said he thought Martin got a bit tentative when his shots stopped falling Wednesday. But he liked how Martin got past that and became aggressive in the overtime.

Ideally, Martin will give the Wolves another go-to player, both at crunch time and in the locker room.

“The first key for us is establishing that family-type of atmosphere in the locker room,” Martin said. “You don’t let anybody come into the room and try to break it. I think we’re doing a good job of that. But it’s a long process. So we’ll see how it goes.”

 

  • related content

  • Video: Wolves Daily: Next up, OKC

    Friday November 1, 2013

    Jerry Zgoda previews Friday's game against Oklahoma City as the Wolves take on an elite opponent.

  • Williams' time will come, says Adelman

    Friday November 1, 2013

    Wolves coach Rick Adelman had a couple things to say about Derrick Williams. First, the third-year forward will get his...

  • Wolves-Oklahoma City game preview

    Friday November 1, 2013

    7 p.m. vs. Oklahoma City • Target Center • FSN, 830-AMPreview: Two teams coming off difficult opening-night victories meet....

  • Kevin Martin talked with Oklahoma City Thunder superstar and then-teammate Kevin Durant last season.SUE OGROCKI

  • Kevin Martin talked with Oklahoma City Thunder superstar and then-teammate Kevin Durant last season.SUE OGROCKI

  • Kevin Martin drove to the basket as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder last March. Martin took away a lot from his one season with the star-studded Thunder. “It’s about doing your business every day, bonding together as a team and having those championship aspirations,” he said.SUE OGROCKI

  • Kevin Martin hit a layup behind Orlando’s Arron Afflalo during Wednesday’s season opener. Martin scored 23 points.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 5:30 PM
Seattle
Miami 83 FINAL
Boston 75
LA Lakers 80 FINAL
New York 92
Arizona 3 FINAL
Montreal 2
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Nashville 4 3rd Prd 1:43
Pittsburgh 0
Minnesota 2 2nd Prd 9:12
Vancouver 0
Miami-Florida 54 FINAL
Florida State 55
Oakland 96 FINAL
Youngstown St 80
Cincinnati 46 FINAL
East Carolina 50
Michigan 66 FINAL
Michigan State 76
Marist 75 FINAL
Canisius 67
Fordham 77 FINAL
Dayton 101
Manhattan 87 FINAL
Monmouth 76
Quinnipiac 96 2nd OT 0:34
Niagara 99
Utah 65 2nd Half 1:48
USC 38
Connecticut 31 2nd Half 12:57
Houston 43
California 59 2nd Half 13:10
Washington 57
North Dakota St 56 2nd Half 7:50
Western Ill 51
Penn State 65 FINAL
(22) Rutgers 76
(14) Texas 59 FINAL
TCU 64
Coll of Charleston 49 FINAL
Towson 71
Cornell 53 FINAL
Yale 60
Xavier 68 FINAL
Providence 57
Drexel 61 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 44
Stony Brook 60 FINAL
New Hampshire 52
Maine 52 FINAL
Albany 44
Miami-Florida 66 FINAL
Pittsburgh 81
(21) Georgia 72 FINAL
(10) Kentucky 80
Arizona 69 FINAL
Colorado 81
Wake Forest 63 FINAL
(4) Notre Dame 92
Loyola-Chicago 56 FINAL
Illinois State 72
(24) Oklahoma 69 FINAL
West Virginia 78
St Johns 73 FINAL
Seton Hall 78
Delaware 73 FINAL
Hofstra 62
Binghamton 49 FINAL
UMass Lowell 66
Vermont 49 FINAL
Hartford 60
William & Mary 72 FINAL
Northeastern 66
Boston College 60 FINAL
(16) North Carolina 72
Virginia 77 FINAL
Clemson 72
(2) Connecticut 83 FINAL
Temple 49
Arkansas 53 FINAL
Alabama 42
Virginia Tech 71 FINAL
Georgia Tech 79
Kansas 58 FINAL
(3) Baylor 66
Canisius 51 FINAL
Rider 52
Monmouth 52 FINAL
Fairfield 54
Quinnipiac 81 FINAL
Saint Peters 50
Butler 55 FINAL
Creighton 62
Wichita State 61 FINAL
Drake 64
Evansville 52 FINAL
Indiana State 67
(18) Miss State 50 2nd Half 10:43
(6) Tennessee 63
Villanova 32 2nd Half 9:49
DePaul 36
Georgetown 52 2nd Half 11:52
Marquette 54
North Texas 29 2nd Half 12:26
Rice 36
Auburn 31 2nd Half 11:16
(12) Texas A&M 55
(11) Arizona State 40 2nd Half 9:21
Utah 30
Missouri State 36 2nd Half 11:35
Northern Iowa 41
Michigan 51 2nd Half 10:09
(15) Nebraska 45
Minnesota 40 2nd Half 8:01
Northwestern 60
Wisconsin 43 2nd Half 15:13
Illinois 32
Bradley 35 2nd Half 12:37
Southern Ill 44
Florida 14 1st Half 10:59
Vanderbilt 9
(20) Iowa 19 1st Half 12:59
(5) Maryland 11
(1) South Carolina 3:30 PM
Ole Miss
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How should Timberwolves fans greet Kevin Love on Saturday?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close