“He's definitely a good defender. Sometimes people need another look, just being around guys who are going to compete with ‘em and just be on a good team.”
Don't misunderstand. K-Mart is not Thabo Sefolosha and never will be. Martin is going to get burned and he's going to get lost. But in two weeks, Martin has shown his teammates he's not going to be a defensive liability.
“His defense is solid,” said Scotty Brooks, who admitted he wasn't sure how K-Mart would defend, coming off seasons in hopeless Sacramento and so-so Houston.
“It's not like he's giving up baskets and making it easy for opponents,” Brooks said. “He's making people work. He gets his hands on a lot of balls. His defense is much better than his reputation.”
And frankly, his offense might be, too. Martin's efficiency is in the Harden range, and Harden was world class in offensive efficiency.
Martin now is averaging 17.7 points a game on 50.7 percent shooting, including 53 percent from 3-point territory. Better yet, Martin is getting to the foul line; 40 times in seven games, a 5.7 per-game average. That was a Harden strength, and he averaged 6.0 last season.
The Thunder still misses Harden. The chemistry hasn't been replaced, and who knows if it ever will?
But this much we know already. This basketball team does mighty fine with Martin on the floor.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.