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Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Martin is 'Mr. Efficiency'

The Thunder guard is one of the most efficient shooters in the NBA — and that's what Martin wanted to become.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: December 2, 2012

Kevin Martin's most memorable individual performance came on April 1, 2009.

It was a road game against Golden State, the night when Martin, as a member of the Sacramento Kings, joined the 50-point club.

“I only took 22 shots,” Martin says, sounding as if he's still astonished. “That's rare.”

Since the 1985-86 season, there have been 170 occurrences in which players have scored at least 50 points, according to Martin is one of only two players over that span to do so on 22 or fewer shots. Willie Burton once dropped 53 with the Sixers on just 19 shots.

Whenever you hear Martin described as an efficient scorer, that's what writers and broadcasters, coaches and scouts, are speaking of. It's a skill that's every bit as much of a weapon as Martin's sharp-shooting and something that has defined his career over much of the past eight seasons.

“There's a lot of high scoring guys in this league that score 28 points but they'll shoot 25 times to do it,” Martin said. “I never wanted to be that guy. I always wanted to be a (shooting) guard that a point guard loves to play with, that helps them get assists and not just jacking up shots.”

Martin defines efficiency as “making the most of your opportunities when you have the ball.” It largely consists of earning foul shots and making 3-pointers, Martin said.

“If you hit a 3 it takes you one shot to get three points,” he said. “And then at the free throw line, it takes you no shots to get a couple of points. That's just a big part of being efficient.”

Also of utmost importance is shot selection, something Martin considers one of his biggest strengths. He prides himself on being a player who can play within a system yet score in bunches without forcing the issue.

“I never try to take 25-footers or contested 2s,” Martin said, “unless I'm already shooting a high percentage and shooting pretty good in a game.”

Martin is a career 44.3 percent shooter. He's shooting 46.2 percent from the field this season, the third highest clip of his career. Though both outputs are highly respectable for a guard, neither does Martin justice. That's because neither accounts for Martin's superb foul shooting and pinpoint 3-point accuracy. More modern metrics, like effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage, provide more accurate looks at Martin's resourcefulness.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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