Debut Saturday

  • Two things stood out regarding new Houston Rocket guard Kevin Martin:
  1. When he dribbles, he looks somewhat like a duck.  It was humorous to watch him waddle down the court while bringing the ball up.
  2. I held my breath every time he drew contact.  He had less meat on his arms than most of the women in the stands.

  • While he struggled, I really liked what I saw.  As has been discussed ad nauseum, his skillset fits this offense perfectly.  For Martin everything comes within the flow – he won’t ever hold the ball and try to go between his legs and take his man off the dribble.  He’s like Chase Budinger in the sense that upon receiving the ball, he will either immediately pass it, or, he will pump fake and drive into the middle.  But what struck me the most are that his drives are controlled.  I hate to go back to Ariza here, but its just so useful for comparison.  When Ariza drives to the basket, he’s so uncoordinated and unskilled, he can’t make himself stop if things go awry – he just continues in, result be damned.  On the other hand, Martin pump fakes, drives in half-way, and if nothing is there, he immediately passes back out.  That fits perfectly.
  • The Houston Rockets looked their best in the 2nd quarter with Kevin Martin, Chase Budinger, and Aaron Brooks on the perimeter, going on a 14-2 run at one point.   I can’t remember the court looking so wide open before at any point all season.
  • This DVD should be sent to Chris Bosh’s home on July 1st: The camera is angled from the right high post.  Up top is Aaron Brooks, coming towards you for the pick&roll.  On the wings wait Kevin Martin and Chase Budinger, ready to launch 3’s at a moment’s notice.  Inside waits the game’s most dominant big man, now because of you, guarded by single coverage.  Friends and family litter the stands.
  • I was extremely disappointed to see that Trevor’s usage has not gone down.  Originally, my plan for this game had been to count the number of times Ariza was allowed to create his own shot.  Unfortunately, this was foiled by two factors: 1) he and Martin rarely shared the court (due to Martin not starting and Ariza’s injury) and 2) I was flipping back and forth between this and the Knick game in the second half.  You see, what should be one of the biggest benefits to this team adding offensive weapons is that it should theoretically force down Ariza’s usage.  If you watched the 4th quarter, you can understand my frustration.  Trevor touched it way too many times, even getting it in the post (where he really has no business), and we lost.  Now naturally, it was just his first game, so it’s not surprising that they weren’t exactly force-feeding Kevin Martin.  What concerns me though is that he can’t really create off the dribble.  In itself, that’s not a big deal – his other skills fit this team perfectly.  The problem is that because he can’t, I fear they will just keep going to Trevor, who for some reason has everyone fooled that he can (!?!?).  If Trevor Ariza has the basketball in his hands, this team won’t ever do anything.

On McGrady

Newsday’s Alan Hahn tweeted before the game that there was a certain buzz at the Garden.  Honestly, the episode was surreal.  The world’s most famous arena exploded upon Tracy’s every touch.  They chanted his name as he rested, conjuring up remembrance of past days when he was our savior.  He was involved in every play, from his pet spots on the left block or the high screen&roll right, and he was delivering in vintage form.  He still looked incredibly slow with little to no burst in the leg.  But with Tracy, the passing and skill level is so high, those limitations can be overcome.  I was very happy for Tracy last night and glad to see him do well.






About the author: Rahat Huq is a lawyer in real life and the founder and editor-in-chief of Red94.net.

in game coverage
  • Stephen

    Bless League Pass. I live in LA and have watched a pretty fair amount of Kings' games last 3 yrs and Martin is very Reggie Miller-esque in making the slightest contact-even none at all-look like he was body-slammed by a prime Ray Lewis.

    Watched the Knicks first last night,and my goodness that's a wretched team.
    Still amazed that the Knicks haven't been buying Firsts the past few yrs,esp 2 yrs ago in a pretty deep draft.

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  • rahat_huq

    you gotta love a guy that does anything to get on base.

  • Snoopy2006

    Stephen – Actually, they have, once. They bought Toney Douglas from the Lakers in last year's draft. But I know what you're saying. That was incredibly late in the 1st round, and I'm sure they could have outbid Portland for their yearly heft of Phoenix's picks. Now with so many other teams struggling, they could pick up some picks in very good position.

    Maybe Dolan doesn't trust Donnie's drafting ability any more (only half-joking).

  • ghost of cassell

    not sure if this was the best game to criticize ariza's usage rate. The rox scored 115 points out there — pretty good production. They lost this one on defense (against a poor offensive team), not on trevor's touches.

  • paolojackson

    Agree with you 100% especially Ariza usage. Hopefully Martin will start against the Magic because Ariza is still jackin shots, especially at inopportune times. He shoots too many 3's but maybe those are the best open shots he can get because his inability to create for himself…

  • rahat_huq

    cassell – sorry, i should have been more clear. i don't think we lost because of trevor. i just found it frustrating that his usage hasn't gone down, even with martin on the floor.

    paolo – completely agreed, though i don't think it will be trevor going to the bench. i think they would bench shane.

  • thirdcoastborn

    McGradys debut wasnt bad, as he played more than seven minutes. The question is can he play those minutes over and over. Martin needs to start and Battier can help the bench. Our defense is inconsistent and if we continue to play this way we may not make the playoffs.

  • derek

    Are you suggesting that the Rockets can afford Ming (max), Martin (close to max), and Bosh (max)? Riiiight.

  • rahat_huq

    1. it's not Ming. it's Yao. unless you're some sort of racist, that should be clear by now.
    2. on chasing a tier 1 free agent – not my words; daryl morey's from the press conference.

  • Guest

    sign and trade. it could happen. unlikely. but could happen.

  • Jake

    1. Before leveling charges of racism, perhaps you should consider that it's perfectly reasonable to think that a player's second listed name is his surname.
    2. Chris Bosh will not be seeing the most dominant big man in the game unless Morey a) invents the time machine or b) trades for Dwight Howard.

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