An Explanation of the value of Houston Rockets guard Kevin Martin with some help from Will Ferrell

Mmmmm…I look good. I mean really good. Hey everyone…come and see how good I look.

Thank you, all, for the warm reception. It is much appreciated. I especially enjoyed the comments. They provided some ideas I had failed to incorporate for one reason or another.

Being my own editor, editing comes to mind (good thing I’m not a Mohel, zing). I felt that my simple post could have ended up at 736 pages if it wasn’t reined in at certain points. There are, obviously, many scenarios in which the Rockets could dupe the Nuggets out of their star. I chose to discuss the one that made the most sense to me, and I should have explained that. Luckily for all of us, we have a little time until season’s beginning, and I’m good for another couple thousand words between now and then.

I feel like I am taking crazy pills! I invented the piano key necktie!

One reader comment, courtesy of Bob Schmidt, lamented the depletion of depth my proposed trade created. Mr. Schmidt suggested, instead, offering Kevin Martin, Jared Jeffries and a draft pick – for Carmelo Anthony. That is a viable trade from a financial perspective. Remember, player salaries are typically the largest impediments to deal making, as they must be within 125% + $100,000. (i.e. Team 34 wants to trade Player H, who makes $1,000,000 to Team 11 for Player V, who makes $1,500,000. Team 34 would have to include another player because the max salary it can take back by trading just Player H is ($1,000,000×1.25) + $100,000 = $1,350,000.)

Kevin Martin, however, is such a valuable asset, I would hate for the Rockets to part ways with him. Obviously, that sentiment reeks of fandumb (a stupid play on words–fandom, but fitting as I have no insider knowledge of the Rockets front office). Because I do not want to get tangled in a web of Labor Theory economics, I am sticking to good, and very arguable, common sense.

Keep these figures in mind: Kevin Martin makes $10,600,005 this upcoming season and $11,519,840 and $12,439,675 in subsequent seasons 2011-12 and 2012-13, respectively.

Martin has averaged over 20 points per game for four straight years and is just now entering his supposed prime at 27 years of age. I am usually not one to put faith in points per game, as Dave Berri has more than proven it is the overhyped statistic in basketball: “Scoring dominates the perceptions of performance but does not capture a player’s contribution to wins.” But, and we are talking Sir Mix A Lot proportions, Martin scores in a most peculiar way. Yes, he shoots the ball like he’s Roseanne Rossannadanna trying to flick a sweat ball off Dr. Joyce Brother’s nose, but that is not the peculiar to which I was referring.

Martin is peculiar in that when he shoots the ball, there is a better chance of him scoring than not. That little facet of his game, one would assume, makes for a great basketball player. Call me crazy.

You’re crazy, man. You’re crazy. I like you, but you’re crazy.

For his career, Martin averages a 59.8% True Shooting Percentage (TSP – “a measure of shooting accuracy that takes into account 2-point field goals, 3-point field goals, and free throws – Among active players, that puts him 4th. This is a relevant statistic as it is one of the best measures of a basketball player’s scoring efficiency. eFG% is the other notable efficiency statistic, but it does not account for free throws (obscure trivia – Mike Dunleavy apparently developed the eFG% metric, and yet, he still signed Baron Davis to a now toxic contract after the 2008 season when Davis shot an eFG% of 48.3% when the league average that year was 49.8%).

If you happen to be a fan of logic, you could argue that Martin is actually second in true shooting percentage (behind the best shooter of all time, Steve Nash) because, of the three gentlemen ahead of him, one is named Dwight Howard (60.3% – 3rd) and another goes by Amare’ Stoudemire (60.6% – 1st). Both are good players but would we call them shooters?

No, we would not, and that answer barely necessitates qualifying. According to, of Stoudemire’s 15.4 shots per game last season, he averaged 10 within 10 feet including 6.7 at the rim. His TSP for the 2009-10 season was 61.2%. Shocking. Howard had an even shorter tether to the paint as 9.4 of his 10.2 shots per game were within 10 feet. His TSP for the same season was 63.0%.Cough, Dunk Inflation, cough.

I’m an IRS agent. Everyone hates me.

Yes, dunking is cool. But cooler than a pull up 17 footer? I mean, I don’t see a bunch of 4th graders dunking in pick-up games. So I think it is safe to assume they all want to be like Kevin Martin.

Last season, Martin played in only 46 games and had a relatively off year as he finished 13th in TSP among shooting guards who played more than 25 minutes per game. And because that does not help my argument as much as the season before that, I am going to give you Martin’s 2008-09 numbers. In that season he played in a much more relevant 51 games, but was not traded half way through the season.

(You might be tempted to think, “But you just gave us Amare’ and Dwight’s numbers from last season. How about some consistency?” Fine, for those of you with the fine toothed comb: Stoudemire – 61.7% TSP, 14.1 shots per game total, 8.7 within 10 feet including 6.2 at the rim; Howard – 60.0% 12.4 total, 11.8 within 10 feet including 6.8 at the rim. Outside of Howard’s three percentage point dip, not that big a difference, and I wish now I had told you to look it up yourself.)

In 2008-09, Kevin Martin took 15.9 shots per game. That is almost two more than Stoudemire and three and a half more than Howard. Those differences are notable because Martin was not dunking 40-50% of his shots. His 15.9 shots per game breakdown to 3.1 at the rim, 1.2 within 10 feet, 1.4 between 10-15 feet, 4.7 between 16-23 feet, and 5.4 3-pointers.

Martin’s 2008-09 TSP was an absurd 60.1%. I use absurd, because almost two-thirds of his shots came from outside 16 feet. As I said before, TSP accounts for free throws which would help explain why Dwight Howard could ever have any type of high shooting percentage. In 2008-09 Howard made 6.5 of his 10.9 attempts from the stripe per game. Stoudemire made 6.1 of 7.3. Kevin Martin made 9 of his 10.3 attempts per game.

I find that interesting because if most of Martin’s shots are long range, how is he getting to the line more frequently than two very active in the post, big men?


Now that we have proven Martin is a scorer, let us recall those 2-comma figures I noted above. Why? Because, not only do the Rockets have one of the most efficient shooters in a game heavily reliant on shooting, they have him at a cost below market value for such a trait. Stoudemire just signed a $100 million contract that will pay him an average of $20 million a year. Dwight Howard made $15.2 million last season after signing an $80 million dollar extension three summers ago. Steve Nash made $10.3 million last year but, much like Jennifer Aniston, he is willing to settle to get a baby…err, ring.

In sum, the Rockets have a player John Hollinger of ESPN labeled a “dark horse threat to lead the league in scoring” before the 2009-10 (granted that was predicated on Martin playing for Sacramento as their number one option) for a price that does not limit the team from acquiring more/larger contracts. Their flexibility remains intact by keeping him rather than trading him.

Dale, you’re not licking dog $***, okay? They’re kids.

So, instead of trading a supremely efficient scorer for a grossly inefficient player, why not be patient and wait for an opportunity to build wisely. If the Nuggets trade their cornerstone then it does not make much sense for them to keep the…patio?…I couldn’t extend that metaphor quite how I wanted. Trading Melo likely signals a reset, leaving superfluous an alternate Denver Nugget.

A plausible trade scenario, I think, would be for the 34 year old point guard, Chauncey Billups.

With 2 years at roughly $13 million per, acquiring Billups is a fairly limited risk, as Hollinger has noted that historically big guards who shoot the 3-ball well hold up longer (see Jason Kidd). He shoots well and has extensive playoff experience. He has played with a slippery two guard before in Rip Hamilton and is a much more capable set up man than either of our potential starters at the point.

To acquire Billups and his $13,150,000, the Rockets could send Aaron Brooks ($2,016,692), Jared Jeffries ($6,883,800) and either Patrick Patterson ($1,823,280) or Jordan Hill ($2,669,520). (Why Aaron Brooks should be traded, regardless.)

In my fantasy leagues, I am always the jerk who sends out semi-ridiculous trades and gets offended when they are rejected. That being said, I am not completely sure that Billups is worth quite as much as I just laid out because the Rockets might be able to get more for those pieces in a different package.

Billups would unquestionably be an upgrade and provide leadership. While he has big game experience, however, I would be more than hesitant if the ball were to end up in his hands with the clock ticking down. I believe strongly that his big game persona is over dramatized, and I would much rather have Yao or Martin taking a game determining shot.

I am leaning toward thinking the Nuggets are not our best trade partner.

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