When the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets came to terms on their trade this weekend, James Harden was obviously the focal point of that transaction. A reigning Sixth Man of the Year, Olympic gold medalist, and one of the best young players in the league today – Harden is more than worthy of the limelight that he has received over the past few days.
That said, this transaction would not have come together had it not been for the inclusion of Kevin Martin. Jeremy Lamb is a nice prospect, the draft picks sent to Oklahoma City are great, but there is no way the Thunder would have pulled the trigger on this move had they not known that they were getting a moderately reliable scorer in return. Martin may be a one-trick pony – but he is pretty good at that one trick.
For his part, OKC’s new shooting guard pickup seems to understand that he has a role to play on a championship team. And he appears to be willing to play that role for the greater good.
“I’m doing great now,” he told reporters on Monday (via HoopsWorld).
“Coming to an organization and a team that is building a great team with a great supporting cast in the community, I think they just have the right makings for any player to want to come and play for them.”
Martin, of course, has never actually played on a legitimate title contender up to this point.
“I’ve been wanting to play on a team like this for a while, with two other big-time scorers,” Martin said, referring to All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. “I knew I was going to have an opportunity someday. I’m glad it came this soon.”
If Martin stays in his lane, follows the gameplan and does what he’s told, he may be able to replace Harden’s scoring output and shaky defense with more ease than people realize.