What a difference two weeks can make...
There was Kevin Martin and Reggie Theus in late February, when the buzz around their non-symbiotic ways was growing and an online analysis was even done regarding which guy was the better player in their prime.
Fast forward to mid-March, and Kevin Martin and Reggie Theus in mid-March are in cahoots like never before.
When I spoke with Martin about his recent one-on-one sessions with Reggie, I was surprised when he likened it to the work he'd done with former Kings assistant/Princeton legend Pete Carril. I even joked with him that he shouldn't reference that name lightly because that's rarified air to even loosely put Theus in. He laughed. But more to the point, there was no retraction to the statement.
"I love just knowing that he was a player in the league who can do some things," Martin said. "I just know that he expects a lot out of me. He's trying to get all my potential out....He knows the stage I'm in right now and the stage I'm entering, and how much harder it's going to keep on getting with (opposing defenses) and stuff."
Martin is right. Four years into his career, the learning can't stop. And while no one expects Theus to do individual sessions every day, it's a hugely positive sign for all involved that they have done them recently. This player is the only secured piece of your core group going forward, a 25-year-old who is entering the prime of his playing days, whose coach just so happened to play the same position (albeit with a different style and with far more point guard stints) at a near-Hall of Fame level. It's not rocket science that they can help each other here. It's not even Algebra I.
Whether it's Carril, Martin's personal coach David Thorpe or Theus and the team's coaching staff at large, Martin has the ability to be an absolute sponge of information and grow his game as a result. Among the lessons? The fine art of keeping your defender off-balance.
"I always tell our offensive guys, 'You have to be more aggressive than the defense,'" Theus said. "You have to take the contact to the defense first as an offensive player. Because if you allow the defense to make contact with you, then you are off-balance. But if you get to them first, then you get them off-balance. Offensive players, great offensive players, control the defense. And that's what Kevin will be able to do eventually."
* I'm hoping to catch up with Channing Frye before tipoff tonight to see if he had a good time in Sactown last night. For those who missed it, here's why.
* Greg Oden will be in street clothes as he has been all season when Portland enters Arco Arena tonight, but the notion of the monstrous center actually playing is drawing closer. Why? He practiced yesterday. (P.S. I love the comment under the story from 'TBrown.' That's priceless.)
* We started with Martin, and we'll finish with Martin.
While he currently averages 23.1 points per game, the shooting guard doesn't qualify among the league leaders because of the 17 games he missed with a groin strain. However, if Martin can reach 1,400 total points in the next 19 games then he will be official.
He currently has 1,040 points in all. Barring injury or absence, he'll need to score at a pace of 19 points per game down the stretch to have his numbers be counted. Hypothetically, his average would currently place him at ninth in the league in scoring. - Sam Amick