A few quick notes to provide context to today's continuing end-of-season coverage...
* In regards to Kevin Martin's reaction to his coach's comments on Wednesday, let it be known that there was no searching for a story taking place. It's always easy for fans to assume we're all a bunch of muckrakers, but there was no "mucking it up," as Theus likes to say, in this case.
Also, after a text message led to a phone call, Martin was adamant that this had nothing to do with Theus' assessment of Ron Artest as the team's best player.
"It's not even about being the best player," Martin said. "That's not even it. Some people will say me, some will say him because that's how it is, but that's not it."
As a footnote, Martin's list of player comparisons to himself was shorter than Theus' in relation to Artest. While the coach invoked the names of Tracy McGrady, Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan in terms of Artest being the closest the Kings have to that type of guy, Martin called himself a "two guard who can score in many ways like a D-Wade (Miami's Dwyane Wade), like a Tracy (McGrady)," and who "takes the (other) team's best defender every night when they're trying to stop you."
* Tom Ziller of Sactownroyalty dug up quite a little nugget regarding Martin's ability to draw fouls as a slasher and hit the long bomb. I had the Elias Sports Bureau verify it for accuracy, just to be extra sure...
This season, Kevin Martin got 9.5 FTAs per game (#5 in the league). He also took 4.4 3PAs per game, and scored on 40.2% of those. That's good diversity. (<-- Understatement.)
How many players have ever averaged at least 9 FTAs per game and shot at least 40% from three (taking at least 1 three per game)? One. Kevin Martin, this season.
How many players have ever averaged at least 8 FTAs per game and shot at least 40% from three (taking at least 1 three per game)? Two. Kevin Martin and Michael Jordan.
And as it turns out, Bee research shows the stat goes a bit further. Forget about free throws attempted: This season, Martin became the first player in NBA history to make at least eight free throws per game while shooting at least 40 percent from three-point range.
* Lastly, any claims that I went soft on the report card will be met with an admission that my standards were drastically lower this season and the marks reflected that. From the front office on down, they were all the benefactors of the downgraded expectations. Let us not forget, it has very quickly gone from a climate in which the fans yearned for the playoffs to a reality in which simply playing hard every night seemed to be enough. - Sam Amick