The Houston Rockets need to make a change with Kenyon Martin Jr.
Kenyon Martin Jr. was one of the guys who started getting a lot more attention from Rockets fans late in the season. Its role must change.
The Houston Rockets’ starting forward was set up to fail early in the season. Even a guy like Kenyon Martin Jr. was way too small to succeed in that role, so it should come as no surprise that the defense struggled and Jae’Sean Tate had a very hot and cold season.
Tate started at four for most of the season. It’s led to varying levels of success, but there’s a growing number of people who think KJ should actually start taking over some of Tate’s minutes.
When you look at the numbers and assume that both guys should move to all three if the Rockets get a draft pick, Martin presents a compelling case as the best-suited option for the starting role.
In a direct comparison between Tate and KJ, the latter plans to make the team if he starts with all three.
There are still some free agent moves and the draft that need to happen before we can get a real prediction, but assuming the Rockets find a forward in the draft and are able to take Eric Gordon a few minutes for a young man, Martin looks like a fit.
While playing only a limited role in 2021 and mostly out of position, Martin finished the season shooting .357 from three and saw his two-point percentage increase from .509 in 2020 to .533 in 2021 with just a few fewer attempts.
The catching and shooting potential that Martin brings to the table makes for a major improvement over Tate. Tate has struggled from three for most of the season and held onto the ball a bit too long for an offense that wants to get through guards.
Tate would likely be better at all three, as would Martin, but his struggles with shooting from range don’t inspire much confidence that he’d elevate this unit in 2022 unless he comes off the bench.
Chances are good that both guys will get the chance to play a role that suits them much better as the team hopefully finds and responds to all four, but KJ Martin should definitely see his minutes increase next season as the Rockets will have a better idea of what they have.