It was without a doubt a very disappointing season for Kevin Martin last year – not so much in the box scores, but a serious ankle problem derailed his season from the early stages. But as expected (and scripted), Kevin Martin is doing much better, as is his ankle, in this piece written up by our local superhero Sam Amick.
Yes, Kevin said all the right things (Tom Ziller touched on it) – and he’s working his ass off which is lovely to see, but we’d all like to see that ankle on the court – playing in real time action, not shooting jumpers every day at 6:00 am.
I really like Kevin, not only as a player, but as a person. He’s got a great work ethic, loves the team and the community, and is one of the most elite scorers in the NBA (although unique in his way). But, the ankle has become a concern. With only 50 and 60 games played the past two seasons, mostly due to a variety of ankle injuries (and the re-aggravation), we really do have to start wondering if this will become a serious issue. Anybody who’s ever had a ankle injury, mild or worse, understands the amount of pain involved. It’s without a doubt much better to break your ankle (yes, I just said that) than to severely twist it, as the recovery time from a serious twist is incredibly lengthy. But with that said…
This entire scenario reminds me a lot of the Chris Webber situation after he returned from his catastrophic leg injury. Fans began to question his heart…his desire…his work ethic…and wanted him shipped out of town. I remember the first time I heard the boo’s at Arco, my jaw dropped to the floor. Chris never deserved that. He didn’t deserve the nasty calls on KHTK. He didn’t deserve the trade demands by the fans, and either does Martin. Yes, the injury concerns are there – and they’re scary. He’s our best player, our best asset, and one of the community leaders. He is the face of our franchise, good or bad as that might be. A severe injury to Kevin sets the Kings back a long way, as his quickness is his biggest strength – but to blame him for some weak tendons simply isn’t right and it’s painful to see some fans do so.
I read through a variety of the comments posted by fans in Amick’s article and it was just mind boggling how so many people could be so hypocritical towards Martin. This was the same guy 99% of them viewed as a franchise savior a few months ago – the same guy that people defended when Zach Harper of Cowbell Kingdom simply questioned possible trades involving Martin – the same guy who made Sacramento basketball fun to watch even during rough stretches.
Listen, I’m no fan boy and I understand the questions about trading Martin. No player is untradeable after you’ve won 17 games the past season – even Kevin Martin knows that. If trading Kevin makes us a better team, of course you do it. If you’re really concerned about his ankle, yes, you do explore trade options but to treat him like some King fans are is downright wrong. He’s never done anything but positive things for this franchise and given us a glimmer of hope.
The grass is always greener – a lot greener when you only win 17 games, but the Kings have no place to go but up. The worst is over. With a hopefully healthy Martin, a very talented looking rookie, and two youthful, above average big men the Kings do have some promise. Yes, it’s going to take some time, but time we have.