Why Martin For Landry Was A Fair Trade

There have been a lot of complaints on the board recently regarding the Martin-Landry trade.  Really, there are two components to these complaints:

1 – Martin is a far superior player to Landry

2 – Landry is a UFA and could leave after the season

I can do little to address #2 as that will just depend on what trades and signings Petrie can make.  We won’t have a clear answer until the end of summer if not even later.

However, I can address part 1, because as soon as you start taking a more intricate look at the numbers it becomes apparent that Martin and Landry are virtually the same player. 

Take a look at this graph showing Martin’s and Landry’s stats in Houston and Sacramento the last two seasons.  Since both teams have had very similar personnel the last two years, the team structures allow for a relatively accurate comparison.




True Shooting %

% Assisted


Kmart 2011 Houston





Landry 2010 Houston










Kmart 2010 Sacramento





Landry 2011 Sacramento






As you can see in Houston’s offense both players shot identically.  Martin used a few more possessions and Landry created a few more shots for himself.  Overall, Martin was slightly more efficient offensively going by PER, but Landry was probably a slightly better defender.  The extra possessions used by Martin also explain why his raw numbers in Houston look gaudier than Landry’s.

In Sacramento, the shooting percentages and PER are very close again.  The primary difference was Martin burned more possessions, while Landry had to create a lot more shots for himself (or has failed to finish shots set up by others depending upon your perspective).

Of the two though, the Houston comparison strikes me as more pure and telling.  KMart was hurt in Sacramento and the team dynamic completely changed on him from past years.  This year, the rotations coupled with Reke’s injury made our team a disaster early on.  As our team has been improving, Landry’s numbers are starting to get closer to his Houston numbers. 


“But wait, Kevin’s nearly an All Star and Landry is just a great bench player”

Personally, I think both players are suited to a 6th man role for good teams.  They both would provide a great scoring spark off of the bench.  However, reasonable people will disagree with me and argue that Kevin can be so much more than that.  He’s a star.

Really?  He’s a great scorer.  Landry’s equal to be sure.  But let’s take a look at his other numbers:



Assist Rate











Martin SG Rank (out of 32)






Martin Usage Rank (out of 40)







[Note: N/A stats are not available due to issues with sorting in Hoopsdata. The Usage statistic is only available in their Advanced Statistics tab, so I could not bring up the same sample of players for more standard statistics.  No data was purposely omitted to make this argument.]



For a shooting guard, Martin is a horrific passer.  Kevin Martin is an anomaly as a basketball player both in good ways (3s and FTs), but also how many possessions he uses without helping any of his teammates.

Kevin Martin’s Assist rate is 10.07, meaning about 10% of his possessions end in an assist.  To put that in perspective, out of the 32 SGs who have played at least 25 minutes/game this year, KMart ranks 28th.  The only ones below him are Anthony Morrow, Jason Richardson, Brandon Rush and Nick “what’s a pass” Young.

The again, some shooting guards are used differently than others.  So perhaps you think this is a fluke or its just me manipulating the statistics.  After all, maybe he gets so few assists because he uses so many possessions to score.  So instead, let’s take a look at the Top 40 players with the highest usage rates.

Of the Top 40 players, Martin is 30th in assist rate.  He’s the 11th worst on the list, with most of the player below him being PFs and Cs (Dwight Howard, Brook Lopez, Amare Stoudemire) or noted ball hogs (Michael Beasley, Andray Blatche).  In fact, he was dead last out of all guards on the list.

And it’s not even like Martin is careful with his passes, his A/T ratio is the 28th for our SG sample and 35th out of our high usage players.


Martin rebounds about as well as he passes, grabbing about 5.6% of all available rebounds. 

Without context that might not mean much, so looking at the same data sets as before, Marin was the 20th worst rebounder out of all SGs. 

If you look at our high usage sample set he ranks 36th out of 40.  This isn’t completely fair since that lists does include SFs, PFs and Cs who should beat him.  However, it gives some context to the fact that while KMart was better than 10 of these players in Assist Rate, all 10 crushed him in Redound Rate.  100%.  There is not one high usage player who Kevin beat in both Assist and Rebound rate.  However, there were plenty who beat him in both (18 to be exact).


Sadly, there are not many good defensive statistics to measure a player’s performance.  Looking at defensive rating/on-off statistics, the Rockets defense is a point worse with Martin on the floor.  But there are so many team specific variables there, it is really hard to draw any conclusions not specific to the Rockets.  Even if you are anti-KMart, this statistic doesn’t tell you he’s a bad defender, maybe his backup is just a very good defender. 

So we are left with his abysmal steal and block numbers (21 and 23 out of SGs) and our eyes.  All Kings fans complained about KMart’s terrible D when he was here.  Reading the message boards over at Clutch Fans and you’ll find the complaints remain. 

So ultimately, we have a player who is deficient in every major basketball function other than scoring.  This doesn’t render Martin useless.  His scoring prowess is so efficient that he would make a great fit in the right situation, much like Carl Landry.


For a comparison, here are Landry’s ranks:














Landy PF Rank (out of 32)






Landy Usage Rank (out of 41)







I won’t go over Landy’s ranks in as much detail, as they are pretty much what most Kings fans would have guessed.  The only thing I will note is that among PFs he ranks almost identically to how Martin ranked among shooting guards.  Again, they are largely the same player – very efficient scorer, bad at everything else.


“You’re missing the point, Marin is a winner, look at the Rockets record and ours”

I think most people agree that the others players on the roster, experience and coaching also factor into team record.  So let’s take a look at both team’s records last year with Martin and Landry.




Win %

2010 Martin Sacramento




2010 Landry Sacramento








2010 Martin Houston




2010 Landry Houston





As you can see, both teams were actually better with Landry than Martin last year.  In both cases it was pretty incremental, so I’m not using this as evidence that Landry is the better player; however, it also puts Martin’s impact into perspective. 

When you factor in that the Rocket’s are 19-23 with Martin this year (45.23 winning %), you could draw the conclusion that he has had either no impact or a negative overall impact on his teams. 

If I had to guess why that is, I would hypothesize it is because even though he is a very efficient scorer, he is a bit of a one-dimensional player who shoots constantly and doesn’t make his teammates better.  Furthermore, when you look at his porous defense and poor rebounding, you can see that he actually is a negative to his team outside of his ability to create points for himself. 

When you sub another player in for Martin, you can reap benefits in all of the areas Martin is weak in while allowing others to pick up some of the offensive slack. 

Without Martin, the Rockets were able to give more minutes to Trevor Ariza and Kyle Lowry.  With Ariza you got tough defense and good rebounding, while Brooks and Landry were able to increase their scoring.  With Lowry you increased your defense and ball movement.

When Martin left the Kings, Udrih made up 75% of Martin’s offense while using his passing to create higher offensive efficiency for the other Kings.


“No, the Kings should have gotten more for Martin.  All the other teams do”


Ok, for the sake of argument, let’s look at players traded in the last few years making 10+ million who were perceived as someone who could be the 3rd or 4th best option on a good team:

Caron Butler - expirings

Jason RichardsonVince Carter, not sure if the Suns wanted the player or expiring contract

Vince Carter – Courtney Lee and expirings

Gilbert Arenas Rashard Lewis

Mike Bibby - expirings

Al Jefferson 2 first round picks & Koufos

Marcus Camby twice – once for a 2nd round pick and once for expiring contracts

Antwan Jamison – expirings and a 1st round pick, though the Cavs had one of the best records, so when this deal was made it was guaranteed to be a pick in the 20s

Stephen Jackson - expirings

Emeka Okafor Tyson Chandler


There’s no place to sorts for these types of trades, so if anyone knows others I am happy to list them.  However, this list is underwhelming at best.  In the modern NBA, no one gives more than cap relief and maybe a late first round pick for an expensive player who is going to take up 20% of their cap without being one of their top 2 players. 


The Point

While it remains to be seen what Petrie will be able to receive for Landry and what he will do with the 11.5 million and 12.5 million in salary now available to the Kings the next two years, this deal was basically a wash.  Having acquired Cousins and Dalembert in the offseason, you can argue this year’s Kings would be better off with a one dimensional shooter instead of a one dimensional inside scorer.  However, talent for talent this deal appears to be very even with any statistics.  And considering how acrimonious the relationship between Martin and the Kings was becoming, it was a deal that needed to be made. 

I know this year has been frustrating so far.  However, pining for a player who a number of fans bashed while he is on the team isn’t constructive.  I think Martin is a good player and I wish him nothing but the best; however, the Kings did not get ripped off in this trade, they not only got a fairly equal player, but they received what was market value for a player of Martin’s talent and contract size.

It’s time to move on.

(This is a FanPost from a member of the Sactown Royalty community. The views expressed come from the member, and not Sactown Royalty staff.)

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