The Kings finally have an untouchable player.
For the first time since before Bibby's contract and before Webber's knee, the Kings have a player that would take a ridiculous offer to pry away from Geoff Petrie's grasp.
He's not absolutely untradeable - but it would take a significant offer to get him. Very significant. And in most cases that I play out in my head, I wouldn't offer him up.
It's not Brad Miller. It's not Ron Artest. It's not Mike Bibby.
It's Kevin Martin.
Speedracer's rather quietly having an absolutely tremendous season. Some arguments:
- As of today, he is sixth in the entire league in true shooting percentage, a value-based measure of shooting efficiency that weighs in free throws and three-pointers. Above him are underused Pacer Austin Croshere, MVP candidate Chauncey Billups, infrequent shooter Josh Childress, chronically open Andre Iguodala and reigning MVP and All-Star starter Steve Nash. That's it.
- Of the top 10 players in TS%, Martin has the third highest free throws made per field goal attempted figure. That means he gets to the line a lot. Above him are Richard Jefferson (0.50 FTM/FGA) and Billups (0.47 FTM/FGA). Martin is at 0.43 FTM/FGA, which is the ninth in the league overall.
- This season, Kevin scored 20+ points eight times. Peja Stojakovic, who averaged 37 minutes a game in 31 contests with the Kings, scored 20+ in eight games. Granted, Kevin has played 42 games. But he's only played 25+ minutes in 17 of those games. Peja played 25+ minutes in 30 of his 31 games.
- He's shooting a ridiculous 52% from the field and 50% from three against teams that are above .500. Both marks are substantially better than in games against sub-.500 teams.
And sadly, he makes Bonzi Wells expendable. I love what Bonzi's done with his hustle and rebounding and fearlessness in big moments. I absolutely love it. But the guy turns the ball over a lot. And he's not a great shooter. And he takes a lot of shots. And he's relatively expensive.
And now, he's redundant. He wasn't when the Kings traded for him - he was the team's only low-post starter. Then, Petrie signed Shareef Abdur-Rahim. Two low-post threats are good, though it starts to change the complexion of the team. Then, you swap a shooter for Ron Artest, another low-poster. That puts too many cooks down low. And all things considered (price, efficiency, defensive value), Bonzi is low-post guy you can do without.
A starting lineup of Bibby/Martin/Artest/Abdur-Rahim/Miller going into next season looks better than OK to me. Hell, it looks fine to me as of the day Bonzi's groin is able to be traded.
Again, I love what Bonzi's done here. But we have a replacement for that energy, and I'm sure we can pick up some of the rebounding slack. But we absolutely have to keep another shooter in the lineup to complement our new low-post identity.
We have one of the best shooters in the league, ready to go. Let's give him a full-time chance to start.