Analyzing Kenyon Martin Jr.

March 21st, 2020

by Alan Lu

Recently, I decided to take the time to watch 6-6, draft-eligible swingman, Kenyon Martin Jr. play in a high school game last year for Sierra Canyon against Centennial that took place on February 15th, 2019, as I was able to see this with thanks to YouTube via KDOC-TV Los Angeles. He had elected to sit out the season to train for the NBA draft, so there weren’t a whole lot of opportunities to watch him play in a full basketball game. Still, I came away rather impressed with Martin, as he is a very athletic player that possesses the potential to excel on both ends of the floor in the association. Here are my thoughts on how he fared that day, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.

Kenyon Martin Jr. is a very athletic swingman that could be a potential second round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. (Photo: Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)
Kenyon Martin Jr. is a very athletic swingman that could be a potential second round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.                                                                                                                        (Photo: Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Kenyon Martin Jr. is a very athletic, swingman that can often score on off-ball motion plays. He showed a knack for running the floor to score on thunderous dunks on the break, as he can finish many plays powerfully above the rim, and he can throw it down on opponents in traffic. Plus, he also managed to score on a strong, two-handed jam off of a backdoor cut, and he also excelled at scoring on tip shots after crashing the glass to get offensive rebounds. He also isn’t afraid to take on the contact, as he can draw extra free throws on those plays, and he is a good free throw shooter that will often convert on his trips to the foul line.

He didn’t look to score as often on isolation plays, but he is a subtly quick player that has a decent first step off the dribble, and Martin was able to go to his left to score on a baseline floater. While he didn’t take many outside shots, Martin was able to make an open, spot-up three-point shot off of a pick and pop play.

Martin is also an unselfish player that possesses decent playmaking skills. He is a good passer that sees the floor well, as he can pass out of double teams when posting up to set up scores for shooters, he can throw timely passes to cutters, and he also will throw sharp interior passes to find teammates on the break to notch assists. He throws accurate, long outlet passes to get his teammates the ball in transition. He also has very good hands to catch passes, and can set firm screens to help enable his teammates to get open jump shots.

Sometimes though, he can be prone to committing a few turnovers, and he can struggle to handle the ball or make decisions when faced with heavy ball pressure. He got tied up after dribbling from the high post that led to one as he drove right into the help. Another time, he threw a tepid pass after trying to dribble through traffic, as his pass ended up being intercepted by a defender.

Also, Martin is a very good rebounder. He will often crash the glass to get boards on both ends of the court, and he will leap up to haul in tough boards in traffic. He can provide his team with plenty of second chance points off of offensive rebounds, and he will sometimes push the pace after getting defensive boards as well.

He also possesses the physical tools to develop into a solid defender in the association. Martin is an adequate defender that can cover plenty of ground as a roamer on defense. He would often rotate to block shots off of off-ball motion plays, as he possesses very good leaping ability, timing, and instincts. Martin would actively stay in front of his man and contest shots to force misses, and he also helped trap and pressure an opposing ball handler to help force a turnover another time.   On the downside, sometimes he can get beat down court or off the dribble, which can lead his team to commit fouls and allow scores. Another time, he gave up too much space to a shooter, which led him to allow his man to score a long two-point shot.

In general, Kenyon Martin Jr. is an intriguing prospect due to possessing very good athletic gifts, and he also has a penchant for taking smart shots and scoring on off-ball motion plays. He seems to have been a very underrated player in his recruiting class, and he could end up being a good pick for an NBA team in the second round. He will need to take more outside shots, as he will still need to show that he can make long-range shots consistently at higher levels, and he will have to tighten up his handle, but he is a talented player that could project into being a solid role player in the association.

Other Notes:

Current Arizona freshman center, Christian Koloko also played in this game, as he had a stellar showing to help lead Sierra Canyon to get a win over Centennial on this day. He is a very athletic big man that can finish many plays above the rim, and he excelled at catching lob passes to score on alley-oop dunks. He is a strong finisher around the basket, and he also is a very good weak side shot blocker that has solid athleticism, length, and timing to swat many shots. However, he also tended to commit silly turnovers, and he also was prone to picking up fouls in games.

Overall, Koloko may be one of the most athletic big men in college basketball, and while he will need to refine his skill set offensively, he was a good get for Arizona, and he could potentially be a solid pick for an NBA team in the second round in a future draft if he can continue to refine his game and progress as an overall player.

Scotty Pippen Jr. also played for Sierra Canyon, and he also played well in this game. He is a smart, cerebral player that can score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he would throw timely passes to notch assists for his team. He also will chase down balls to get rebounds, would get steals, and he also managed to draw a charge on defense. He may not possess elite physical tools, but he is a skilled playmaker that possesses a high basketball IQ, and he is a talented player that could end up being selected by an NBA team in a future draft.

Duke’s freshman swingman, Cassius Stanley also played for Sierra Canyon, and he also had a good game in his team’s win over Centennial on this day. He is a very athletic player that can score on aggressive drives as well as on hustle plays, and he is a very good shot blocker, especially for his size. On the downside, he struggled to make jumpers, and was prone to committing careless turnovers, as he didn’t always show off great ball handling skills nor pass well. Still, Stanley is a terrific athlete that could project to be a solid defender at the next level, and he had a solid freshman season this past year at Duke. He will need to make more long-range shots consistently and tighten up his handle, but Stanley is a tremendously athletic, high-ceiling prospect that could be a good pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range in the 2020 draft.

Centennial’s guard, D.J. Davis is an agile player that shoots the ball well, as he had a knack for making deep, step-back threes from well-beyond the arc. He is a prolific scorer that can put up points in a hurry, and he has uncanny range on his jump shot. Though he may be undersized and doesn’t possess overwhelming athleticism, he is a subtly quick playmaker that handles the ball well, and he was a good signing by UC Irvine, as he could be an impact player for them next season.