The Cartier Martin Effect, Part I

My reformation, glittering o'er my fault,
Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes
Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
I'll so offend, to make offence a skill;
Redeeming time when men think least I will.

It's a little know fact Shakespeare was writing about the D-league and Cartier Martin.  No one who got a man-sized dose of the three ball on Wednesday night doubts the shooter has made offense a skill.  So what if he doesn't have a handle?

Cartier was crashing the boards offensively and getting back out to the three point line afterwards to receive secondary passes.  I like Al Thornton's willingness to own the paint, but the fact of the matter is that perimeter shooting is at a premium, and not every player needs to be able to attack the basket.  Even then, we saw Cartier go to the rim and get fouled on a reverse attempt.

It's not tough to get high on someone when you get force fed a fourth quarter's worth of clutch kool-aid, especially when a guy is already the fan favorite.  I don't think any of us will deny that Cartier has icewater in his veins, and for what it's worth, I want this guy coming off the bench when the Wizards make their run at immortality.

I was thinking about Rook's quotes concerning many of OKC's players coming out of college:

"he is a very smart player who knows his limitations and has no problem fitting in"

"very much just another cog in XXXXXXX offense, not demanding the ball excessively, rarely stopping the flow of the ball movement, executing perfectly in half-court sets, and getting his points in large part thanks to the level of trust that his teammates"

"smart enough to not force the issue"

"high basketball IQ"

"one of the more intelligent players you’ll find"

Hearing that, you can guess who I'm alluding to.  I don't think we need to worry too much about Cartier's basketball IQ (not that he's given us any reason to worry) when his role can be expertly simplified.  Coupled with a great attitude and a willingness to work (thank you, D-league) this is the kind of role player the Wizards need on the team.  I believe in Cartier Martin.

So what role does he fill?  Every team needs the three and D prototype, and when that same guy can fill the energy role how do you say no?  I've been perplexed at Cartier's position in no man's land.  He's not old enough to be considered a true veteran (at least his name never comes up in vet convos), and at 26 he's too long in the tooth to be part of youth movement?  I think at 26 he's primed to be a veteran role player when we're making our run.

What's his upside?  If the stars align and nights like the last are the rule when he gets burn in the fourth quarter, he's a 6th man earning the MLE, or whatever passes for it.  But that's so far in the future it would be irresponsible to speculate, and bloggers never do that.  Since I never can help myself, and things never go perfectly, I'm betting Cartier is second guard off the bench, 8th or 9th man, pulling down 1.5 to 3 million depending on his contract year.

On the surface he's the definition of an expendable player.  But looking a little closer he's clutch, he's developed chemistry with the team, a feel where he should be on the court.  That old saying about a player being worth more to the team he's on is true for that very reason.

I know there's the trade deadline and an entire draft between now and free agency, but the last thing we want is to let our home grown deadeye go the same way we let Dorell Wright and Anthony Morrow slide by.  Since he's earning minutes out on the floor, seizing his opportunity, as it were, that's going to beg the question of what he's worth.  We may as well ask it now.

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