March 29, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Washington Wizards Cartier Martin (20) brings the ball up court against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeated Washington 93-89. Mandatory credit: Michael Hickey-US PRESSWIRE
After joining the team near the end of the season, Cartier Martin brought a perimeter presence that the Wizards were severely lacking. While only living off 10-day contracts these past two seasons, his shooting puts him in semi-exclusive company. In each of the last two seasons, Martin has shot over 38 percent from three. Only 21 other players have hit that mark in both the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. Considering that the Wizards keep signing him on the cheap, he’s been quite the value play.
With the help of MySynergy Sports, let’s take a look at some of the positives and negatives of his game and his possible future with the team.
Wizards fans already could have guessed that spot-up opportunities make up a huge part of Martin’s offense. The most important part of his job is to make those shots, and he’s done that for the Wizards, hitting 43 percent of his threes in spot-up situations over the past two seasons. Martin isn't among the super-elite shooters (Ray Allen, Kyle Korver, and Steve Novak shoot about 50 percent from three when spotting-up), but he's been reliable.
While Martin’s offensive game is a bit limited, he’s expanded it in a few ways. First, he was actually pretty good when he was forced into taking two-pointers. When the defense closed out on his spot-up threes, Martin was fond of dribbling to his left for a pull-up jumper, despite being right-handed. Martin scored on nine of the 15 times he dribbled to his left for a shot. The video below shows how he’s been effective on these tough shots. It shouldn’t be something to rely on, but defenses will always sacrifice a long two in exchange for a three, and Martin showed some ability to hit those long twos. This effectiveness both inside and outside of the three-point line led to his ranking 13th in the league in points per spot-up possession.
Martin was also very effective coming off screens, averaging 1.18 points per possession. His shots in these situations almost always came from a variation on a play out of the horns set that was discussed earlier in the season. The Wizards frequently used Martin as a screener to get Nene or Kevin Seraphin post position, as shown in this video. But Martin can also pop to the top of the key on these plays to get an open shot. The video below shows how he used the double screen to get open shots.
These aren’t the most challenging of shots, but it is nice that Martin doesn’t have to be completely stationary to hit from the perimeter. He won’t be confused for Kyle Korver or Richard Hamilton, but he’s been able to set his feet in a hurry. Based on his success in limited opportunities, the Wizards could have run a few more plays for Martin instead of giving them to, say, Jordan Crawford. Next year, whether it be Martin or a new perimeter threat, Washington could stand to devote a few more pages in the playbook to getting their three point shooter(s) open.
While Martin’s performance on offense was a pleasant surprise, he was a bit of a liability on the defensive end of the floor. In isolation, he gave up 1.35 points per possession, which is an astronomical number. League average in isolation was approximately 0.8 points per possession. The video below shows some of the better scorers in the league getting to the basket with ease when matched up with Martin.
Although Martin struggled a bit in his few on-ball defensive opportunities, he was willing to sacrifice his body. Martin was among the best wing players at taking charges. He averaged 0.8 charges per 40 minutes, well above the league average of 0.26 for swingmen. His poor on-ball defense probably means that Martin won’t be the next three-and-D specialist, but the video below shows his willingness to take a charge for the team (or for another contract).
Cartier Martin’s consistent shooting, familiarity with the organization, age, and low cost makes him an attractive free-agent option as a bench player for the Wizards. His offensive game is limited, but perhaps not as limited as one would think. The Wizards will likely be pursuing more talented and expensive wing players, yet Martin’s skillset is still unique among the current roster, so he could find minutes next year.
If he signs for the veteran’s minimum (around $900,000) is Martin someone you’d like to see filling out the bench? Do you think the Wizards should go over the minimum to sign him? Let us know what you think in the comments below.