When Cartier Martin re-signed with the Wizards after his stints in China and the D-League, he was a sight for sore eyes. And no, not because he had somehow managed to get a bajillion tattoos since his last season on the Wizards. The team was changing, and it need something familiar to grasp. In another season that somehow spiraled into unexpected-yet-embarrassingly-familiar territory, Martin became a vital piece to the rotation as the Wizards closed out the year.
Martin honed his two-guard skills before returning to DC, and those improvements definitely showed when he got back. Now the Wizards are pretty deep at the shooting guard position, with Bradley Beal and Jordan Crawford presumably drawing the two spots ahead of Martin in the depth chart. That kind of depth is usually great for any team, but this team this year is trying to fit guys into three defined roles. Martin's not a young guy in whom they've invested a lot of resources (Role 1), and he's not an older guy who brings leadership/veteran savvy/maturity to the team (Role 2). This team needs shooters (Role 3). It has needed shooters for years, but it seems like they're serious about employing some now. I'm not saying there's not a bit of overlap between the categories (ie: I don't think Martin is immature at all), but those roles seem pretty set. If Martin can carve a niche for himself as a shooter, he'll be indispensable. If not, well, then he'll be dispensable.
RELATED: All Community Projections
POSITIVES TO BUILD ON: If Martin wants to get big minutes on this roster--and I think he can do it--he needs to keep his shooting numbers up. He has been around a 38-39% 3-point shooter over the past two seasons, and with a team philosophy that seems oriented around John Wall hitting open shooters, Martin could end up being pretty valuable.
AREAS TO IMPROVE: He's not terribly efficient, and he's not a great free-throw shooter (especially for a guard). Concentrating on playing off the ball and waiting to hit open threes might be a great way to improve his efficiency. If he's emphasizing his outside shooting more and driving to the basket less, his free throw shooting would become less of a liability, should the team need to play him for big minutes.
PROJECTED SPOT IN ROTATION: If he's really a shooting guard, I assume he'll be third behind Beal and Crawford. If he's a small forward, I can see him competing competing against Martell Webster for the second slot behind Trevor Ariza.
OUTLOOK: Martin's a good player. His biggest obstacle is that he plays a position that the Wizards seem to have invested heavily in improving. His minutes could slide, but I think any time he plays will be good for the team. His shooting and ball-handling will definitely come in handy should he play the small forward position in a smaller lineup where outside shooting and spacing will be key. I, for one, am pretty pleased to have him back on the team (even though the Wizards are a bit guard-heavy at the moment), and I know I'm not the only one.
What are your projected statistics for Martin this season? What are your general expectations for him?