Oklahoma City Thunder: Is Kevin Martin a Better Fit Than James Harden?


Kevin Martin may have found his role for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Photo Credit: Arranging Matches, Flickr.com

The Oklahoma City Thunder are still a force to be reckoned with.

They are first in the Northwest Division and a game behind the San Antonio Spurs for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. The Thunder benefited nicely since trading guard James Harden to the Houston Rockets for shooting guard Kevin Martin. The Thunder also sent forwards Daequan Cook, Lazar Hayward and center Cole Aldrich to Houston. They received guard Jeremy Lamb from the Rockets.

Both teams have done well since the trade with Harden emerging as an All-Star and the Rockets maintaining the seventh seed in the Western Conference.

However, Thunder fans should be asking themselves one question: Is Martin a better fit than Harden?

Take a look at Harden’s last year at Oklahoma City and compare it to Martin’s first. Harden averaged 16.8 points and 4.1 rebounds in 63 games with the Thunder. It was his highest total in both for the Thunder.

Martin averages 14.3 points and 2.3 rebounds in 65 games this season. His totals went down as expected; his last year in Houston featured Martin averaging 17.1 points and 2.7 rebounds in 40 games.

James Harden broke out for the Houston Rockets and was better off for it. Photo Credit: Angel Blue, Flickr.com

Comparing Harden’s breakout year with Martin’s is unfair. Harden is scoring 26.3 points per game. Nearly every one of his stats has gone up, demonstrating that Harden is truly experiencing a career season for himself. And he’s only getting better.

Martin is filling in just fine in Harden’s absence. In fact, his stats are slightly higher than Martin’s last year.

The guard shoots 42.3 percent from the 3-point line and 44.7 percent from the field. Martin’s more consistent behind the arc than Harden, but Harden is slightly better from the field, shooting at 45 percent.

However, Martin is a better role player than Harden. Why? Harden was born to break out in the NBA. He wasn’t able to with the tandem of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant on his side. He has a chance to have a great career in Houston. Martin has a chance to have a great career for the Thunder as well, but as a role player. Actually, he’s better in a role than as the main attraction.

James Harden is the better all around player, but Kevin Martin is the better fit in Oklahoma City.