DRAFT REACTION

Rockets selected one of the most athletically gifted players in the NBA Draft

The Rockets selected KJ Martin in the second round on Wednesday night. Photo via: KJ Martin/Instagram

Welcome to Houston, Kenyon Martin Jr.

The Houston Rockets selected Kenyon Martin Jr. with the 52nd pick in the second round of the 2020 NBA draft Wednesday night.

Martin graduated from Sierra Canyon School (CA) in 2019 and was originally committed to play college basketball at Vanderbilt. Instead, he elected to play at IMG Academy in preparation for the draft. He was considered an undersized power forward (6-7, 215 pounds) and needed to develop his perimeter shooting.

The decision paid off with the upcoming college basketball season in jeopardy by COVID-19. Martin spent his 2019-2020 season leading the IMG Academy Ascenders to a 29-3 record. He averaged 20 points and eight rebounds per game. Martin showed scouts excellent improvement in his shooting accuracy, as well as adding explosive power moves to the rim.

Although many scouts viewed his length as an issue, Martin has the athleticism and physical assets to grab rebounds and body up most NBA forwards.

Josh Gershon's of 247sports.com prediction of Martin being taken in the second round proved to be correct. He gave Martin an excellent evaluation prior to the draft.

"Extremely athletic post who has shown significant improvement over last year. Somewhat undersized for [power forward] but freak athleticism makes up for it. Strong kid but not maxed out physically. High level rebounder on both ends; many of his points come from the offensive glass. Has decent jumper out to elbow and has improved back to basket game. Could become more consistent perimeter shooter and add to post moves. Has upside as defender due to freakish leaping ability. Will get NBA attention due to absurd physical tools," wrote Gershon.

Basketball runs in the family for the newest Rocket. His father, Kenyon Martin, was the number 1 overall pick in the 2000 draft by the New Jersey Nets and played for 15 seasons in the NBA.

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Houston gets another victory in Anaheim

Astros overpower Angels again as magic number dwindles

Kyle Tucker had 3 of Houston's RBI on Tuesday night, including a two-run homer. Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

After a beatdown of the Angels on Monday in the opener, the Astros entered Tuesday's game looking to replicate that success. Though Los Angeles would put up more of a fight, Houston still used their potent offense to keep the game out of reach.

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 5

Astros' Record: 90-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (8-3)

Losing Pitcher: Packy Naughton (0-3)

Houston's bats keep connecting to back up Urquidy

The Astros picked up on Tuesday's game where they left off on Monday, launching homers to take and extend a lead. A leadoff walk by Carlos Correa in the top of the second set up Kyle Tucker, who drove a two-run shot. Aledmys Diaz was next, making it back-to-back jacks to push the new lead to 3-0.

That gave Jose Urquidy a lead to work with, which came in handy as former Astro Jack Mayfield cut the lead to two runs with a leadoff solo homer in the bottom of the second. Other than that, Urquidy did well through five innings, allowing just two other hits over that span. LA got to him in the sixth, getting two singles to set up a three-run homer to end his night. His final line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 79 P.

The runs keep coming

He would still leave in line for the win, though, as before that bottom of the sixth, the Astros had put up seven more runs across the fifth and sixth. A leadoff walk in the top of the fifth was followed by a two-run homer by Jose Altuve, then later in the frame, an RBI single by Aledmys Diaz made it 7-1. They pushed that to double digits in the sixth, with a leadoff solo shot by Martin Maldonado, a sac fly by Carlos Correa, and an RBI groundout by Kyle Tucker, putting them up 10-1 before the homer allowed by Urquidy cut that to 10-4.

Astros win to reduce magic number again

In the sixth, Cristian Javier took over for Urquidy, finished that inning, and returned for a scoreless seventh. He ran into Shohei Ohtani to lead off the bottom of the eighth and left a fastball in the zone, which Ohtani turned around 445 feet to make it a five-run game. Javier still got through the inning, leaving just the ninth for Houston's second reliever of the night, Josh James. James would get through a scoreless inning, erasing a leadoff walk as the lopsided win paired with an A's loss reduces Houston's magic number to 4.

Up Next: The third of this four-game series will be another 8:38 PM Central start on Wednesday. Janson Junk (0-1, 2.25 ERA) will make his third career start for the Angels, while Luis Garcia (11-7, 3.37 ERA) will have the ball for the Astros.

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