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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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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