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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The Houston Texans have just a couple of practices before their preseason debut. Here are 11 observations from Tuesday’s workout.

1.The offense stunk on Tuesday. It was inconsistent and resembled more of last year’s disappointing performances than any other practices in this training camp.

2. Davis Mills and his receivers had a few miscommunications on Tuesday. Mills sailed a pass to nobody when he and Brandin Cooks weren’t on the same page. There were some other throws to nowhere in the day. It was something that hadn’t been present at all in training camp to this point.

3. There were a few “good coverage” notes on Tuesday. Not to say there was one specific player, but a handful of team-level efforts that led to the note.

4. It wasn’t all wrong from the offense. After a pass to nowhere Davis Mills and the offense bounced back. It was a second down during a team drill and Mills fired a pass to Chris Moore for six yards. Rex Burkhead would pick up a first down on a rush a play later. A non-positive play last year on first down doomed this team. That hopefully won’t be the case for this year’s team.

5. Chad Beebe is going into his fifth season in the NFL, his first with the Texans. The former Vikings pass catcher has flashed a few times in training camp. He has an uphill battle being new to the team but is trying to make himself a factor.

6. Phillip Dorsett had a big catch over the middle. Davis Mills stood back and delivered as the offensive line held up and Dorsett reeled it in for a huge gain. No defenders were around him. It is between Dorsett and Chris Moore for the chance to be the slot wideout opening day. With Dorsett’s return to practice, it is becoming a fun camp battle.

7.Speaking of returns to practice, Tytus Howard was back. Howard has his reps managed and after practice, offensive line coach George Warhop Howard was “getting his wind” back. When Howard was having his reps managed rookie tackle Austin Deculus played at right tackle. Deculus looks much more consistent than minicamp and OTAs.

8. Kenyon Green is still out with an injury. It is getting to a critical time where the time missed might prevent the first-rounder from starting week one. Max Scharping hasn’t looked bad in his chances with the first team. Offensive line coach George Warhop said they believe in Green and his ability and he has been in meetings to stay up to date.

9. Ka’imi Fairbairn was perfect in one of the special team periods. He drilled all five kicks, each further than the last, and was crushing the football.

10. Derek Stingley was very sticky in some early reps on Nico Collins. The third overall pick is so smooth when he is working. Later his coverage forced a throw from the offense that had no chance of being completed.

11. The play of the day was made by Derek Stingley. The offense was about five or six yards out of the end zone needing a touchdown to win. With six seconds left on the clock, any completed pass that wasn’t a touchdown was game over. Davis Mills dropped back a step and fired to Nico Collins who Stingley covered. The rookie kept the second-year player out of the end zone to earn the defense a win. This was one of the better Stingley days and he did a lot of work. At one point, it looked as though he and Rex Burkhead had some words and almost led to an offense and defense scuffle, but it stayed to just some shouting. The rookie shined today.

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