DRAFT REACTION

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

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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Justin Verlander will start for the Astros on Friday night. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.

Houston Astros (22-28, third in the AL West) vs. Oakland Athletics (21-31, fourth in the AL West)

Oakland, California; Friday, 9:40 p.m. EDT

PITCHING PROBABLES: Astros: Justin Verlander (2-2, 3.97 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 26 strikeouts); Athletics: Ross Stripling (1-8, 5.19 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 32 strikeouts)

BETMGM SPORTSBOOK: LINE Astros -170, Athletics +142; over/under is 8 1/2 runs

BOTTOM LINE: The Oakland Athletics begin a three-game series at home against the Houston Astros on Friday.

Oakland has a 21-31 record overall and a 12-14 record in home games. The Athletics have hit 65 total home runs to rank third in the AL.

Houston is 22-28 overall and 8-13 in road games. The Astros have a 13-4 record in games when they did not allow a home run.

The teams match up Friday for the fifth time this season. The Astros lead the season series 4-0.

TOP PERFORMERS: Brent Rooker has 11 home runs, 17 walks and 32 RBI while hitting .286 for the Athletics. Max Schuemann is 12-for-35 with a double and two RBI over the past 10 games.

Kyle Tucker leads Houston with 17 home runs while slugging .638. Alex Bregman is 9-for-38 with three home runs and six RBI over the last 10 games.

LAST 10 GAMES: Athletics: 2-8, .225 batting average, 5.25 ERA, outscored by 27 runs

Astros: 7-3, .272 batting average, 3.13 ERA, outscored opponents by 20 runs

INJURIES: Athletics: Esteury Ruiz: 10-Day IL (wrist), Darell Hernaiz: 60-Day IL (ankle), Alex Wood: 15-Day IL (rotator cuff), Paul Blackburn: 15-Day IL (foot), Joseph Boyle: 15-Day IL (back), Freddy Tarnok: 60-Day IL (hip), Luis Medina: 60-Day IL (knee), Sean Newcomb: 60-Day IL (knee), Aledmys Diaz: 60-Day IL (calf), Miguel Andujar: 10-Day IL (knee), Ken Waldichuk: 60-Day IL (elbow), Trevor Gott: 60-Day IL (elbow)

Astros: Oliver Ortega: 60-Day IL (elbow), Bennett Sousa: 60-Day IL (shoulder), Penn Murfee: 60-Day IL (elbow), Luis Garcia: 60-Day IL (elbow), Lance McCullers Jr.: 60-Day IL (elbow), Jose Urquidy: 15-Day IL (forearm), Kendall Graveman: 60-Day IL (elbow)

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