When the Houston Rockets came to Washington D.C. to play the Wizards last season, the post-game locker room could best be described as chaotic. Ron Artest was holding court in the back of the locker room, a group of reporters were waiting for Tracy McGrady to come out of the shower so they could interview him, and Yao Ming had the biggest crowd of them all with Chinese media, David Aldridge, Michael Wilbon and a host of others waiting to speak with him.
Last night prior to the Wizards/Rockets matchup the scene in the Rockets locker room was anything but chaotic. Yao is still with the team, but was out due to injury, and McGrady and Artest have since left the team. Current players like Aaron Brooks, Trevor Ariza and Chase Budinger watched film and quietly joked with one another, and I was the only journalist/blogger in sight. I took advantage of this serene atmosphere, and struck up a conversation with newly acquired guard Kevin Martin.
After spending his first five and a half seasons with the Sacramento Kings, Martin was traded to the Houston Rockets on February 18th, as part of a three-team deal that also included the New York Knicks. Since the trade he has averaged a robust 23.1 points a game, and he’s given them the scoring punch they have lacked since McGrady’s knee injury last season.
I spoke to Martin about adjusting to his new team on and off the court, his keys to getting out of shooting slumps, and the unique bond between point guard and shooting guard.