Charlotte Hornets 2021 Player Preview: Will Cody Martin find his role?

Cody Marin, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Cody Marin, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Cody Martin is starting his third season with the Charlotte Hornets without a clear role in the rotation. In the past two years, head coach James Borrego used him as a swiss knife and defensive specialist for different matchups with mixed results.

Cody Martin is still searching for his role in the NBA and with the Charlotte Hornets, his time with the team could come to an end if he can’t figure it out.

Martin’s rookie campaign was very promising and he showed a great defensive attitude and a good basketball IQ but things slowed down a little bit last season. His problems are much more related to the offensive side where he does not shine in any skill and where his shot did not fall as much as he needed to stay consistently in the rotation.

His not-defined skillset does not help him in getting a solid role with the team and forced Borrego to use him just in particular situations or when the team needed some energy from the bench. One of the greatest examples of his situational usefulness could be the game against the Sacramento Kings from last year.

The Hornets could not stop De’Aaron Fox from melting down their defense and Borrego did call Martin from the bench to try to stop him a little bit: his hustle was really useful to get a very much-needed win.

How important is it for a team to have players like him on the 15-man roster?

Those types of bench players could be very important down the road, especially on an 82-game season. His way to impact games does not need much usage or a precise scheme from the team and this is why it is very easy to use him situationally. You could argue that it is very easy to find much more talented and promising players around the NBA even if we are talking about an end of the rotation player but he seems to be trusted by the organization and the coach and this is the main reason which is fine to still have him with this team.

However, at 26 years old, his development arc could already be on the descending side and the time left is not much. The first element he needs to address is his shooting efficiency from the three-point line. A 25% three-point percentage is not enough for a low usage player to stick in the NBA for a long time.

When talking about this problem he always addressed it as a confidence one and not related to his mechanics. One could argue that his shooting motion is not that fluid but it is even common to see less aesthetical shooters having better results.

Not having a clear role and a not consistent minutes plan is probably playing against his shooting results too but he needs to find his own balance to overcome this.

With Kelly Oubre Jr. coming into this team it will not be easy for Martin to eat some of the bench minutes as a small forward but there could be a different path to find playing time. As we already underlined the problem with the guards’ rotation in other articles, Martin could fit into an unconventional point guard role if both Ish Smith and James Bouknight do not create efficient offense in LaMelo Ball’s absence. This path for a much more defined role is a not-that-probable scenario but you never know how things may pan out.

As of today, his defensive ability is still much needed on this team because the front office did not address the defensive issues that we saw last year if not for the Oubre addition. Perimeter defense is still a key area but Martin needs to clear his offensive game to get the best of the available minutes.

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