The Charlotte Hornets made their first move of free agency yesterday when they came to terms on a contract with restricted free agent forward Cody Martin.
Martin, who the Hornets selected with the 36th pick in the 2019 NBA draft, becomes the first second-round pick in franchise history to be resigned after their initial rookie contract. Martin, who will turn 27 before the beginning of next season, now projects to be a key member of the Hornets’ rotation for years to come.
Martin enjoyed the best season of his career in 2021, posting averages of 7.7 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.5 assists, all of which were career highs. He also posted career highs in blocks, steals, field goal percentage, three-point field goal percentage, and free throw percentage. Martin’s eight highest-scoring games of his career all came last season, including his career-best 21-point outing against the San Antonio Spurs.
Martin brings value on the offensive end as a capable shooting threat who does not need the ball in order to be impactful. His 12% usage rate was the lowest amongst Charlotte’s rotational perimeter players, while his 38.4% three-point shooting was the fourth-highest mark amongst those who attempted at least two three-pointers per game. He scored 21.3% of his points off turnovers last season, the highest rate on the roster and the ninth-highest rate in the league amongst qualified players. Martin is also an underrated passer who takes care of the basketball, as reflected by his 2.9 assist-to-turnover ratio, which was the second-best on the team.
Martin also serves as a valuable perimeter defender for a team that tends to struggle in that regard. His 113.8 individual defensive rating was the second-best amongst the Hornets’ perimeter players, while his 1.2 steals per game were third on the team behind LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier, both of whom played substantially more minutes than Martin.
Cody Martin provides stability to a Hornets team in limbo
With Miles Bridges’ qualifying offer being rescinded and his long-term status with the team uncertain, the trio of PJ Washington, Cody Martin, and Jalen McDaniels now represents the three longest-tenured players amongst Charlotte’s rotational pieces (Arnoldas Kulboka would be the longest-tenured player for Charlotte if Miles Bridges is released, but Kulboka has appeared in just two games for Charlotte).
Martin’s contributions not only go beyond the box score, but beyond the court as well. A North Carolina native who played high school basketball just an hour away from Charlotte in Mocksville, North Carolina, Martin is an example of the sort of team-building strategy that the Hornets must utilize to find long-term success.