Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/14/13
Given that professional basketball players spend most of their careers singing odes to the prospect of winning championships moving on from an NBA title contender to a youthful team trying to establish itself looks on the face of it like a tough shift. But new Timberwolves shooting guard Kevin Martin sat at the podium at Target Center on Monday introduced in person to the Twin Cities media for the first time since signing in July and repeatedly declared his optimism for the move his new home and the prospects of a team that has built an intriguing core. “I don’t think our goal is just to make the playoffs — that would be a mistake to sit up here and say that’s our ceiling or things like that” Martin said. “This team is built to do more than that. … The foundation has been laid so now it’s our job to work hard every day and establish a family atmosphere in that locker room. … This was a very easy decision for me to come up here to Minnesota.” No doubt the four-year $28 million contract Martin signed also had something to do with the sudden interest in a team that has missed the postseason for the past nine years. But Martin also divulged a little of what it means to have the opportunity to get back to a situation that makes more sense for him as a player. Last season Martin was traded from Houston to Oklahoma City where he was essentially a sixth man for the first time in his career. While a major piece on a Thunder team that made to the Western Conference semifinals — and a team that might have gone much farther had All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook not injured a knee — Martin’s average of 14.0 points per game was his lowest since 2005-06. Getting the chance to be a starting shooting guard once more will enable him to get back to his type of game he said which is one that has conveniently been developed in part by Wolves coach Rick Adelman for whom Martin played in Sacramento and Houston. Martin said his decision to come to Minnesota has only been vindicated by the welcome he has received. Walking around town last week Martin said he was “overwhelmed” by the positive responses of fans approaching him and thanking him for joining the Wolves. When Martin traveled here to officially sign last month Adelman — typically not one to show much emotion — engulfed him in a hug.
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