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2020-21 Hornets season preview: Cody Martin

Cody Martin didn’t put up big stats as a rookie, but he quickly established himself as a defensive stopped and fan favorite.

NBA: Orlando Magic at Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Before we get into this preview of Cody Martin’s 2020-21 season, I first want to give ourselves a special shoutout for not lumping the Martin twins into a single preview. It seems like they’re treated as a single entity with everything that they do, but we at At the Hive are going to recognize them as individuals, but we are going to release these previews on the same day.

Now that that’s out of the way, on to Cody Martin.

The Charlotte Hornets took Cody Martin with the 36th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, much to the surprise of pretty much everyone. The pick earned near universal consternation from Hornets fans, and those feelings were amplified by a string of poor Summer League performances where Martin looked in over his head.

All that changed once the season started though. Cody played sparingly early on, but a string of key hustle plays late in a win over the Golden State Warriors marked a turning point in his season. He became a regular rotation piece for most of the season after that point, and he endeared himself to fans and the team with his nonstop motor.

He finished the season averaging 5.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.0 assists with shooting percentages that weren’t all that great. Even with the modest stat line, the Hornets were 4.2 points per 100 possessions better with Cody on the floor than with him off it according to Cleaning the Glass, which doesn’t factor in garbage time minutes. The Hornets were even better when Cody shared the floor with his brother Caleb, sporting a net rating that was 9.9 points better than what the team managed with both on the bench. He was able to noticeably impact games even without filling up the stat sheet by winning 50/50 balls and making hustle plays all over the floor. That motor isn’t going anywhere.

With Nicolas Batum and Dwayne Bacon out, Cody Martin should hold onto his spot in the rotation going into the 2020-21 season, even after the acquisitions of Gordon Hayward and LaMelo Ball. The presence of Ball should allow Terry Rozier and Devonte’ Graham to play more minutes with bench lineups, which would take pressure off Martin score and let him thrive as a defensive specialist and offensive connector. He’ll play on the wing alongside Malik Monk or his brother Caleb while Miles Bridges mans the four spot in bench lineups. He still probably won’t put up big stats, but he should continue to be a key member of the rotation throughout the season.