There were times late last season and into the offseason where Cody Martin’s roster spot with the Charlotte Hornets wasn’t certain. He was never likely to be cut, but it also wasn’t outside the realm of possibility. After a strong rookie season during which Cody Martin solidified himself as a quintessential glue guy, he regressed as a sophomore. The same offensive woes that mired his rookie season continued to plague him, but the defense and hustle plays that were a staple of his rookie season became a little fewer and further between. Perhaps the Hornets could find better wing options elsewhere.
The offseason has since come and gone, and Martin’s place on the roster is a virtual certainty at this point. There are more obvious candidates for the chopping block, and Martin has even started the last couple of games with Gordon Hayward out. James Borrego clearly values what he brings to the court.
We can expect Martin to bring defensive intensity and hustle every minute he’s on the floor. No matter what happens on offense, he’ll be a huge plus on the defensive end, both on and off the ball. No one pokes away more crossover dribbles or is more willing to step in and take a charge. On offense, he’s an adequate ball handler—he won’t create much offense for himself, but he’s a strong passer for his position. He knows what his role is, which accentuates his strengths and hides his weaknesses to an extent on the offensive end of the floor.
His swing skill at this point in his career is his outside shot. Last season, Martin connected on 27.6% of his 3-point attempts, which was actually an improvement over his rookie season. He’s offered some glimmers of hope in the preseason that the 3-pointer may yet come to him. He’s hit 4-of-7 3-point attempts (which is obviously an unusably small sample size), but more encouraging than the percentage is Martin’s willingness to let it fly from deep. He’s attempted about 3.5 3-point attempts per 36 minutes this preseason, a respectable uptick from his career average of 2.8. He’s confidently pulled the trigger when he’s caught the ball in rhythm and hasn’t really passed up any noticeably open looks. That’s what the Hornets need him to do.
If Martin proves to be a respectable open shooter, he’ll be the perfect depth wing for this Hornets team that is always looking for defensive stoppers. He’ll probably struggle to get consistent minutes on a healthy Hornets team with Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward, and Kelly Oubre soaking up the bulk of the guard and wing minutes and rookie James Bouknight poised to siphon many of the rest. Still, he knows what his role is and plays it well, and that’s exactly what any team needs out of its depth.