Cody Martin – University of Nevada – 6’6 192 – Wing/Forward
The Hornets selected Cody Martin out of the University of Nevada with the 36th pick of the 2019 NBA Draft. Like the majority of the fan base, I was surprised by the pick to say the least. I knew of Martin because of his days at NC State but from everything I was hearing, he was projected to go late second round or even undrafted. Martin is apparently a “draft Twitter” favorite though. Let’s dive in to what he brings to the Hornets.
Martin had a very good senior season on a very talented Nevada team in the Mountain West Conference. He averaged around 12 points a game, with almost five rebounds and five assists, and a little over a steal a game. He shot the ball well too; 50.5% from the field, 35.8% from three, and 76.3% from the line. The advanced stats liked him as well with a 7.6 BPM and .185 WS/40. Martin was just an all-around good player for the Wolfpack last year.
One of the most intriguing aspects of Cody’s game is his passing ability. He ran the offense for Nevada’s last year and only averaged two turnovers a game. As he transitions to the wing position in the NBA, this ability should shine brighter in a lower usage role. Martin is especially adept at passing in transition.
He also makes pretty good reads in the half-court:
I don’t think Martin makes enough advanced reads to run the point but as a wing, but this passing ability will be extremely valuable. In addition, as a former point guard, Martin has the grab and go ability and this paired with his awesome transition passing will bode well for the Hornets as we have awesome transition athletes in Miles Bridges, Malik Monk, and Dwayne Bacon. They’ll definitely be fun to watch.
Martin is the classic dribble, pass, shoot wing that teams really covet in the modern NBA but the biggest question is if he will shoot. The form isn’t bad. Take a look here:
In addition, Martin’s shooting numbers were pretty good, especially off the catch:
The question is if he can extend that range to the NBA line but these numbers give me a lot of optimism that he will be able to. If Martin shoots, he’ll be a valuable player on the offensive end that can make catch and shoot 3s, attack off closeouts (90th percentile this past year in shots around the rim), and make good passing decisions. That’s a quality offensive wing right there.
However, Martin’s defense might be the best thing about him. With his 6-10 wingspan, Marin is really good in the passing lanes:
Martin’s a really good team defender and has some on ball skills that will make him really good in a switching scheme. He’s strong too and should potentially be able to guard 1-3 and some 4s. Cody’s always scanning the court on defense like a ballhawking safety. Watch him work here:
Sometimes his scanning can get him in trouble but overall, he’s a really good defender. The Hornets were 23rd in defensive rating last year so it’s good to see them trying to address that need with a couple good defensive guys in PJ Washington and now Martin.
Cody doesn’t have elite athleticism (he’s probably a little below average-average) and he’s 24. Those are two big reasons why he wasn’t all that highly regarded. Because of his age and athleticism, his upside is probably low-end or spot starter. On the flip side, because of his age, Cody can play in the NBA right now. Especially if we move some guys ahead of him, I think we could see Cody playing rotation minutes by the end of the year. He’s a high IQ guy and should be neutral to positive on both ends of the floor. He is old in NBA prospect terms but that doesn’t mean he still can’t improve. Mainly, I think that improvement can come from shooting NBA 3s consistently.
PJ and Cody aren’t All-Star guys but I like the trend to draft guys that are high IQ and can play on both ends of the floor. Eventually, we’re going to have to swing for the fences to get that All-Star or All-NBA guy but I do like getting complementary guys that’ll fit well with those types of guys especially since we haven’t had any early lottery picks. Cody knows how to play basketball and I think Hornets twitter will come to appreciate him.