Cody Martin has played well in Batum’s absence
While trading Batum away would certainly further shift Charlotte’s focus to the future, the drop-off in play wouldn’t be significant. After all, Batum has played just 11 minutes all year, and hasn’t scored a point. During his absence, rookie Cody Martin has stepped in and carved out a role for himself. Martin has been far from breathtaking, and he’s not going to generate much buzz (for now), yet he has already come up clutch for the Hornets on multiple occasions this season.
On the year, Martin is playing just under 13 minutes per game, while averaging 3.2 points and 2.6 rebounds per game–not numbers that jump off the stat sheet. Where Martin has made his biggest impact so far this season is on the defensive end. As a team, the Hornets are giving up an average of almost 111 points per 100 possessions. As for Martin, opponents are scoring just 94 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the floor according to NBA.com. By comparison, that’s just ahead of superstars LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Anthony Davis. To add to that point, Martin also ranks sixth in the NBA in charges drawn and just outside the top 40 in both deflections and loose balls recovered per 36 minutes.
Martin’s conventional numbers don’t signify anything special, and those alone would inspire little confidence in the idea of trading Batum in favor of him. However, looking past those traditional stats, more advanced metrics prove just how good he is defensively. And, just to be clear, he isn’t a bad offensive player–he’s shooting just under 46% for the season. If the Hornets do indeed trade Batum at some point this season, Cody Martin will be more than a capable fill-in–he could become an unexpected building block for the future.