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Season in Review: Jarell Martin finds himself

The forward had some ups and downs but his game was certainly more solid than in his previous two seasons.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Orlando Magic Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Check out previous entries in the Season in Review series here.

Jarell Martin has just completed his third season in the NBA. His first two years were full of inconsistency, including stints in Iowa with the Memphis Grizzlies G (then D)-League team affiliate. He did show some flashes of potential as a member of the Grizzlies but overall his play and his numbers were rather disappointing.

In the 2017-2018 season, Martin had more continuity. He has been healthy for the majority of the time and participated in 73 games. His minutes went up together with his offensive production.

Jarell Martin 2017-2018 stats

Points per game Rebounds Shooting % Three point % Minutes per game Offensive Rating Defensive Rating PER
Points per game Rebounds Shooting % Three point % Minutes per game Offensive Rating Defensive Rating PER
7.7 4.4 44.6 34.7 22.8 101 111 10.5

Jarell Martin’s offseason was full of uncertainty. After a mediocre performance in Las Vegas Summer League, speculation revolved around the possibility to let him go before the start of the 2017-2018 regular season.

Martin had his last opportunity to deliver in the pre-season games. And he did. He looked much more engaged than he had in the past, including an emphatic dunk on Bismack Biyombo. Eventually Wade Baldwin was the one cut by the front office. Not only did Martin earn his roster spot, but he also got his contract extended until 2019.

Due to JaMychal Green’s injury in the first game of the season, Martin took over the power forward duties in the starting lineup. He had some ups and downs and combined some decent and mediocre performances. It was evident that Martin was not a starting caliber player. However, he showed he belongs to the league and that he can potentially be part of the team’s rotation.

One of the main upgrades on Martin’s game this season was his shooting ability. He improved both his mid-range and perimeter touch becoming a much more complete player and a bigger threat to opposing defenses.

Brandon Conner,

That new skill added to Martin’s hallmarks: athleticism and versatility. Those helped him run and finish fast breaks while punishing opponents on the offensive glass. The Grizzlies have become faster and more dynamic on the offensive end and Martin contributed his part. He left some highlights this season, such as the putback dunk against the Phoenix Suns to tie the game with less than a second left in regulation.

Ways to Improve

His defensive ability still leaves to be desired. He fouls a bit too much and suffers against bigger and quicker players. His rebounding numbers need to improve on the defensive end if he wants to be a more effective and solid player. Additionally, his blocking numbers for a power forward should be slightly better.

Season Grade

Nearing the All-Star break and the trade deadline, the Grizzlies decided to sit Tyreke Evans in an effort to deal him to another team. This situation had an effect on Martin’s role. Brooks replaced Evans as a shooting guard and, with Parsons out and Ennis traded, Martin filled in the small forward position in the starting lineup. He went on to play as a three for the rest of the season.

Despite playing out of position, he managed to perform to some extent. It was obvious that he felt a bit uncomfortable running after shooters but he still put on some decent numbers. In one of his best games, he scored 19 points against the Orlando Magic ─one point shy of his career-high.

The Grizzlies shut down Martin for the last games of the season due to an ankle injury. Despite this, he had some substantial playing time this season that helped him develop as a player. His rookie days are way behind him, and the LSU product has become a potentially reliable NBA player. He may not be a starter in the league but Martin can definitely play decent minutes off the bench.

Martin’s contract expires in the summer of 2019 and he is expected to break out next season. The likes of JaMychal Green, Andrew Harrison, Wayne Selden Jr. and Ben McLemore also face a contract year. It will be interesting to see how Martin and the other Grizzlies perform in such circumstances with, hopefully, a fully healthy team.

Final grade: C+