Newcomer Cartier Martin makes impact in Bulls debut

Newcomer Cartier Martin makes impact in Bulls debut

January 11, 2014, 11:45 pm
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Journeyman swingman Cartier Martin was in uniform for Friday night’s win in Milwaukee, but didn’t see any game action after the team signed him to a 10-day contract earlier in the day.

Saturday evening’s 103-97 victory over the Bobcats at the United Center was a different story, as Martin played 26 minutes and scored 12 points, including 2-for-2 shooting from three-point range.

Before the contest, Martin spoke about what motivated him to sign with Chicago after he was waived by Atlanta.

“I had a couple of options, but this just seemed like the best opportunity,” the Kansas State product explained. “Luol [Deng] leaving, it kind of opened up a lot of guard play and I was familiar with playing with D.J. [Augustin] a little bit, Kirk [Hinrich] as well, so a couple guys. I kind of like the Chicago style of playing, so I felt like it kind of fit my game a little bit. So it seemed like the perfect opportunity.”

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Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau was impressed with Martin’s debut performance.

“I thought Cartier did an unbelievable job for a guy who just came in here yesterday,” the coach explained. “It’s interesting when you find a guy like that, undrafted guy, he has to scratch his way in the league. He’s done that, he always ends up on a roster and whenever we played against him, I always felt like he competed hard and I knew that he would be a good fit. I thought he played well for Atlanta, so I’m glad that we got him. He’ll get better and better. D.J. knows him, so I think that helps.”

The Bulls are the fifth NBA team that the 6-foot-6 wing, best known for his 38.5-percent mark from three-point range, has played for and given his nature as a rugged player, Martin believes he’s in the right place.

“I feel like I’m a hard-nosed guy, good defender. Go out and do whatever’s asked of me, good shooter. Bigger guard, so I can crash the boards. Just hard-nosed, play-hard type of guy, hustle. Get all the loose balls, trash guy,” he said. “[The Bulls are a] hard-nosed team. I know Coach Thibs is very tough on guys here and these guys are a very good defensive team. But at the same time, they need to score the ball as well so I feel like it’s a great fit for me.”

Hinrich, who played with Martin during his stint in Washington, was pleased that they could reunite.

“It’s definitely a good pickup. He’s ultra-professional, he plays very hard, he’s a feet-set knockdown shooter and he’s definitely a good guy to have on our team. We’re definitely happy to have him,” the veteran floor general said. “When I was with him in D.C., he was always one of those guys who was very confident in his game. He’s been bouncing around the league a lot.”

Augustin, who played with Martin in Charlotte when the swingman was called up from the D-League, chimed in: “He’s a great scorer. He can shoot the ball really well. He’s a great player and when I saw that we picked him up, I was happy, not only just because I know him, but because he’s a good player. He’s going to help us out.”

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His former teammates, also weren’t surprised that Martin was able to make a quick adjustment.

“I’ve been helping him out since he got here. Just knowing how Thibs is with being on time for stuff, things like that, just helping him out in those types of situations,” explained Augustin, who joined the team last month. “Coach Thibs, just the way he handles the team, it really doesn’t matter who we have playing that night. We’re going to go out there and play hard, no matter who we have. As long as we play hard and play together, anything can happen.”

Hinrich added: “You try to bring him up to speed as much as possible, but if you play in this league a certain amount of time, you have that experience under your belt, you’ll be able to adapt fairly quickly, I believe.

“A guy like that, a lot of the teams run the same things,” he continued. “NBA sets, for the most part, are NBA sets. You find some teams that are a little bit unconventional, but he’s a veteran in this league and when you’re a guy in his spot, you’ve got to be ready and he’s done a great job, and he’s made a living doing that.”

Martin’s playing time came mostly at the expense of Tony Snell, though the rookie, who went scoreless, starter the contest in place of Jimmy Butler, who sat out due to a left-thigh injury suffered Friday.

“A guy like me just goes out and plays hard, man. Don’t ask questions, do what I’m asked and be ready at all times,” Martin explained. “I’m just now getting here, so hopefully in the next couple of days or so, get familiar with the guys, and I think I should be good and ready.”

“Practice is very important, but at this time of the year, everybody’s pretty much running almost the same thing and all you’ve got to is really just watch a little film, get to know what you need to do and throw yourself other there. You should be ready.”

The veteran proved that point Saturday.