After setting a season high in assists and a career high in points in two conference victories off the bench, should ASU basketball coach Bobby Hurley make Remy Martin’s move to the bench become permanent?
A year removed from earning the Pac-12’s Sixth Man of the Year honors, Arizona State sophomore Remy Martin returned to the spot where he had found so much success a year ago. The bench.
Martin’s transition back to the role of the sixth man was not the sort of benching coaches often hand down to players playing poorly. The conversion was more to take advantage of the sophomore guard’s energizer bunny-like play that created energy off the bench so efficiently a year ago.
During Martin’s Co-Pac-12 Sixth Man of the Year campaign, the then-freshman scored in double figures 20 times, as he finished the season at an average of 9.6 points and 2.9 assists per game.
So, why not try it again?
That’s exactly what Hurley’s action seemed to indicate as Martin came off the bench for a two-game span before Saturday’s loss to Stanford.
Two resounding victories in which both Martin and the Sun Devil offense seemed to benefit.
In the first of the two-game span, it was the sophomore’s passing ability off the bench that sparked ASU’s offense in an 83-61 victory over Colorado. Martin finished the game with a mere two shot attempts as he played the role of facilitator, finishing the game with a season-high eight assists.
During the latter of the two-game stretch, it was once again Martin leading the offense off the bench, but this time it was with his scoring as he set a new career high in the 80-66 victory over California.
Martin finished the game with 24 points and another eight assists while shooting an uber-efficient 9-of-14 from the field, including hitting on five of his seven 3-point attempts.
Given the sophomore’s history of production from the bench combined with his most recent showings, it’s not entirely outlandish to question if Martin’s return to the bench should become permanent.
After returning to the starting lineup, Martin’s hot streak came to a quick end as he finished the 85-71 loss to the Cardinal with eight points and one assist on 3-of-12 shooting from the floor.
While Hurley may dismiss the question of whether the sophomore should begin the game by his side or on the court, it remains a valid question when looking at the statistical splits of Martin’s play.
In Martin’s 10 career starts, all coming this season, the guard is averaging 13.9 points and 3.4 assists while shooting 38.2 percent from the field and 25 percent from beyond the arc. These averages compare to the sophomore’s 36 games off the bench in his career in which he averages 9.4 points and 4.3 assists per game while shooting marks of 36.6 and 29.6, respectively.
When looking at the stats on paper, it seems quite simple – Martin averages more points while starting and about one more assist a game while coming off the bench. While these may seem clear, it’s Martin’s style of play that is the true separating factor.
Like previously mentioned, the six-foot guard plays with a sort of energy that seems to rub off on all of those around him, sparking runs through both his tenacious defense and his flashy play on offense.
This skillset has proven to be effective off the bench as his energy on both sides of the ball is felt from the instant he steps onto the court, evident in the team’s two-game winning streak in which Martin started the game on the bench.
It may be unclear whether Martin’s recent success off of the bench may be a circumstance of conscience or a sense of familiarity for the former Sixth Man of the Year, but one thing remains clear.
Both Martin and the Sun Devils have benefited from having the team’s second-leading scorer coming off of the bench before, and it is an option that should remain open for Hurley and Co. moving forward.