Heat Receive Warning About Playoffs Standout Caleb Martin

Caleb Martin

Getty Caleb Martin of the Miami Heat reacts to a three point basket against the Boston Celtics during the second quarter in game four of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Caleb Martin has been one of the most pleasant surprises for the Miami Heat in the 2023 playoffs.

The 27-year-old small forward averaged 9.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists during the regular season while shooting 35.6% from 3-point range (all stats from ESPN). Throughout 19 postseason games so far, Martin has elevated nearly every facet of his game, scoring 13.5 points and hauling in 5.6 boards per contest, also shooting 44% from downtown and 54.9% from the field.

In the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics, Martin was particularly electric, netting 19.3 points a game. He was the team’s second-leading scorer behind Jimmy Butler, and he became the talk of Twitter after shooting 48.9% from beyond the arc while making over 60% of his shots from the field in that series.

He helped propel the Heat to the Finals, but one Eastern Conference scout told the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson the Heat should proceed with caution when it comes to expecting Martin to be the same guy he has been in the playoffs moving forward, particularly when it comes to paying him again.

Scout on Caleb Martin: Recent Success a ‘Small Sample Size’

Miami inked Martin to a three-year, $20.5 million extension in 2022 (numbers via Spotrac). He’s due just over $6.8 million next season, and he has a player option — which he will very likely exercise — when the 2022-23 season concludes.

So far, Martin is outplaying the heck out of that contract — but one scout isn’t so sure Martin’s stellar play will continue.

“You have to be cautious about drawing conclusions from this small a sample size; there’s such a gap between what he had done and how he played in the Boston series. But he’s gone way up in estimation because he did it on the biggest stage against Boston,” a scout told Jackson about Martin, adding:

“Everyone has seen him and knew he was an excellent defender who can make a shot, but nobody had seen this — a guy who’s a 20 point a game scorer and shooting 50 [percent] on threes. Plus, his self creation ability has really impressed me. He gets to the basket and he finishes. He’s not pigeonholed into being a spot up and catch shooter. He showed he’s a pull up guy, too. He really has becomes a three-level scorer.”

The scout then suggested Martin’s recent run can be attributed at least in part to the Celtics not paying much attention to him defensively.

“He has played out of his mind entering the Finals,” the scout told Jackson. “The question is if it’s something he can maintain at this level or close to it. The fact he has done it at this time of the year is significant. Boston didn’t pay attention to him. He will be on the scouting report more.”

Martin Having Slow Start to Series vs Nuggets

The Heat fell in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, losing to the Denver Nuggets, 104-93. Martin finished with just 3.0 points, four rebounds and a blocked shot, going 1-for-7 from the field in a lackluster shooting performance.

His struggles in Game 1 likely won’t continue, but he remains a top player to watch in the series.

Martin came down with an illness after Game 1 and missed practice as a result. He remains questionable for Game 2, so we’ll see if he makes it onto the court, although he was out on the court a day before the game, which is a good sign.

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