As the Lopez brothers, Brook and Robin, begin traversing the twilight of their respective NBA careers, a new set of identical twins is starting to make a name for themselves in the league.
While Cody and Caleb Martin are still far from being household names, they have slowly established themselves as valuable role players in their third year in the league. These 26-year-old brothers were teammates on the Charlotte Hornets during their first two years in the NBA and found their identity as savvy yet hard-working defensive-minded wingmen.
The 6’5 Martin twins also showed flashes of an emerging offensive game, most notably an ability to create off the dribble for teammates, and they have now showcased this on a grander scale with their increased playing time this year.
Cody, who was selected 36th overall by Charlotte in the 2019 NBA Draft, has settled into his role as a versatile reserve swingman for the Hornets, averaging 8.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.4 steals in 26 minutes per game this season. Recently, he has ably stepped into the starting line-up in the absence of LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, and several other rotation players due to the league’s health and safety protocols.
Over his last four outings, Cody has worn multiple hats for Charlotte which has led to him playing over 40 minutes per game. He has averaged 16 points, 6.3 rebounds, four assists, and 1.7 steals in those contests and looks unfazed amidst the added responsibility.
His finest moment so far this season came in their most recent win, a 124-123 thriller over the Sacramento Kings, where he hit a clutch three-pointer with 34.2 seconds remaining to give them a two-point lead.
Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox then tied the game with two free throws on the ensuing possession before Cody made a contested reverse lay-up and drew a foul to give them what should have been another two-point advantage.
The lay-up was eventually waived off due to a successful challenge on the foul call by the Kings, but Martin was still awarded two free throws which he split to give them a one-point edge. Sacramento still had 5.5 seconds to work with and as Fox was speeding down the court, Cody was unaware of the Hornets’ foul situation and took a take foul which gave two free throws to the Kings’ star guard.
Fox missed both free throws and saved Cody from what would have been a disastrous way to end an otherwise brilliant evening where he put up 19 points, eight rebounds, five assists, two steals, and three blocks in 42 minutes.
Coincidentally, Caleb has almost simultaneously found his way into a bigger role with his new team, the Miami Heat, in the absence of their All-Star forward Jimmy Butler with a tailbone injury.
After going undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft, he joined his brother on a two-way deal with the Hornets that was eventually converted into a standard contract.
Following two seasons where he had his fair share of opportunities, the Hornets waived Caleb this past offseason and he is currently on a two-way contract with the Heat.
In just his second start with Miami and the sixth of his career, Caleb led the undermanned Heat to a 113-104 victory over the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks who fielded their full complement of stars.
Caleb made nine of his 12 shot attempts, including six of eight three-pointers, en route to tallying 28 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. He has now finished with at least 11 points in five of their last six outings after registering only two double figure scoring games over their prior 17 matches.
He has made a case for a permanent place in the rotation, even when Miami is fully healthy, and he has maximized his golden opportunity to stake his claim for that spot with Butler out. The early season struggles of Duncan Robinson will further boost his cause for more minutes, especially if their trajectories continue to move at their current pace in opposite directions.
What makes the future prospects of these Martin twins even more promising is that the skill set that they possess, coupled with their ability to play the wing positions and even occasionally dabble with point guard duties, is something that the league puts a premium on now more than ever.
Their style of play is reminiscent, to a certain extent, to that of 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala, which means that it is reasonable to expect that they will age gracefully and can continue being effective well into their 30s. Though they do lack Iguodala’s elite athleticism, they have both shown an uncanny feel for the game and instincts that are mostly displayed in their exploits on the defensive end.
The Martin twins are here to stay and it’ll only be a matter of time before the greater population of the league’s fanbase begins to acquaint themselves with them. The way that they play more often than not contributes significantly to winning and it seems like it’s only a matter of time before they end up taking their wares to the postseason.