Moments after the Wizards' Thursday night, split-squad scrimmage restarted following a mid-session break, Cartier Martin drained a 3-pointer from the wing. Another trip or two down the court later, the 6-foot-7 swingman splashed one in from the deep left corner. Moments later and back beyond the arc, another successful 3-ball splash.
Watching Martin knock down shots from long range is not a stunner, seeing as his 38.7 percentage from distance last season led the Wizards. The shocker is simply seeing the perennial late season signee with the team at this stage of the campaign.
"It feels good, it feels really good to start from the beginning, get a feel for the whole system from the beginning," said Martin during Monday's Media Day. "This is basically a dream come true for me."
The four-year veteran's NBA experience includes three total stints with the Wizards. As Washington looked to fill in an injury-depleted roster over the final weeks of last season, Martin averaged 9.3 points in 17 games. Needing perimeter help, Washington resigned the former Kansas State star this offseason.
Following Thursday's shooting display, Wizards coach Randy Wittman said of Martin, "It's always tough bringing someone in in March and getting them to fit in. He's comfortable obviously because he was with was us at the end of last year and he's doing a nice job."
Armed with a consistent touch from long range enhances the 27-year-old Texan's comfort level on the court.
"As a shooter, I'm always confident," Martin said after Thursday's practice. "Earlier, a couple hadn't been going down for me, but the main thing for me is to keep shooting and trust in my shot. These guys have confidence in me that I can shoot the ball, and I go out there and shoot it."
Part of the battle for small forward minutes behind presumed starter Trevor Ariza, Martin's versatility extends into the backcourt and with his ability to defend a variety of wing players. After years of living as a professional basketball-playing vagabond with stops in China, Turkey, two additional NBA cities and elsewhere, Martin used the knowledge that he had a place to call home to his advantage during the offseason.
"You know exactly what you need to work on once you know the program where you're going too. I talked with the coaches, I knew what they wanted me to work on, I worked on those things to get myself better and to be a better player for the Wizards."
Martin ticked off a laundry list of items he's been practicing, including "working off the dribble pick-and-rolls...Catching and shooting is one of the things I'm doing well right now. I'm working on one-dribble, two-dribble pull-ups, and just getting into my scene and finding open shots."
Wittman has repeatedly emphasized the competition for minutes in this camp and how the players will ultimately determine their lot in the team's rotation.
"Hey, I'm confident that they'll use me in the best way to be able to help us win games," Martin said. "So whatever they ask me, I'm a team player, I'm going to go out there and play my role."
At least this time, Martin will play the role, any role, from the start.