Published On: Sat, Apr 21st, 2018

Q&A with Kenyon Martin: Finals picks, LeBron's free agency, live TV ambushes

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Kenyon Martin has seen it all over his 15-year NBA career and remains in touch with the game.

The former All-Star is preparing for his second season in the BIG3 as the captain of the reigning champion Trilogy and still keeps tabs on the Association. With the NBA playoffs underway, theScore caught up with Martin on Friday to discuss his thoughts on the postseason, LeBron James‘ upcoming free agency, interview etiquette, and more.

Eastern Conference prediction: LeBron advances to 8th straight Finals

Martin: Until somebody beats LeBron in the playoffs, I’m not reluctant to pick them. It’s just one of those things that he’s proven no matter who he has on the roster, who other teams have on their rosters, he finds a way. I think it might be a little tougher this year than in the past, but I think he has what it takes. He’s proved that he’s going to put the team on his back. Scoring his team’s first 16 points in (Game 2) is unheard of, so good luck Indiana … and everyone else in the East.

Western Conference prediction: Warriors reach 4th consecutive Finals

Martin: Golden State is playing well against a San Antonio team we know is always tough. They’re going through a tough time right now with the passing of coach Gregg Popovich’s wife, Erin. Tough time right now. Once Golden State gets (Stephen Curry) back and healthy (from a knee injury), they’re gonna be scary again.

The West is a little better this year with the way Houston has assembled their roster and the way they’ve played throughout the season. Looking at New Orleans right now, the way they’re playing, they might be a problem, and Oklahoma City if they can figure it out in the West, but Golden State is still the pick until somebody proves they can beat them.

Golden State’s biggest challenger in the West

Martin: I would say Houston because Houston plays a certain way that if they’re making shots, they’re very tough to beat. They have two guys in Chris Paul and James (Harden) that make it challenging for defenses because they shoot the ball well and distribute the ball so you have to pick your poison with them. They did a really good job of putting the bench together, I like Gerald Green, but I think the glue to their team is (Clint) Capela. As he goes, they go.”

Why the Warriors will win the championship

Martin: I don’t think Cleveland players can play enough defense against that Golden State team. They can get away with it in the East because teams don’t have a lot of firepower. Once Golden State is clicking, they’re clicking. And they defend. They’re one of the better defensive teams in the league, and they pass the ball and they share the ball, and that’s a tall task for any team.

Why LeBron should stay with the Cavaliers

Martin: I don’t see why he would leave. It’s just one of those things. I don’t see why he would leave at this point in his 15-year career. You have everything laid out for you there. But I’m not there, I’m not in the intertwining of what’s going on behind closed doors in Cleveland, so there might be a lot going on that I don’t know about, and he might not wanna stay, but he has everything going on there. He can do whatever he pleases. The organization does whatever you ask of them, but that’s just my opinion.

Reporters breaking news of Erin Popovich’s death to players on live TV

Martin: You don’t do that. Yeah, you don’t do that. You gotta let guys get their thoughts together because you don’t know the relationships. It definitely caught LeBron off guard. I was watching that one live, it definitely caught him off guard. Guys have to get their thoughts together on situations like that.

The media thrives on that kind of stuff. The shock value of situations like that. It’s unfortunate. Somebody told her to ask that question.

If he can envision himself in a media role, such as a basketball analyst

Martin: Yeah, because I know the game well, and I can articulate.

Prevalence of cannabis use when he played in the NBA from 2000-2015

Martin: I think 85 percent of the NBA was smoking weed when I was playing in the early- and mid-2000s.

Favorite teammate of all time

Martin: I would say Marcus Camby and Chauncey Billups, equally. I like the way they approach life, how much they care about other people and the game of basketball, just being around them and seeing how they are. They’re great people first and foremost, and helluva basketball players as well.

On being the first retired player to be hit with Lil B’s Based God Curse

Martin: Like I said, “Who’s he?” He’s irrelevant.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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