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Kevin Martin excused from Wednesday practice, will play on Thursday

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Martin's absence from practice, however, makes a point worth discussing: how would the bench score without him?

How strange is it that the first picture of Martin I could find is him dunking?
How strange is it that the first picture of Martin I could find is him dunking?
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Via the esteemed Jerry Zgoda and Kent Youngblood of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Kevin Martin has been excused from the last two days of practice for personal reasons.

However, he is expected to be at shootaround tomorrow and will definitely play in Thursday night's game against the Miami Heat, via Darren Wolfson of KSTP and Timberwolves PR.

So all's well that ends well. However, this seems like a good time to look at how reliant the Wolves' bench currently is on Martin's ability to create points, either by his shot or by getting to the free throw line.

Martin, while accepting his role off the bench just fine, currently leads the Wolves in points per game after his team-high 24 points on Monday night. Martin has scored 19.8% of all points scored by the Wolves this season. Take out the starters, and that number rises to 41.8%. Martin's absence would be absolutely crippling to the Wolves' ability to stay in games while the starters rest.

Now, Zach LaVine, Shabazz Muhammad, Nemanja Bjelica, and even Gorgui Dieng all have the ability to produce points in bunches, but have not yet this season. Martin's ability to produce his own shot without the help of a true point guard has kept that lineup stable, and has masked the still-glaring offensive deficiencies of said lineup with Zach LaVine at point guard.

The flip side of the coin is that if Martin were out, it could force Sam Mitchell to rouse Andre Miller from his seat on the bench, shifting LaVine to the 2 and Muhammad to the 3, and could unlock the currently-restricted scoring ability of the four players above.  If  Martin is traded away to a team that needs his ability to score and shoot from the outside, it could actually benefit the team as a whole. For now, this remains an exercise in possibility.