Photo Credit: John Peterson

Drake’s Takes: Adrian Martinez and the NBA Finals

June 03, 2022

This week’s Drake’s Takes discusses recent news regarding Adrian Martinez and the opening game of the NBA Finals.

Adrian Martinez making headlines

A development that has raised my eyebrow this past week is the Adrian Martinez hype train is once again gaining steam.

It already feels like forever since the quarterback last played a snap for Nebraska, although it’s been just six-and-a-half months. In December, he transferred to Kansas State after his four up-and-down years with the Huskers. 

Martinez seems to be fitting in well at his new school. Last week, an interview of his caught some attention when he called the Wildcats the “most talented” squad he’s played on.

“I feel like this is the perfect opportunity for me to finally show I can be all that my potential is,” he said.

Naturally, this prompted responses from many, both within and outside Nebraska, taking it as a shot at the Huskers. While I completely understand, I really don’t think it’s a big deal by any means. 

Those quotes are something you can pretty much expect any athlete to say. Whether the Wildcats even have more offensive talent than the Huskers had in any of the last four years is debatable (you can make a case for most years), but it’s not a totally unreasonable claim given the results we’ve seen. Martinez was hyping up his new team there more than he was taking a shot at his old one.  

The quote about finally showing his potential isn’t all that crazy either. A variety of factors, whether it be lack of offensive help or injury, made it so Martinez was rarely in the best position possible to shine. He expected more from himself through his time at Nebraska, and this is just that mentality carried over. If he didn’t believe this was the perfect opportunity for him, that’d be more worrying. 

Disregarding the Nebraska aspect, though, it seems hopes are rising in Kansas State that Martinez can actually break through to his full potential. By no fault of his own, the quarterback is a preseason hype hall-of-famer at this point. He’s shown just enough through the years for people to still put stock into his improvement.

There are legitimate reasons for this. ESPN’s David Hale had Martinez in the seventh tier of college quarterbacks for the upcoming season, which he titled “You might not have noticed, but they’re pretty good.” 

In that, he points out that Martinez was pressured on 42% of his dropbacks, most in the country, and still averaged 8.6 yards per dropback (fourth best in the nation). As we know, Nebraska’s struggles were not only on him. The offensive line play was bad and the running backs were just okay. 

Kansas State probably provides a more favorable situation as of now, and a fresh start was needed. Whether Martinez will actually find more success or continue to struggle is up in the air, but many will be watching closely. 

NBA Finals

Last night, the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics began.

These weren’t my preferred teams for the championship, but they were most likely the best two teams in the league. The opening game supported that statement, with the back-and-forth thriller ending in a 12-point win on the road for Boston.

The Warriors controlled the first and third quarters, while the Celtics shined in the second and fourth. I personally was in awe watching Steph Curry open the game with 21 points in the first quarter, but Boston did far better against him for the remainder of the contest. 

After the third quarter, I was partly convinced that the game was over and Golden State would win game one. The Warriors scored 38 points in that period, taking a double-digit lead into the fourth with multiple players seemingly unable to miss. 

Then, the last quarter hit, and the Celtic offense exploded while holding the Warriors to just 16 points. Jaylen Brown was an expected part of that charge, ending the game with 24 points, but the true surprise came from Al Horford and Derrick White. 

Horford led the team with 26 points and six 3-pointers, and was the main force of the final surge. White had 21 points, including a deep, heavily contested three. 

I must add here that White went to my high school a few years before I attended. For a school that opened in 2008, producing a key player on an NBA Finals team is pretty cool.  

It’s impressive that Boston took this opening game on the road against a team with far more championship experience. Not to mention that the Celtics’ best player, Jayson Tatum, shot 3-for-17. 

I’m still expecting this series to go at least six games, and probably seven, but Boston is in a great position right now. We’ve got a long series of great basketball ahead of us.

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