The Curious Case of Jeremy Lin and the NBA Future Ahead of Linsanity
(Photo : Reuters) Jeremy Lin
While the Houston Rockets are planning to re-load this offseason, Jeremy Lin also finds the painful reality that he could be traded away anytime.
The Rockets are reportedly looking to shell out some serious money to sign top free-agents guards like Chris Paul or Brandon Jennings - a move that puts Lin in odd position to continue playing in Houston.
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Lin averaged a solid 13.4 points, 6.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game in the first season of his three-year $25 million deal. Though it's a backloaded contract, Lin has suddenly become dispensable mainly because of his poor postseason output and the emergence of Patrick Beverly at the point guard position.
There are also reports circulating about the Rockets waving Lin's contract this offseason to create some room to sign Paul to a max contract. There are also speculations the Rockets will include Lin in a package to land All-Star center Dwight Howard.
In short, there seems no possible future ahead for Lin but out from the Rockets this offseason, a scenario that could deal a huge blow on a player that bobbed out of nowhere and took the entire sporting world by storm just a year ago.
So what exactly went wrong to the Rockets' Lin experiment? It needs just two words to explain it - James Harden.
Yes, Lin came out of last year's training camp still struggling to familiarize Kevin McHale's run-and-gun offense. However, the eccentric nature of Harden to control the ball made things tougher for Lin to create his own plays and be a factor that he was with New York City.
Remember when Lin piled up at least 20 points and seven assists points in five straight games and continued the Linsanity that it was?
The reason behind it was plainly great ball movement with Lin using his incredible court vision to hit open players. When Lin is on the court, there's going to be great floor spacing and offense will be much more efficient. The Knicks had success in running the Linsanity-centered offense for that stretch, but things started to become awry when Carmelo Anthony returned from injury. Melo plugged out the Knicks momentum by playing one-on-one basketball game, and all of a sudden team play was out of the picture. All of a sudden, Linsanity came to its demise.
As for Lin's tenure in Houston, he unfortunately found an alter-ego of Anthony in the person of Harden. Lin could not anymore play his own brand of efficient basketball because Harden held the ball too much in his hands and even assumed Lin's ball handling job. Yes, Harden is helluva ballplayer with an incredible ability to score. However, Lin is a way better point guard in a sense that he always looks to get his teammates involved. Unfortunately, McHale went with the other guy and the rest is history for Lin, who hasn't found his groove since then.
This coming free-agency period, it will be interesting which team Lin will play next. The Los Angeles Lakers sound as an ideal spot for him, allowing him to reunite with Mike D'Antoni and learn under the tutelage of Steve Nash. But until then, it remains unknown what lies ahead of Lin.