Jeremy Lin: 10 Reasons He Will Never Live Up to Fans' Expectations

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Jeremy Lin: 10 Reasons He Will Never Live Up to Fans' Expectations
Marc Serota/Getty Images

Jeremy Lin upended the basketball world last season and became the newest NBA sensation, setting him up for what should be a fairly large payday now that he's a restricted free agent. 

Assuming that Lin returns to the New York Knicks and continues to fill the starting role, here are 10 reasons why he'll never live up to fans' expectations, even if he will be a solid player in his remaining prime. 

 

ESPN Hype

When the Linsanity craze was gripping the nation, ESPN was at the forefront. You couldn't turn on SportsCenter without being inundated by Jeremy Lin highlights and analysis. 

Lin, despite the fact that he was a young point guard without much experience, was getting Michael Jordan-level coverage. While the exposure was great at first, it quickly got to be too much. 

Fans began to get annoyed with Lin and find reasons to pick him apart, claiming that he was highly overrated and nothing but a flash in the pan. Obviously, this had to be hard on Lin, who had never dealt with so much media hype before. 

Adjusting to being the center of attention is tough and takes a toll on a player. Some are equipped to handle it, while others cave under the excessive eyeballing.


Madison Square Garden Pressure

Outside of Philadelphia and Los Angeles, it's hard to find a group of fans that will turn on their own players with the same ease of the New York Knicks faithful. 

Madison Square Garden is one of the holy spots of basketball, and playing in the mecca of the NBA puts a little more weight on the shoulders of all players involved.

New York City is referred to as "The City That Never Sleeps" for good reason; it doesn't. There's always something going on and the analysis is free-flowing and never-ending.

Everything is scrutinized in NYC, and one misstep can make the sky seem like it's falling.

Sure, Lin may be popular now, but what happens if he goes on a five-game losing streak? 


Weight of a Continent

Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Sticking with the theme of pressure, it has to be difficult to deal with the expectations of an entire continent. As one of the few Asian-American players in NBA history, Jeremy Lin will undoubtedly have the support of most of Asia. 

Much like we saw with Yao Ming, it wouldn't be surprising if Lin was voted in as an All-Star starter for the next decade even if he doesn't deserve a spot.

Having millions of people following your every move must be tough.  


Amar'e Stoudemire

Between his knees' declining health and his advancing age, Amar'e Stoudemire is no longer the player that he used to be. He won't be able to provide Lin with the superstar help for much longer, if at all. 

Unfortunately, his contract isn't declining, and its mammoth nature will prevent the New York Knicks from making any huge free-agent signings for the foreseeable future. 

Stoudemire is still a solid offensive option, but he isn't going to remain elite, and Lin needs all the help he can get to make the Knicks offense an unstoppable machine. 


Carmelo Anthony

While Carmelo Anthony is an unstoppable offensive force, his style of play doesn't really mesh with Lin's. Not at all. 

When Lin is the point guard, he likes to have the ball in his hands so he can drive past people and get into the lane, where he can either finish the play or kick it out to an open teammate. He doesn't generally play off the ball, and when he does, he doesn't do it at nearly the same level. 

Anthony plays similarly in that he always needs the ball. He thrives in isolation situations and tends to be a bit of a black hole on the offensive end of the court. 

Two players that both need the ball can't always coexist. 


Mike Woodson

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

As an Atlanta Hawks fan, I got to witness the offensive genius that is Mike Woodson for a long time.

If there was a sarcasm font, I would have just used it. 

Woodson is a great defensive coach, but he sometimes appears inept when setting up half-court plays, preferring to let his players thrive in one-on-one situations. 

Without structure to the offense, defenders are going to catch on to Lin's tricks faster, and he'll have less success. 


Turnovers

While I maintain that Jeremy Lin's turnover problems are overblown, they do still exist. If he's going to have long-term success as a starting point guard, he must be more careful with the ball.

The bulk of Lin's turnovers come from his playing style. Because he has the ball so often, he can't help but turn it over occasionally. No one is perfect. Moreover, he often drives into the lane and has no place to go, forcing him to cough the ball up to the opposition.

Although the positives outweigh the negatives with Lin, it's hard to give more minutes to a player who can't hold on to the ball consistently.  


Health

At 6'3" and 200 pounds, Jeremy Lin doesn't have the physicality necessary to bang around with the bigger and stronger defenders that The Association can throw at him. 

His playing style dictates that he takes a lot of contact on drives and attempts to finish in traffic, but that also leads to more injuries. While ACL tears are usually fluke injuries, this one might be a telltale sign that Lin will struggle to stay healthy throughout his career. 

I always hesitate to flat-out predict that a player will get injured, but Lin's frame and playing style don't inspire confidence on the health front. 


Small Sample Size

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

When in doubt, my favorite argument to use in any sports debate is the small sample size. It applies here more than ever. 

While we're no longer basing our assessment just off Lin's seven-game domination of the NBA, we still only have 25 starts to work with. Plenty of players have put together similar stretches of greatness and then tailed off. 

I still believe that Lin is a legitimate starter in this league, but it's tough to factually argue that with such a small sample size. There's still a solid chance that he was a flash in the pan, boosted by a situation in which everything worked in his favor. 


Unrealistic Expectations

As you've probably noticed, a lot of the reasons that Lin will never live up to fans' expectations boil down to the fact that the expectations are so high. 

If the expectations were more realistic, he'd actually have a shot at living up to them. Lin has proven doubters wrong before, but it's hard to imagine him ever becoming one of the elite point guards in the league. 

Lin will become an above-average starting point guard, but you're setting yourself up for disappointment if you expect him to maintain his seven-game dominance for an entire season. 

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