Jeremy Lin: How to Improve Upon Last Season's Success

Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IJuly 6, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 12:  Jeremy Lin #17 of the New York Knicks participates in warm-ups before a game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on March 12, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Yesterday, ESPN reported that New York Knicks upstart point guard and restricted free agent Jeremy Lin had agreed to a backloaded four-year offer sheet with the Houston Rockets. The undrafted Harvard grad would earn $10.2 million over the first two years of the deal, while earning $9.3 million over each of the final two. According to NBC Sports, New York is expected to match the deal despite the impending financial ramifications.

Although Lin has a big paycheck coming his way next season, he still has a lot to learn so that he doesn't become another overrated and overpaid player, of which the NBA has many. He's talented, but there's a lot of room for improvement, and Lin must be committed to it 110 percent.

That not saying that Jeremy Lin is a bad player at all. He was a pleasant surprise for the Knicks and their fans as he took New York City by storm last winter and played an integral role in the team's success down the stretch. If he hadn't needed surgery to repair torn knee cartilage and had actually been available for the playoffs, the Knicks likely would have fared better.

In 35 games, Lin averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists while shooting a respectable 45 percent from the field. However, there was a glaring hole in his game, as he also averaged 3.6 turnovers per contest. In the month of February alone, when he first became a regular starter, he averaged five a game, which is unacceptable if he is to be a starting point man.

That said, Lin's flaws are simple. Watching him last season, it became apparent that he was trying to be a point guard who scores points as well as he dishes out assists, a la Steve Nash and Jason Kidd (in his prime, of course), which is understandable considering how he was playing while Carmelo Anthony was injured and Amar'e Stoudemire was with family in Florida following the death of his brother.

But given his two star teammates, not to mention a new one in future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd, Lin doesn't need to be that type of point man. If he wants to build upon last year's success and keep the Linsanity going, he needs to be more of a guardian of the ball and less a basket deliveryman. That isn't to say that he shouldn't score points at all, but in a Mike Woodson offense, he needs to play tough defense and help get Stoudemire and Anthony the best scoring opportunities.

If he can become a contributor and not so much a put-the-team-on-my-back clutch scoring option, then the Knicks' chances of moving up in the Eastern Conference rankings will skyrocket.

Given Lin's willingness to learn and improve, the odds of him embracing this approach are quite good, and the Knicks will be (should they match the offer) if he can incorporate it into his game.