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Jeremy Lin Will Become Leader of Houston Rockets' Youth Movement

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 20:  Jeremy Lin #17 of the New York Knicks looks on against the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden on March 20, 2012 in New York City.  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 Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
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Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistJuly 18, 2012

The Knicks allowed Jeremy Lin to walk away from the bright lights of New York City, but that doesn't mean he won't feel any pressure. He will now be expected to lead the way as the Houston Rockets rebuild their roster.

Even though Linsanity took the world by storm for a couple weeks last season, Lin was still fourth in the pecking order with the Knicks when everybody was healthy. Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler were the key pieces.

That certainly won't be the case in Houston. With Luis Scola and Kyle Lowry gone and Kevin Martin coming off his worst season since making a name for himself as a full-time starter, there's a strong chance that Lin turns into the go-to guy.

The Rockets had to understand that before handing him a lucrative offer sheet, and it's a big risk. While Lin did show off a lot of talent during his astonishing run earlier in the year, he only has 25 NBA starts under his belt.

Despite that lack of experience, he immediately becomes the face of the Rockets' youth movement. The team had three first-round picks and won't feature a player over 30 if they decide against bringing back reserve Earl Boykins.

The rookie trio of Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrence Jones gives the Rockets one of the best draft classes, but all of those players will need time to develop before they become major contributors. So, Lin really does become the main man.

It's impossible to know how he will handle that. After all, seven months ago he was an unknown player riding the pine, and now he's expected to carry an entire franchise on his back.

Houston has been one of the teams heavily involved in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes, but there has been limited progress reported on that front recently, which means the Rockets must prepare to move forward with the roster they have in place.

It's a roster with plenty of potential. Yet, Lin will be the most important piece of all, and if he doesn't pan out like the Rockets were hoping when they decided to make an aggressive offer to bring him in, it will be another huge setback.

Since Linsanity erupted, Lin has been up to every challenge thrown his way both on and off the court. But this is an entirely different animal. It will be a test not only of his basketball ability but also his mental strength.

His experience with the Knicks allowed him to become a household name. Now the real test is about to begin.

 

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