Jeremy Lin has become the hottest new name on the NBA market. However, now that he is away from the New York spotlight and without the pressure that comes with it, the young point guard may be able to excel under more realistic expectations as member of the Houston Rockets.
While a member of the New York Knicks, Lin managed to play in only 35 games before succumbing to injury, causing him to miss the playoffs. During that time, Lin averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists per game. He took the entire world by storm in the span of roughly a week. "Linsanity" was born and the New York media made him out to be to greatest thing since sliced bread.
Now that the New York media is no longer an issue to hype up the young point guard, Lin has an opportunity to reinvent himself and live up to more reasonable expectations. Taking a closer look at Lin's expectations with the Rockets, he is more likely to excel in Houston much more than he did in New York, but ultimately will fall short of expectations.
More Production Opportunities
Let's be honest for a minute here: Jeremy Lin never really stood a chance in New York.
While his surprising run caused quite a shake-up for the Knicks, it was never meant to be. New York went from floundering team to a successful one during Lin's remarkable run. However, once Carmelo Anthony, the proverbial offensive standstill, returned to the lineup, Lin's production gradually declined. He won't have that same problem in Houston.
The Rockets have completely transformed their roster this season. They earned Omer Asik after the Chicago Bulls chose not to match the offer sheet Houston offered, nabbed Jeremy Lamb and Royce White in the June draft, traded away Courtney Lee and Chase Buddinger and, of course, brought in Lin to help run the offense.
Overall, the Rockets have essentially given themselves a young, talented roster to help shape the face of their franchise for years to come. In New York, Lin had to work through Carmelo, often rendering himself handcuffed to whatever Anthony wanted to do. In Houston, Lin won't have that same problem as there is no one big star on the team.
Instead, Lin and co. have a group of players who can grow and learn together, opening the door for all to have great success, and production, in the years to come.
Turnovers Will Still Be a Problem
One of the biggest flaws in Lin's game last season was his turnover margin. Lin averaged nearly four turnovers per game, far too many for someone hoping to play a full-time point guard role.
Because Lin will be the go-to point guard in Houston, and there are no veterans on the roster to help him learn quickly, those turnovers won't go away quickly. It's going to take some time for him feel comfortable in the NBA style of play, much like it does with any young player.
If anything, with the knowledge that he will need to produce at a higher level than with the Knicks, Lin could crumble under the pressure. This pressure has nothing to do with media hype, however, and everything to do with on-court expectations of being the go-to guy.
His Limitations With Shine Through
As I've stated in the past, I strongly believe that Jeremy Lin is overrated. It has nothing to do with race and everything to do with lack of experience and a small sampling of what he can do.
While his run with the Knicks was fun and exciting, it doesn't prove that he should be regarded as one of the best in the league. In fact, I wouldn't go so far as to rank him among the top 20 point guards in the NBA. In 2012-2013, he will his show flashes of brilliance were just that: flashes.
Every dog has his day and eventually they all crash back down to earth. Had it not been for his injury at the end of last season, Lin may have fallen back to normality last season. However, because of the injury, we never got the chance to see him perform in more than those 35 games.
Turnovers and a lack of experience are the two biggest facets that could cause Lin to fail to live up to expectations. Not only that, but in New York, defenses failed to account for Lin because: a.) they had no idea who he was before his remarkable run, and b.) there were bigger fish to fry in Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler. Lin was the fourth option at the most and he played well in that role.
Except, now that he is the man in Houston, defenses can focus primarily on shutting him down without being burnt by one of three different award-winning players. Lin is the highest profile player on the Rockets' roster and will be treated as such throughout the season. Don't expect him to live up to the high expectations being placed upon him.
There's no questioning that Jeremy Lin had a great run last season and is a nice story. However, it's unrealistic to expect him to continue his run into this season. While he could have some more flashes of brilliance, expect Lin to be more hit-and-miss in the 2012-2013 season than home run.