Jeremy Lin's Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios with the Houston Rockets
Expectations for Lin are high after his breakout performance in New York, and his play this season in Houston could be a peek into how the rest of his career will go.
Here’s a look at what could go right and what could go wrong in Lin’s time with the Rockets.
Best Case: Playoffs
The Rockets came close to making the playoffs the last three seasons, but ultimately fell just short each time and ended up with the last lottery pick in each draft.
Though they’ve been through major remodeling this summer, the Rockets will field a young and talented team that will have time to develop together on the court.
Lin will certainly be among the veteran leaders on a team filled with youth and inexperience. It would say a lot about Lin’s ability to lead if the Rockets can sneak into the playoffs as a result.
Granted, they don’t currently look poised to earn a playoff berth, but only time will tell.
Lin missed last season's playoff run because of injury, so having an opportunity to show what he can do in a series is big.
For a team on which a young player like Lin may step up as a leader, a playoff berth is certainly a best-case scenario.
Best Case: All-Star Appearance
Jeremy Lin’s first season after “Linsanity” will give him an opportunity to establish enough support to earn an appearance in this season’s All-Star Game.
We’ve seen Yao’s success with All-Star votes throughout his career because of support from China, and Lin’s close relationship with Yao could help him achieve the same.
Earning one with his play on the court is always welcome.
To add even more incentive, the game will be played in Houston this year. It wouldn’t be the first time, but not having a home team representative can be embarrassing.
Lin is certainly the best and most likely candidate on this team.
Best-Case Stats: 18 Points Per Game, 6 Assists Per Game
The numbers are modest, but it’s difficult to gauge without knowing how well the team will work together on the floor.
The averages suggest he’ll play solid starter-minutes.
It does contradict with the All-Star scenario, but we’ve seen that All-Star voting can sometimes be a popularity contest—one of Lin’s specialties.
Turnovers will be another stat to watch for Lin. Having more opportunities and more time with the ball in his hands could mean turnovers play a huge role in his overall performance.
This will be his opportunity to show what he can do as the lead point guard for a team.
Worst Case: Injury
Injury was a concern for Lin last year, and one caused him to miss the playoffs.
The Rockets went through their own share of injuries last season when two key pieces in Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin missed a significant amount of time.
Naturally, they’ll keep a keen eye and make sure both free-agent acquisitions Lin and Omer Asik don’t suffer the same fate.
It’ll be interesting to see how Lin holds up in a full season as a starter.
Losing Lin definitely won’t help the Rockets get better.
Worst Case: Lottery
This is the last place the Rockets want to end up.
Or is it? It depends.
If it means they’ll end up with the 14th pick and limited maneuverability, then a majority of the fanbase would rather pass.
While most expect them to finish out of the playoffs, this certainly isn’t the goal for head coach Kevin McHale, Jeremy Lin and the rest of the squad.
Lin is one of the assumed leaders of the team, and any poor performances would reflect on him and the others in some way.
Worst Case: Traded
As unlikely as it sounds right now, general manager Daryl Morey has shown in the past that he’s not afraid to trade anyone on the team. Everyone is an asset.
It’s true that Lin was brought in for the team’s current and future plans, but plans can change on a whim and Lin could become trade bait.
There’s nothing to suggest that will happen at this point.
However, Lin’s last year on his third year deal has a high cap figure and could become attractive for some team that wants an expiring contract to free up money for the following free-agency period.