GM Daryl Morey made the cunning call to offer the superstar a three-year, $25.1 million deal in restricted free agency after he took the NBA by storm last season.
Will the investment pay off? Let’s take a look at what we could realistically expect from the young point guard this year.
Stats Worthy of All-Star Selection
Lin is going to make the All-Star team, largely because of the power that fans have to vote on who starts in the game.
The Taiwanese-American superstar has a large and rabid global fanbase, plus his success story transcends the hardwood.
People who hardly follow basketball have at least heard of Lin, and some may find themselves submitting a ballot with his name slotted in the starting PG position.
However, this won’t be as incredulous a selection as Yao Ming was in 2011, when the Chinese center earned the starting center nod in the West despite being injured for the entire season.
Lin will put up a stat line that is worthy of the honor and should be leading the Rockets to a respectable record by the time the All-Star break rolls around.
Speaking of that, let’s make an educated guess as to how Lin’s offensive output will look on paper and how Houston will fare as a team in 2012-13.
Predicted 2012-13 stat line: 21.8 points, 6.9 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 1.8 steals, 3.9 turnovers, 42.5% field-goal shooting, 36% three-point shooting
Lin should have similar numbers to those he put up during his brief but productive stint as the New York Knicks starting point guard.
For that 25-game stretch, the Harvard product averaged 18.2 points, 7.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds, 2.0 steals, 4.7 turnovers and shot 44.5 percent on field goals and 34.3 percent on three-pointers.
Expect those turnover numbers to dip, as he won’t be pressured to feed the ball to Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony in a high-octane offense.
Lin is now the focal point of the Rockets system and will be counted on more to balance his scoring (which will go up) and distribution (which consequently may dip).
Projected Rockets 2012-13 finish: 45 wins, 37 losses
Peg the Rockets for a postseason appearance in 2013.
After finishing just outside of the playoffs for the past three years, H-Town will finally return to the top eight teams in the Western Conference, with Lin forging the path.
This is a young team with little expectations, a great coach and an “us against the world” attitude. The Utah Jazz used that exact method to make a surprise run into the playoffs in 2012, and the Rockets will follow it to get out of the lottery in 2013.
While they won’t make much noise in the playoffs as a No. 8 seed, Lin and the rest of the roster will get some invaluable experience and build hope for 2013-14.
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