Jeremy Lin: How Linsanity Will Affect Rockets' Other Projected Starters

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2012

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 19: Jeremy Lin of the Houston Rockets speaks to the media as he is introduced during a press conference at Toyota Center on July 19, 2012 in Houston, Texas. Lin has signed a three year $25 million dollar contract with the Houston Rockets.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

When Jeremy Lin signed a three-year, $25.1 million contract with the Houston Rockets this offseason, speculation ran rampant about whether the overnight sensation could live up to his new deal. 

Only one problem with that obsession: Analysts seem focused only on whether the individual craze of Linsanity can continue while all but ignoring young point guard's affect on his teammates.

As the success of Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose should indicate, the days of the distribute-first, defend second and score third point guard are over. It's a far more fluid position where guys with a myriad of skill-sets can succeed.

For his part, Lin is a hybrid between a score first mentality and the drive-and-dish method we see from the Jason Kidds of the world. 

In other words, he needs his teammates as much as they need him. 

How will that style with the projected starters alongside him in Houston? Here's an early look at some predictions at how the Rockets' lineup will fare with Lin as the point guard. 

(Note: These projected starters are based on what I've read and know so far. They are also based on an assumption that each player will play with the Rockets for the entire 2012-13 NBA season.)


Kevin Martin

2011-12 Stats: 17.1 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 2.8 APG, 41.3 FG%, 16.60 PER

Last season, the New York Knicks' best shooting guard on the roster was J.R. Smith. Unfortunately for our projections, Smith and Martin are similar in some ways (love of the three-ball), but so abjectly dissimilar in others (shot selection), that it would be unfair to make a blanket comparison. 

So my projection is based on a hybrid between Lin's affect on Smith (negligible) and as well as his role in the ascendance of spot-up gunner Steve Novak. 

Martin is the Rockets' best shooter in the starting lineup, so expect Lin to feed the 29-year-old guard some beautiful open looks and Martin to bounce back next season. 

2012-13 Projected Stats: 21.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.3 APG, 44.1 FG%, 19.2 PER


Chandler Parsons

2011-12 Stats: 9.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 2.1 APG, 45.2 FG%, 13.33 PER

Even though Parsons was good enough last season to make Chase Budinger expendable this offseason, that doesn't mean he's an especially transcendent starter.

My overarching position is that the second-year forward meshes fine with Lin. Parsons is a solid player with a bunch of tools, but his production simply hasn't caught up yet.

Those who have followed me through the draft process know how high I was on Royce White. Though he's built like a power forward, the Rockets first-rounder has all the necessary skills to step down and play the three spot. 

Expect White to take over the starter job within the first quarter of the season and Parsons to settle into exactly what he is—a nice, complementary player who is best served as a team's seventh or eighth man. 

2012-13 Projected Stats: 7.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 1.7 APG, 44.5 FG%, 14.25 PER


Patrick Patterson

2011-12 Stats: 7.7 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 0.8 APG, 44.0 FG%, 11.58 PER

After a solid rookie campaign that made Patterson look like another draft steal for general manager Daryl Morey, the 23-year-old forward regressed in his second season in the NBA.

Some of that regression was ultimately expected. The 50 percent rate that he shot beyond 10 feet was unsustainable as was the way he made avoiding the paint like the plague (at times) work. 

However, if Patterson wants to sustain a spot anywhere in the Rockets' rotation for the season, he'll have to come out with a strong early-season effort. With White and fellow first-rounder Terrence Jones nipping at his heels for the power forward spot, a bad stretch could spell the end for Patterson.

This may be my riskiest projection yet, but he'll keep the job. Patterson's strong mid-range game fits perfectly with a drive-and-kick point guard and he should get a ton of those shots with Lin in place. 

As long as he knocks those shots down, expect a little renaissance from the former Kentucky Wildcat next season.

2012-13 Projected Stats: 11.5 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.2 APG, 48.5 FG%, 16.8 PER


Omer Asik

2011-12 Stats: 3.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.0 BPG, 50.6 FG%, 13.44 PER

Asik is by far the trickiest player in the Rockets' lineup to project. He has the smallest sample size, having never played more than 14.7 minutes per game in two seasons with the Chicago Bulls.

I've been pretty staunch in my criticism of the contract itself. However, that's not a complete dismissal of Asik as a player.

His counting stats will improve with extended minutes in 2012-13. That's as obvious as saying you'll get more hours of sleep you go to bed earlier and wake up later. 

What matters for Asik will be his effectiveness. Knicks center Tyson Chandler and Lin were perfect matches for each other because of the seven-footer's pick-and-roll ability. 

Asik won't be Chandler. Even in successful instances, you can see that the 26-year-old big struggles with interior ball-handling. His penchant for bringing the ball down below his waist is a "Basketball 101" mistake that could cause a ton of turnovers. 

Regardless, the Rockets acquired Asik to block shots, not take them. If the Turkish center sticks to his lane and isn't forced into uncomfortable situations, he'll fit.

Not a $25.1 million-level fit, but he'll stick in the starting lineup nonetheless. 

2012-13 Projected Stats: 7.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.5 BPG, 46.5 FG%, 15.75 PER


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