Jeremy Lin: Comparing New Rockets Star to Past Point Guards in Team History

Nicholas GossCorrespondent ISeptember 23, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 11:  NBA player Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks accepts the Best Breakthrough Athlete award onstage during the 2012 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Jeremy Lin has the opportunity to become one of the best point guards in Houston Rockets history, but it won't be an easy challenge.

The Rockets have been fortunate to have some talented point guards in their history, which has helped them enjoy a lot of playoff success since the start of the 1980s.

Let's compare Lin to some of the best point guards in Rockets history.

 

Robert Reid, 1978-1988

Reid was a very good point guard for the Rockets throughout most of the 1980s. He was a key part of the team's run to the 1986 NBA Finals, when the Rockets defeated the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers before losing to the Boston Celtics in six games.

Reid was a better defender than Lin, and he had much more size at 6'8" and about 205 pounds. He was also a more impressive leader. However, Lin is the better scorer, and Reid didn't have the same ability to drive to the basket.

If Lin can hit important late-game shots like Reid often did during his Rockets career, he will be a success in Houston.

 

Kenny Smith, 1991-1996

Although he was never a superstar player, or even one of the top five point guards in the game during his time in Houston, Kenny Smith was one player who could be relied on in high-pressure moments. He hit many clutch shots in the playoffs, especially during the 1994 and 1995 championship-winning seasons for the Rockets.

Smith was also one of the best three-point shooters of his day, and he was much better from the free-throw line.

Right now, Lin is not the scoring talent Smith was, but he is a much better playmaker. He's a better passer, and he runs the pick-n-roll better than Smith did.

 

Steve Francis, 2000-2004, 2008

"Stevie Franchise" was the second pick in the 1999 NBA draft by the Vancouver Grizzlies before being traded to the Houston Rockets before the 1999-00 season.

Francis was a fantastic offensive player, and in terms of exploding to the basket and finishing at the rim, he was a harder player to defend than Lin is.

Defense was another underrated part of Francis' game, as he was usually one of the team leaders in steals. He ranks fifth on the Rockets' all-time steals list, despite playing just five seasons with the team.

However, Lin is a better outside shooter than Francis was, and he is a much smarter player. He doesn't have the athleticism that Francis displayed on a nightly basis, but he's also a more effective passer than the former Rockets star.

And Lin is more of a true point guard than Francis, as Francis was more suited to being a shooting guard at the NBA level.