Why Jeremy Lin Will Shock the World with the Houston Rockets

Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistSeptember 28, 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

Jeremy Lin shocked the world once.

Does anyone want to bet against him doing it again?

The Houston Rockets come into this season with a rag-tag roster of rookies, up-and-coming guys (Chandler Parsons and Omer Asik) and a solid veteran scorer in Kevin Martin.

Then there's Lin, who was at his very best playing with a similar roster amidst injuries to stars Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire. Linsanity wasn't just the product of a guy coming out of nowhere and playing like an All-Star—it was the fact that he was doing so alongside role players like Steve Novak and Jared Jeffries.

And for what it's worth, the young players Lin will be working with in Houston are actually pretty good. Shooting guard Jeremy Lamb and forward Terrence Jones were as impressive as just about any rookies in the Las Vegas Summer League, save maybe Portland's Damian Lillard (the league's co-MVP).

This isn't a roster full of stars, but based on an admittedly limited sample size, Lin may be better off doing what the Rockets so often do: Overachieve.

It's not as if there aren't talented pieces here—there just aren't huge names.

Martin, Parsons, Lamb and the recently-signed Carlos Delfino will make for perfect drive-and-kick targets on the perimeter and will be important tools for a point guard who excels in pick-and-roll situations and getting into the paint.

Lin will also benefit from playing in an offense that moves the ball, a dynamic we noticed when Lin took a slight step back when Mike Woodson began isolating the ball with Anthony so often.

No one will dominate the ball in Houston, and Lin will get plenty of looks to build upon the 14.6 points he averaged in 35 games last season. Of course, Lin averaged over 18 points and nearly eight assists when starting 25 of those games, so it's fair to expect increased production given what figures to be an even more prominent role with the Rockets.

There's always the chance that GM Daryl Morey will eventually turn some of the Rockets' young assets into a more prominent veteran before the trade deadline. In that event, Lin could find himself that much closer to a surprise postseason run.

Otherwise, this will be quite the group effort, so it's a good thing the new face of the franchise is the ultimate team player, happy to defer and celebrate his teammates' successes.

The Rockets are nowhere near contending for a championship this season, and even a playoff berth would be a proud achievement for this team. If the improbable happens though, it won't be because of a roster that's still very much in transition—it will be because of the culture Lin brings to that roster, both on and off the court.

If it seems like the excitement surrounding Lin's emergence has subsided outside of the New York spotlight, just wait until we see what he can do with the Rockets.

His best just might be yet to come.