New Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin has certainly heard the chatter from his former New York Knicks teammates who have downplayed his abilities in various ways. With a fresh start and a team that will look to him as a leader, Lin will prove them wrong.
To start, we will backtrack to what Newsday reporter Rod Boone tweeted in July. New York superstar Carmelo Anthony responded to Boone's inquiry of Lin's pending contract situation, and whether the Knicks would match the Rockets' offer.
Melo on #Knicks Lin saga: "It's not up to me. It's up to the organization to say that they want to match that ridiculous contract."— Rod Boone (@rodboone) July 15, 2012
It seemed to be a little more than just sour grapes for Melo, who was overshadowed by the "Linsanity" movement that took Madison Square Garden by storm in 2011-12. Anthony should be even more bitter now, with the likes of first-round bust Raymond Felton and the aging future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd running the offense.
Bringing Felton back for a second stint in New York was one of the biggest head-scratchers of the offseason. Perhaps Kidd can teach him a thing or two, but Lin was a far better option than both players, taking into account the respective points of all their careers.
Now onto Chandler's chime-in. According to a post by Matt Shetler of SI.com's Buckets Over Broadway Knicks blog, Lin couldn't run the offense last season.
Jeremy was a young point guard who was inexperienced, who brought a great light to the organization. But as far as being able to run the offense and putting players in the right position he just wasn’t there. We got some veteran point guards that are capable of doing that.
Far be it from me to question the opinion of a Team USA member, but if given the choice between Felton and Kidd or Lin to be my hypothetical franchise's point guard, how could an argument possibly be made for the former duo?
In any event, Lin gets to move on to a team and a coach that believe in him.
Head coach Kevin McHale had glowing things to say about Lin in a New York Post story by Marc Berman, and he emphasized that the young point guard still has much to learn about the game.
McHale stated that he wants him to truly learn the offense, but still be a "basketball player," which implies Lin needs to use his savvy instincts to make plays for his teammates but that he also must do a little bit of everything.
There's no doubt he's still a work in progress—particularly on defense—but he is surrounded by a ton of young talent, since the Rockets had three first-round picks.
2-guard Jeremy Lamb and forwards Terrence Jones and Royce White will get to develop alongside Lin, who keyed an outstanding run for the Knicks last season even without Anthony and fellow superstar Amar'e Stoudemire in the lineup for the beginning.
His knack for getting to the bucket should open up chances for Lamb and Kevin Martin from beyond the arc.
The passing ability of White and the mismatches Jones can create with his athleticism and size should produce a symbiotic relationship between Lin and his rookie teammates, and this should speed up their development processes.
This Rockets team is stacked for the future, while the Knicks will be struggling in a couple years with major salary cap issues. According to HoopsHype.com, both Anthony and Stoudemire will be paid over $23 million in salary, and Chandler will make just over $14.5 million.
By then, the Knicks will likely be in disarray if they haven't made a deep playoff run with that trio, and Lin's critical teammates will be eating their words.