The more we see Jeremy Lin on the court, the more apparent it become that he was a product of the New York hype machine rather than a budding superstar who can carry a team to the playoffs.
Fans and analysts love to overreact to everything that happens, regardless of context or circumstances. But Lin's weaknesses are starting to become much more evident, even in the meaningless spectacle of the preseason spotlight.
The Houston Rockets have played three preseason games so far. Lin is shooting a paltry 21 percent on 4-for-19 from the field. He does have 14 assists, but his hallmark last season was on being able to create his own shot, and he looks lost on the court right now.
Since using just preseason stats to judge a player is borderline idiotic, let's look back at how Lin finished his breakout season with the New York Knicks last year.
Starting on February 20, the day after Lin posted 28 points and 14 assists against the Dallas Mavericks, he averaged 13.9 points, 6.8 assists and shot 40.1 percent from the field in 17 games. The assists are fine, but he is shooting the ball way too much and not getting the same results.
Everyone knows that Lin's weakness is a lack of diversity in his game. He can only drive to the left and needs isolation to hit shots. It took the rest of the NBA to catch up to the things he can do, but now that they have, he is being exposed.
Lin at least understands what he is doing wrong and is trying to keep the proper perspective, though he doesn't appear to have any answers for what is ailing him right now.
Via the Houston Chronicle:
“I’m just trying to find my rhythm, find my comfort level again,” Lin said. “I’m just happy it’s a preseason game to be honest. I can’t live with this in season. I have a lot to learn. I will make sure I learn from this.”
Words are nice and it is good to hear that he is not trying to make excuses, but eventually you have to start showing something on the court or else people are going to stop listening to you.
Perhaps Lin does deserve a little slack. After all, we are still talking about preseason games and he is coming off knee surgery last April to repair a torn meniscus.
Yet the whispers about Lin's effort and rehab keep getting louder and louder that it is almost hard to ignore.
You have Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News writing that "some Rockets coaches have confided that Lin needs to work harder to improve his play..."
The Rockets surely signed Lin for marketing purposes as much as they did for anything he does on the court. But as we have seen with fads in sports throughout history—when you stop producing, people stop caring.
Lin is not producing right now. People still care because the games don't actually count, but if he keeps up this pace, he and the Rockets will be left wondering how everything fell apart so fast.