Jeremy Lin's Ceiling with Houston Rockets Rises Playing with James Harden
No matter where he goes, Jeremy Lin finds a way to be a part of the story of the season.
During the 2011-12 NBA regular season, the Harvard graduate took the world by storm. For those who have spent the past year under a rock, Lin created a 26-game period known as "Linsanity" in which he saved the Knicks from missing the postseason.
He did so by posting averages of 18.5 points, 7.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game under the bright lights of an international spotlight and Madison Square Garden.
Just eight months later, Lin has found himself with the Houston Rockets. Alongside him is the star of the 2013 season, as shooting guard James Harden has posted averages of 35.3 points, 6.3 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game.
Although Lin is not the focus, he is a member of the Beardsanity. The question is, how far can he go with The Bearded One beside him?
Contrary to popular belief, Harden's statistical brilliance has done nothing but raised the ceiling for Jeremy Lin.
Alleviating the Pressure, Part I
One of the most insurmountable hurdles of Jeremy Lin's young career is the never-ending battle he goes through with the international, domestic and local media outlets. Upon becoming a global superstar in 2012, that's a war Lin brought upon himself.
As if he knew what was in store upon becoming the New York Knicks' starting point guard.
With James Harden in the fold, however, Lin is no longer the main focus in Houston. This is mainly due to the fact that Harden started the 2013 season with 37 and 45 point performances.
With that being said, Lin made a controversial move of his own when he left the Knicks for Houston (via ESPN New York). Fortunately for Linsanity, the media and NBA fanbase has proven one important thing.
They're all victims of short-term memory.
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Alleviating the Pressure, Part II (Opposing defenses)
Entering the 2012-13 NBA season, Jeremy Lin was the top target of every opposing defense. After building up an unparalleled level of stardom, Lin established himself as the player that every opponent wants to lock down.
Not only do they want to prove a point, but who wants to be the team that starts the second coming of Linsanity?
Fortunately for Lin, James Harden arrived at just the right time. By that, of course, we're referring to the fact that Harden steps in as one of the most highly touted scorers in the game.
Right before teams could begin their all-out attack on Lin.
Harden is the reigning Sixth Man of the Year. He's also an established scorer who has made an impact on a grand stage while helping lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to the 2012 NBA Finals.
Although Lin is a larger star in terms of name value, teams are well-aware of how dangerous James Harden can be on offense. For that reason, opponents will focus more on Harden than any other player on the Rockets' roster.
Including Jeremy Lin.
Off Guard, Lead Guard...Take Your Pick
One of the most common criticisms of Jeremy Lin's game is that he is not your traditional point guard. Fortunately for Lin, Harden is not your conventional shooting guard, either, as he is more than capable of facilitating an offense.
As a result, Linsanity will be able to work both on and off of the ball. Now if that's not a way to maximize results, someone tell me what is.
Lin is good for seven-to-10 assists per game. When not being forced left, he's an outstanding ball handler with underrated court vision.
Lin's ability to lead slashers, thread the needle to interior scorers and find perimeter shooters are exactly why he is a legitimate NBA point guard. The fact that he can score from mid-range and attack the basket off of the dribble, however, is what makes him such a difficult player to gameplan for: from either perspective.
With Harden's ability to facilitate, Kevin McHale's job as head coach becomes a whole lot easier. McHale can now run plays for Lin to work off of the ball and score, which is one of his greatest strengths.
As long as Harden's abilities do not wither away, Lin is in the perfect situation to play his best basketball.
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