Why We Just Need to Give Houston Rockets' Version of Linsanity Some Patience

Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistNovember 16, 2012

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 12:  Jeremy Lin #7 of the Houston Rockets passes the ball against the Miami Heat at the Toyota Center on November 12, 2012 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Jeremy Lin's emergence as the 2011-12 savior of New York City hoops was as entrancing as it was unsustainable.

Fans expecting a repeat performance from Lin have been baffled by the pedestrian numbers he's averaged during his first eight games as a member of the Houston Rockets: 10.9 points and 6.1 assists in 34.5 minutes.

If the Linsanity movement didn't set the bar high enough for his 2012-13 season, then the three-year, $25 million contract he signed with Houston sure did.

Never mind that Lin was tasked with understanding a new offensive system and a brand new set of teammates. Never mind that he opened training camp still rehabbing from season-ending knee surgery.

No matter if the Los Angeles Lakers have tried to make this season the year of the premature panics, I'm urging Houston fans to exercise some of the patience that Lin displayed during his first two turbulent NBA seasons.

To put this bluntly, his struggles have stemmed from a cold shooting start. His unsightly shooting (35.3 percent from the field) will likely last as long as his run atop the basketball world did.

What his critics have failed to notice is that Lin has drastically improved in every other element than his scoring.

Remember those turnover problems (3.6 per game) that our love of a good underdog story allowed us to look past? They're gone. Despite playing nearly 10 more minutes this season, Lin has sliced more than a full turnover off of that average (2.5).

Remember our concerns about how Lin appeared to be more combo guard than natural point guard? Consider them alleviated. His 2.45 assist-to-turnover ratio is better than that of pure point guards Deron Williams and Mike Conley.

Oh, and his 2.5 steals per game is tied for the third-best mark in the league.

Look, this isn't a guarantee that Lin will approach an All-Star level of play. He simply doesn't have the body of NBA work to draw any confident conclusions about his potential.

But this hesitance to proclaim Lin a star should also accompany any claims that he's a bust.

Give the guy a few weeks, people. It's the least that he deserves after giving us those magical weeks just last season.