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Jeremy Lin's Future Looks Good, Not Great for the Houston Rockets

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 27:  Jeremy Lin #7 of the Houston Rockets brings the ball upcourt against the Toronto Raptors at the Toyota Center on November 27, 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)
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Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2012

The Jeremy Lin the Houston Rockets currently see is the Jeremy Lin they're always going to get. 

There's no denying that Lin has struggled since leaving the New York Knicks. There's no denying that these very struggles began to surface during his time in the Big Apple.

And according to Eric Koreen of the National Post, Lin himself isn't denying any of it.

"I’ll be my harshest critic, so I’ll go ahead and say it: I’m doing terrible.” - Jeremy Lin

— Eric Koreen (@ekoreen) December 16, 2012

But while admittance may seem like the first step toward resolution, is that the case right now in Houston?

Unfortunately, no.

Though we would like to believe that Lin has it in him, that he's capable of turning his season around, doubt has begun to spread like an omnipresent contagion.

More than a quarter of the way through the season, Lin is averaging just 10.8 points and six assists per game on 39.5 percent shooting from the field. He's converting on just 31.7 percent of his three-point attempts and has scored 20 or more points just twice. In fact, he's only managed to eclipse 15 points five times this season.

Like it or not, Lin set a standard for himself in New York, where he was routinely shooting at a decent percentage and dropping 20 or more points per game. The standard he set for himself, however, is one he's not currently meeting. And only so much of Lin's struggles can be chalked up to player development.

It's not just as if Lin is struggling to score or remain efficient from the field. He's struggling to contribute or make a positive impact at all.

Right now, Houston's offense per 100 possessions rises by six points with him off the floor. The team's defensive efficiency increases by two points with him off the floor as well.

He's also allowing opposing point guards to post a 15.1 PER per 48 minutes while he's on the floor, yet he's at just 11.8. His turnover percentage of 19.8 also stands as the seventh-highest in the league among point guards averaging more than 20 minutes per game.

And that's a problem. It's all a problem.

Not only is this a reflection of his inability to score, but it's a clear-cut indication that he's actually hurting the team while he's on the floor. Developing prospect or not, this is not what the Rockets signed up for.

No one was expecting Lin to be a savior when he came to Houston. Especially after the Rockets acquired James Harden We knew better that that. We knew that he could not just pick up right where he left off in New York. Not when opposing defenses had time to adjust to his skill set, and certainly not when he still had to regain his footing after recovering from a torn right meniscus.

But there was a hope that, eventually, Lin would be able to adjust, that he would be able to reignite some of the fire that was put out while he was with the Knicks.

That hope, however, has gone unfulfilled.

We'll never forget performances like his 38-point outburst against the San Antonio Spurs, but outings such as those have already carried him as far as they can. Once he signed that $25 million contract, sporadic success was no longer acceptable.

Which means toeing the line of complete and utter irrelevancy wasn't even a consideration, yet that's what Lin is currently toiling with right now.

Does this mean Lin has reached his peak as a point guard, that Linsanity was indeed a flash in the pan? Or is it a sign that the Rockets were not the right fit for Lin, that he cannot succeed playing off the ball as much as he does alongside James Harden?

Truth be told, a case could be made for either. Regardless of what is ailing Lin, whether it be environmental or his flaws as an athlete, one thing remains clear: Linsanity won't be reincarnated with the Rockets.

Not when Lin has proved to be less than a wild card. Not when he continues to struggle to correct deficiencies that have been present since he was with the Knicks.

And certainly not when his 13.2 PER ranks 39th among all point guards who average 20 or more minutes per game, putting him well behind mediocre point men like Ramon Sessions (18.3), Nate Robinson (15.7) and Shannon Brown (13.4), among others.

Had Lin been destined for greatness with Houston, we would have known it by now. We wouldn't be struggling to remember how captivating Linsanity proved to be last season, and we wouldn't be fighting the urge to hang on to fleeting performances like the one against San Antonio.

Simply put, by now, we should have seen some progress, some form of improvement.

But we haven't.

Instead, we've watched as he's been benched down the stretch and scored in double figures in just half of his games thus far. We've watched as he has converted on more than 43 percent of his shots just seven times this season.

Worst of all, we've watched as he himself has been forced to admit that he's played terrible.

Well, Jeremy, I must say I both respect and appreciate your unyielding sense of honesty. But while I am not yet ready to relegate you to a state of ineptitude, I feel compelled to note that the conclusions you draw and reality you acknowledge don't bode well for your future with the Rockets.

Or the NBA in general.

 

All stats in this article are accurate as of December 17, 2012.

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