Lin has been on and off, hot and cold all year long, whether it is shooting from the field, making crisp passes or playing hard defensively. He hasn’t played like the MVP-caliber player he once looked like with the New York Knicks.
On the season, Lin is averaging 12.2 points, 6.1 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 32.9 minutes per game. Those numbers aren’t terrible by any means, but they aren’t as great as they could be. Lin currently ranks third on Houston in PER at 14.4, behind James Harden and Chandler Parsons.
The Rockets are slotted in the eighth spot in the Western Conference for now, and to hang onto the position—or potentially slide up—Lin is going to have to play better. He’s only shot 43.1 percent from the field, 29.3 percent from three-point range and 77 percent from the free-throw line.
Those percentages have to get better if Lin wants to be playing in mid-April.
Lin has shown improvement over the last couple of games, though. He recently scored 22 points and 53.3 percent shooting over 31 minutes in an eight-point loss to the Denver Nuggets. The three games prior, he averaged 13 points with eight assists and 3.3 steals on 52 percent shooting.
But just as quickly as Lin picks up his game, he could start a slump in the blink of an eye.
A couple of days ago, Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Stephen Sheehan wrote about Lin’s first-half struggles. Sheehan mentions Lin’s recovery from knee surgery, his poor shooting and the impact of James Harden as factors for his disappointing start in Houston.
Lin needs to start playing a bigger role in Houston’s offense to take some of the pressure off of Harden. But he can’t start taking more shots unless he’s confident he’s going to be making them. The last thing the Rockets need is a guy who thinks he’s on fire when in fact, he’s cold as ice.
Resting during All-Star Weekend—although Lin probably wishes he were partaking in the festivities—should do him some good. Houston doesn’t have the toughest of second-half schedules, and the Rockets need Lin to be healthy and ready to contend for a postseason berth.
Once the Rockets take the floor after a week off, Lin needs to put together a handful of solid performances. He needs take good shots, make good decisions and hope that things go his way. If his confidence is up, he should be play better.
The second half of the season is going to be an interesting ride for Lin and the Rockets. If Lin succeeds, so should Houston.
Year-End Statistics: 13.7 PPG, 6.8 APG, 4.0 RPG
Year-End Percentages: 46.7 FG PCT, 32.9 3PT PCT, 81.0 FT PCT