Jeremy Lin Must Earn 2014 All-Star Spot to Justify Contract

Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IFebruary 19, 2013

Feb 6 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin (7) during a game against the Houston Rockets during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Lin was not an All-Star in 2013 but has no choice but to earn that status next year. The Houston Rockets point guard and Harvard grad recently spoke to Dave Zangaro of CSN Houston and made his feelings on not playing in the game this year well known.

“I’m kind of thankful I didn’t get voted because when…I want to make sure I’m fully, fully deserving of it, when I play,” Lin said after the team’s evening practice on Monday. “And I didn’t feel like that was the case this year.”

As noble as his words may have been, Lin needs to earn an All-Star spot in 2014 so that the Houston Rockets can justify the contract they gave him last July. Then a restricted free agent, the Rockets signed Lin to a three-year, $25 million deal on the basis of a short hot streak known as "Linsanity."

In February of last season, playing for the New York Knicks under head coach Mike D'Antoni, Lin averaged 20.9 points and 8.4 assists per game. Once D'Antoni resigned and Mike Woodson took over, his production dropped.

Still, Houston gave him the deal.

Lin has been generally disappointing in Houston thus far. Linsanity has come in bursts, but he has been simply average in head coach Kevin McHale's run-and-gun offense. On the season, Lin is averaging just 12.6 points and 6.2 assists per game, shooting just 32 percent from long range.

With the Harvard grad set to earn $8.3 million in each of the next two seasons, it's clear what needs to happen. The point guard is king in an offense like McHale's, which is very similar to what Lin's former coach Mike D'Antoni employs, and Lin just needs to be willing to sit on his throne and be the leader.

This means that along with driving the lane for a layup, Lin needs to have confidence in his jump shot, both from mid-range and beyond the arc. He showed such prowess in that department during Linsanity, and the fact that it has only come out sporadically this year is a waste of a career that could be special.

Linsanity happened for a reason, and Lin's seeming unwillingness to embrace that this year shows that his contract might not be worth it after all.

Just the same, it's time for Lin to get back on the horse and channel last year's lightning into a strong finish this season that carries over into 2013-14. This man can be an All-Star, and his contract will never be fully justified unless he becomes one.

Otherwise, Houston GM Daryl Morey will have a lot of thinking to do regarding how to solve the Rockets' issues at the point.