Jeremy Lin may be one of the most underrated members of the Houston Rockets. It’s a bit understandable, as the organization made a splash, signing marquee free agent Dwight Howard this past summer, and also features emerging superstar James Harden in the same backcourt as Lin.
Unfortunately, the one major problem with Lin’s game in 2012-13 was his inconsistency. He was up and down during his first year in Houston and had an injury unceremoniously end yet another season. Until he’s able to contribute at a high level in every contest, he’s going to be nothing more than a tantalizing talent
Lin’s averages of 13.4 points, 6.1 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game aren’t anything to scoff at, but the Taiwanese-American star is capable of so much more. He’s an elite pick-and-roll ball-handler who could easily go off for 20-plus points and dish at least eight assists per game, largely running that basic play.
Unfortunately, head coach Kevin McHale has been reluctant to feature Lin—especially due to Harden’s emergence. That doesn’t seem like it will change unless the 25-year-old forces his coach’s hand.
That can happen starting in the preseason, as Lin will get seven games to show the world that he’s continually improving and hasn’t stalled his development going into his fourth NBA season.
According to ESPN, Lin believes that being out of the spotlight will give him a chance to shine without the pressure of "Linsanity" lingering over him:
I agree with that, more so now than ever. The majority of the pressure is leaning on other guys, and it's going to give me a little bit more space and a little bit more freedom to be able to just be myself, and I think that's something that I'm looking forward to for sure. For me, I have high expectations for myself, and in no way was I satisfied with my year last year.
He went on to say that he’s been working on his off-ball movements, cuts, shooting, defense and more.
If he has improved significantly in those areas, there’s a great chance we see a side of Lin we haven’t during his time with the Rockets. Those fundamentals are often the hallmark of consistent, great players that have an impact on every single game they in which they participate.
Keep an eye on Lin when Houston takes the court against the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday. He’s going to have an opportunity to put those improved skills on display and must do so in order to live up to expectations and help the Rockets win in 2013-14.