The point guard recently put up 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting—3-of-4 from downtown. He also dished out four assists, swiped three steals, pulled down two rebounds and even blocked a Danny Granger shot attempt in the Houston Rockets' exhibition contest win over the Indiana Pacers.
Lin certainly had the support of the crowd behind him, as the game took place in Taiwan—a nation where Linsanity is still in full swing and the 25-year-old Taiwanese American is considered a hero.
He was quite proud of the massive block on Granger, a play that whipped the crowd into a frenzy, as per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
All I could do was smile. I was like, “I can’t believe this is happening.” I’ve never done that in my career in a real NBA game. I’ve done it in practice, but in a game, I’ve never spike it that hard. I started laughing, not at him, but at everything that had happened.
While he likely won’t be sending back shots on a regular basis during the upcoming campaign, there is every reason to think that Lin will succeed in many other facets of the game going into his fourth NBA season.
With the spotlight no longer burning bright on him and expectations tapered back in the States, Lin is in perfect position to elevate his game and help the Rockets win ballgames.
Dwight Howard and James Harden will draw much of the opposition’s defensive attention, freeing Lin to play his pick-and-roll game—something he will excel at with Howard now banging down low—and run the offense.
Don’t be surprised if Lin is out and running more so than before, as he’s apparently been shedding pounds and pushing himself in practice.
Head coach Kevin McHale noted that Lin’s dominant performance in Taiwan didn’t come as a surprise due to Lin’s high level of play in recent practices. McHale told Feigen:
Jeremy played well. He’s been playing very well the last week, 10 days in our games and practice. I think he’s really comfortable with who he is. He’s lost weight. He’s quicker. He played well again tonight, but he’s played well in practice. It’s always nice when guys play well in practice and it carries over to games.
Do you think Lin has improved this offseason?
Lin wasn't terrible in 2012-13, but there were a number of weaknesses in his game that limited his potential as a player. Fortunately, he's young enough to still make measurable improvements during the offseason.
As long as Lin continues to work on his skills and becomes more comfortable with his role in the Houston offense, there is no doubt that he could have his finest overall season since breaking out with the New York Knicks back in 2012.