Jeremy Lin Will Prove Doubters Wrong as Facilitator for Elite Houston Rockets
Point guard Jeremy Lin doesn't have the star power of some of his teammates, but any of his detractors will be proven wrong when he thrives this season with a loaded supporting cast at his side.
Even though he posted respectable per-game averages of 13.4 points, three rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.6 steals, Lin took some heat in his first season with the Rockets.
When general manager Daryl Morey traded for James Harden to join Lin in the backcourt, there was a palpable shift as to who the face of the franchise was. Harden was now just that, and Lin, in his own words, was relegated to "taking a back seat."
Even while Harden hogged the ball and often took opponents to the rim in isolation situations—averaging an NBA-high 10.2 free-throw attempts in the process—Lin managed to be productive.
True, defense is not Lin's strong suit, but he won't have to stress about impressing as much on that end of the court with the arrival of Dwight Howard.
The biggest prize—literally—in free agency chose Houston, a squad that needed him in the most desperate way after yielding the third-most points per game in the league a season ago.
How does Jeremy Lin impact the Rockets' chances at an NBA title?
Howard's commanding paint presence can allow Lin to be a more aggressive on-ball defender and gamble on passing lanes, which should inflate his steals totals.
And remember when Lin was at the height of his breakout performance with the New York Knicks? He was at his best acting on instinct and playing freely—something that better defense can facilitate more often in the form of fast-break opportunities going the other way.
It's also no longer a secret that Chandler Parsons is one of the premier small forwards in NBA—a great glue guy who has the all-around game to thrive with the pieces the Rockets have in place.
Then there is the matter of pick-and-roll offense with Howard, which Lin has implied he's eager to try. Lin made his living and got his massive contract by excelling within that offensive concept.
In his previous stops, Howard has never been in more of an ideal position to succeed on offense. From his perspective, Lin has never had a center with D12's upside to feed off the dribble with his playmaking ability.
All signs are pointing to Lin being a raging success in such an environment.
Doubters may bash him for being overrated, but bear in mind that Lin is entering just his fourth NBA season and second as a full-time starter.
As long as Lin keeps working hard, doesn't press and relies on the talent around him, the production will take care of itself—and the number of naysayers will diminish.
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