Jeremy Lin Benched in Favor of Patrick Beverley for Rockets Opening Night Lineup
Teammate Chandler Parsons revealed that he, Dwight Howard, James Harden, Omer Asik and Patrick Beverley would be the starters for Houston's season-opener against the Charlotte Bobcats, per the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen.
Same starters, Chandler Parsons said. That would be Dwight, Omer, Parsons, Harden, Beverley. Go nuts.— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) October 29, 2013
---UPDATE: Wednesday, 3:25 p.m. ET by Dan Favale---
According to the Houston Chronicle's Jenny Dial Creech, Lin has known he would come off the bench for awhile and has no qualms about being a reserve:
I have known for awhile so it is not really a surprise for me. I think for me, I am just focused on basketball. You know I, I need to control what I do when I am out there like I said. I feel like I am beating a dead horse with some of the things I’m saying. Controlling what I can control and playing my brand of basketball when I’m out there and doing what’s best for us, for the team and running the second unit to the best of my ability
---End of update---
Head coach Kevin McHale has been grappling with the decision of whether to start Lin or Beverley at point guard for some time now.
"I have two starting point guards," he previously said, according to Creech.
For now, McHale has narrowed it down to one. And considering what the Rockets need out of their starting point man, he's running with the right player.
Howard will be starting at power forward alongside Asik at center—putting Houston's past floor-spacing dynamic to bed—and Harden is famed for attacking the hole with his patented dribble-drives.
Lin is the same way. Inserting him into the starting lineup would give the Rockets four players who prefer to create their offense at the rim.
Beverley gives the opening five an additional shooter. Much like Parsons, he can play on or off ball. Last season, he drained 37.5 percent of his treys and, according to Synergy Sports (subscription required) 42.2 percent of his spot-up tries (41.8 percent from downtown).
By comparison, Lin shot only 33.9 percent from deep in 2012-13 and hit just 38.7 percent of all his spot-up attempts. He also struggled to coexist with Harden at times.
When both were on the floor last season, Lin shot just 43.3 percent from the floor (31.5 from outside) for an average of 19 points per 48 minutes, according to NBA.com (subscription required). Separate from Harden, he converted 48.3 percent of field-goal attempts (47.4 percent from three-point range) and notched 24.6 points per 48 minutes.
Coming off the bench as a sixth or seventh man could actually be what's best for Lin. More time with the second unit means he'll have more freedom to drive and dominate the ball.
Who will start more games for the Rockets this season?
McHale has said in the past that it doesn't really matter who starts and who doesn't.
"As a player, I always found it irrelevant," he explained, per Creech. "I came off the bench in a lot of games. What is the big difference in playing 27.5 minutes off the bench and 26 minutes as a starter?"
Lin and Beverley, at least for the time being, are about to find out.
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