NBA Summer League: Jeremy Lin's Climb To the Top

Zach McDonieContributor IJuly 20, 2010

In a summer league predominatly hyped up for stars like John Wall, Derrick Favors and Evan Turner, it is amazing that the story that stole the headlines involves a relatively unknown talent from the Ivy League.

Now, the Ivy League isn’t known for producing college stars, let alone NBA talent, but former Harvard guard Jeremy Lin seems to be paving the way for Ivy Leaguers of the future.

Lin averaged 16.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.1 blocks during his final year at Harvard. This combo guard was one of the best stat sheet fillers in the entire northeast. Lin earned first-team All Conference during his senior year, and hoped to carry that momentum into the NBA draft.

However, Lin produced these numbers in a very weak Ivy League, and Harvard posted a consistently soft out of conference schedule during his four years. For this reason, Lin found himself jobless at the conclusion of the NBA draft.

The 6’3” 200-pounder still had high hopes for a basketball career and signed on to play with the Dallas Mavericks summer league squad. This was a story that was spreading quickly, as he would be the first Harvard grad to play in the NBA since 1953 along with one of the first Asian-Americans.

Well, the story of inspiration was nice and all, but now it appears as if Lin will make the unexpected jump to a spot on an NBA roster. After an impressive summer league performance, averaging around nine points per game, NBA front offices are drooling at the thought of adding him as a project point guard.

Lin displayed an excellent feel for the game and it is apparent that his basketball IQ rivals anyone on the floor. The moment that really skyrocketed Lin’s stock was when execs watched him go toe-to-toe with the top overall pick John Wall. Lin made Wall look silly on both ends of the court and proved that the main knock on him, athleticism, was not one that needed to be worried about.

While the Mavs fully expected Rodrigue Beaubois to be the star of the summer, they were pleasantly surprised with Lin’s performance. He has received an offer to run the show for the Mavericks newly acquired D-League affiliate.

However, the Mavs aren’t the only team interested in the 21-year-old. The Los Angeles Lakers have contacted Lin’s agent and are expected to make an aggressive offer to land the budding star. LA sees Lin as someone they can develop for the future to take over Derek Fisher’s role as point guard when he is ready to hand over the reins.

It remains unknown where Lin will be beginning his professional career, but a decision is expected soon. While the Lakers are considered the favorites, you can’t count the Mavericks out just yet. Mark Cuban is not one to lie down easily. One thing is for certain; whoever signs Lin will not be adding a great story to their roster, but rather a great player.

News of Lin’s climb up the rookie ladder is a breath of fresh air when you consider all of the media attention surrounding “The Decision” and “The Big Three.” I’m sure the majority of NBA fans will be chomping at the bit to follow every step of the Miami Heat’s progress next season. But this is one fan that will be turning my head in a different direction, towards none other than the inspirational Jeremy Lin.