Lin's story read more like a movie plot-line—unheralded star who comes to the big-time and shines—than it did real life, and the accolades and praise that seemed to flow in for the point guard endlessly suggested that he would be a real star in the future.
He would then make a highly talked about move from the Knicks to the Houston Rockets over the off-season—partnering up with former Oklahoma City Thunder star and reigning Sixth Man of the Year James Harden to form one of the most potentially dynamic backcourts in the league.
The two were natural point-scorers who had the ability to turn any given game completely upside down, and it made for one of the most fascinating storylines heading into the 2013 season. Would Lin be able to reproduce his New York form?
Would he be more dangerous than before or would he simply flop?
It started out appearing like the latter of those, with Lin inconsistent in his scoring and points distribution throughout November. His 14 games there had yielded just 10.2 points per game on 0.373 percent shooting from the field despite chalking up 34.4 minutes per game.
Yet as the season wore on, two key trends started to emerge for Lin.
The first was that his minutes dropped (and dropped significantly) but the second was that his points per game continued to rise. Despite seeing less and less playing time—especially in the fourth quarter—Lin has come to grow into his role and understand his position in the team more.
He's making shots when he's on the court and commanding the ball when the Rockets are looking to score rather than just sitting back and waiting to try and win the game on their final possession. Harden will obviously be the go-to scorer on their team, but Lin's adjustment to his new role has been pertinent to the Rockets' success this season.
And it's fascinating to see that every month so far this year where Lin's minutes have been dropped from the month before, his averages increase. Not just in terms of scoring and in shooting percentage, but right across the board with a number of categories.
November saw Lin average 34.4 minutes, 10.2 points per game and 0.373 percent shooting. Yet in December, when those minutes were reduced to 31.1 minutes per game, Lin averaged 13.8 points and 0.489 percent shooting. However, come January, his minutes went back up again, and his numbers right across the board started to fall in the process.
February and now March have both seen dramatic declines in his average minutes per game (down to just 28.8 minutes) but his numbers have been better than they've been all season—averaging 14.0 points per game, 0.479 percent shooting from the field and 0.375 percent shooting from deep.
He's not playing the same role that he was in New York—being the go-to player who's the man to turn to in clutch time—but he's having the same success. Even when not playing the same number of minutes, Lin is having a better season than he was with the Knickerbockers.
Understanding how to play a different role than what he was the year before shows that Lin has maturity and wisdom beyond his years at the moment.
To accept the reduced minutes and almost playing second-fiddle at times to Harden was not something that the former Harvard point guard would have desired heading into 2013, but he's simply doing his job and trying to make it work in the process.
Which, at the end of the day, is all you can really ask of any starting player—especially those that have reason for their ego to get in the way.
Lin has been far from that for the Rockets this year, and they're staring down a playoff run later on in the season as a result of it.
How do you think Jeremy Lin has gone for the Rockets this year?
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