Jeremy Lin Will Still Have Important Role on Rockets Despite Losing Starting Job

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 30, 2013

Oct 5, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin (7) brings the ball up the court during the third quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets made headlines when they announced that Patrick Beverley would start at point guard over Jeremy Lin, but it does not mean the former starter will disappear. In reality, his new role could benefit everyone.

Chandler Parsons was the one who revealed the news, according to CSNHouston.com. While surprising, this lineup makes a lot of sense for Kevin McHale's squad. 

Beverley was not a huge contributor for the Rockets over the course of the regular season, averaging 5.6 points per game off the bench in 41 contests. He also made 37.5 percent of his shots from three-point range.

However, he came on strong in the postseason, making five starts and averaging 11.8 points. He also showcased tenacious defense despite his small size. 

This season, he will be a better fit for a starting lineup that ranks among the best in the NBA. Although Beverley is not an elite distributor, James Harden will likely be the primary ball handler when he is on the court. The team also does not need much scoring with Chandler Parsons and Dwight Howard helping out Harden.

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As a result, Beverley will be there for his perimeter defense as well as outside shooting ability, two areas where Lin struggles.

Still, there will be plenty of opportunity for the former Harvard star to shine. His quickness and athleticism to get into the lane and finish at the rim will be incredibly useful when the team needs a jump start offensively.

Lin also proved his passing ability last season, with an average of 6.1 assists per game. He can come in and spread the ball around to the second team, which might have a harder time creating points on its own.

When he comes in to play alongside the other starters, he will be able to create a lightning quick backcourt that previously helped the Rockets finish second in the NBA in points per game.

Of course, one big part of transitioning to the bench is the mental aspect. Not every player can come into the action and contribute right away as well as they could as starters. 

Fortunately, Lin was very mature in his response to the news, via Jenny Dial Creech of the Houston Chronicle:

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.

I think when I am out there I will keep being aggressive. I don’t want to change anything.

Going into the season with a strong mentality is important, and his words on helping the team show that he is capable of contributing at a high level.

Additionally, he will be able to receive plenty of advice from Harden, who was primarily used off the bench for three seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The guard was named 2012 Sixth Man of the Year after scoring 16.8 points per game.

April 12, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin (7) talks to shooting guard James Harden (13) against the Memphis Grizzlies in the fourth quarter at the Toyota Center. The Grizzlies defeated the Rockets 82-78. Mandatory Credit: Br

Lin might not be as much of a pure scorer, but he can still greatly help the team. The new role might play to his strengths even more if defenders cannot get used to his style over the course of a game.

Considering the point guard is making over $8 million per year, you can assume he will get plenty of playing time. Even with Beverley starting, Lin should still get at least 25-30 minutes every game.

If he can stay mentally focused while performing to his full ability, he could end up being the best sixth man in the NBA.

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