If there was one player who needed a change of scenery this summer it was Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin. Having been openly shopped all over the NBA for the past two seasons and then disrespected as the Rockets showcased Carmelo Anthony in Lin’s #7 jersey, the man once known as “Linsanity” really just needed a ticket out of town and a chance to start over.
Thankfully, the Los Angeles Lakers stepped up to offer him both.
When Lin landed in Houston as a free agent two summers ago there was a strong belief among Houston’s front office brain trust that Lin might just be the next big thing. He had certainly shown promise during his one-month miracle tour with the New York Knicks, and while his second month had been much less spectacular, there was reason to believe that Lin could be a star-caliber starter and floor leader.
Sadly, that never panned out. Lin was solid, even looked pretty good when he was healthy, but injury issues and being relegated to a backup to Patrick Beverley quickly diminished Lin’s role with the Rockets. To his credit, Lin continued to work hard and stay humble throughout his bumpy tenure in Houston, and he looks poised to rediscover himself with the Lakers.
Lin may never be “Linsanity” again, but the Lakers don’t need him to be that. They need him to be the 14-point, six-assist player he was in his second month in New York and when he was healthy in Houston. They need him to get to the rim and create space for Kobe Bryant, which is right up Lin’s alley. Meanwhile, playing alongside Bryant should greatly enhance Lin’s understanding of the game. Lin is a remarkably intelligent person, and there is hardly a superstar in the NBA with a better understanding of the league than Bryant.
With Pau Gasol on his way to Chicago and Steve Nash on his way to the Hall of Fame, the Lakers are a long way from competing for an NBA championship. In the absence of All-Star additions, however, the Lakers needed to add some youth and potential to their backcourt.
That’s exactly what Lin brings to the table.
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