Amazingly, it's been less than 3 years since Jeremy Lin's first NBA start, where he scored 28 points and dished out 8 assists in a home 99-88 win over the Utah Jazz. Last night he received his first DNP-CD since January 27, 2012 a few games before the start of Linsanity.
I still remember those days just hoping and praying JLin would get in and have a chance to show he belonged. Well, it looks like we're back to not knowing if he'll even get in the game. He's said it, we've all said it, he has to prove himself over and over and over and over again. It will never change. That's just how it is when you are the first. There is no getting around it. He has to not only be better than the next guy, he has to be way better and he needs players around him to buy in.
These last two and a half years have been so tough for all of his fans. We're all frustrated and angry with the way things have worked out. Jeremy is not absolved from any blame as he has looked inconsistent and unconfident at times. He has many areas to improve on including, ball handling, leading the fast break, defensive on ball pressuring, over helping on defense, and decision making. However, there are countless factors why he hasn't played up to his potential many of which we aren't even aware of. Some obvious to me this season include but not limited to:
1. Terrible fit with Kobe who is a ball dominate 2, just like Harden
2. Having a coach who you don't see eye to eye with
3. Thus having a coach who instead of empowering you, intimates you're soft
4. No respect from most of his teammates for whatever reasons
5. Thus leading to fewer outlet passes, less on ball screens, less strong hedge help from bigs
6. Close to zero calls and some very suspect calls from most refs
7. No one wanting him to be their leader because of his appearance
8. Not fitting in culturally
9. Changing roles from starter to backup to starter to backup to end of bench
10. Few minutes with best fitting teammates such as Ed Davis early in the season
11. Too many ISO black hole players who take contested jumpers instead of passing to open JLin
12. Mostly Kobe, Boozer, and Swaggy
13. Little to no off ball movement and swinging ball from side to side
14. Not many finishers on the team
15. There are so many others but I'll stop there.
If you're really honest about it, its amazing how well Jeremy has played with the deck stacked so much against him.
It's so easy to say why don't you just do this or that or just shoot more or don't pass to that guy but the reality is there is so much he has to over come and his benching without any warning is a prime example of why he can't just do what you'd like him to do. Anyway, Jeremy is all about the team and will try his best to always put the team first over his own stats.
But as bad as things look at the moment, there is still a flicker of hope out there. There is a chance that he'll be traded before the February 19th trade deadline. If not, he'll be an unrestricted free agent next year. All he needs is one team willing to give him a real chance. Then maybe just maybe we can circle all the way back to Linsanity. We gotta believe and have hope. We all know what he can do given the right opportunity.