Happy Birthday Jeremy!
As JLin turns 28 today, all things are lining up for another perfect storm! I know I've felt very optimistic before just to be slapped back down to earth, but this time it's different.
First, at 28 years young, JLin is close to his physical prime. Data on great players show age 27 as their peak click here but because he hasn't played as many minutes, you could argue his true NBA age is a bit younger. Also, playing 4 years in college or coming in the league at 22 or 23 can move that peak back. Larry Bird and Steve Nash would be prime examples as outliers who peaked at 30 or later.
But more than any other reason for my optimism is that he's been given the keys to drive these BrookLin Nets! Yes! His own team! Thus being set free, unshackled, and unleashed to play his game! I'd almost given up on him ever becoming a starter again without an injury occurring. However, with Kenny Atkinson, he has a great, young, innovative, open minded coach who has total trust and belief in Jeremy. You wouldn't risk your job on him as your starter if you didn't have full confidence in him. He knows Jeremy's game inside and out and will play to his strengths and continue to build the team around him. He will empower Jeremy, not look at him as a scapegoat or as just a good backup. JLin will finally be able to play his game and let his true greatness shine on a nightly basis.
This is the first time since Linsanity happened way back in 2012 that he will be the starting point guard while having the ball in his hands and given the green light. No more having to play backup to guys like Pat Beverly or Ronnie Price or having Chandler Parsons or Julius Randle, look you off and dribble it up themselves instead of giving him the outlet. No more DNP CD's for no reason other than a spiteful coach. No more jealous, envious, teammates who can't even bare to share a little of the spotlight. Yes, this season will be something to behold.
Becoming an All-Star is close at hand as well. He was less than 50,000 votes from CP3 his first year at Houston but luckily he didn't get it. He obviously didn't deserve it back then. But now, things are clear. He is one of the leaders of this young and up and coming team. If he plays his game, stays healthy, he will easily put up All-Star level numbers like he does whenever he was able to start and not have a high usage (or shall we just say ball hog) next to him. I'll go into detail later on my calculations, but it seems to me, he's been held back by about 25% by not being able to play his game. With that figured in and at about 33-34 minutes, I see 19 and 7 as very reachable numbers.
The Nets will have to win as well and we all know how bad this team was last year and how bad it's perceived to be this year. But this is a whole new ball club and organization from top to bottom. From my eye test, the pieces around Jeremy look just as good if not better than the Linsanity Knicks (Tyson, Fields, Shumpert, Jeffries). They, the Knicks, probably had a bit better talent defensively, but I'd say this Nets squad has much more offensive firepower and will no doubt be hard-nosed and scrappy like their Head Coach. I see this playing out similar to Jason Kidd's first year with the Nets or Steve Nash's first year in Phoenix; a huge turnaround, led by a great point guard who makes everyone around him better. I'd also say that JLin's supporting cast is just as good as JKidds Nets. Besides Kenyon Martin, Kerry Kittles, and Richard Jefferson, there was nothing else. I've compared JLin to a cross between a Steve Nash and a Jason Kidd and he will get his chance to show that this season. I'll go out on a limb and say they will compete for a playoff spot this year.
I know this sounds like I'm getting ahead of myself. Honestly, I truly feel this is just the tip of the iceberg guys. I've always believed that Jeremy could be great and one of the top PG's in this league if given the chance. And this is not about him improving his shot or his handle or anything else. We've seen what he could do when he was given the opportunity to be the man in New York only because of injury back in 2012. He is a much better player now. Just like any other top player coming in 6 years ago he has improved. This is just 100% about Opportunity + Trust. Trust from Ownership, GM, and Coach. This will filter down to trust among players.
Jeremy Lin, Happy Birthday to you! We have your back here as always and can't wait to see what happens when Opportunity + Trust + You playing for God comes together!