Before the Houston Rockets signed James Harden only a few days prior to the start of the 2012-2013 NBA season, they were going to be Jeremy Lin’s team. After signing a three-year, $25 million deal with Houston following his Linsanity run with the New York Knicks, there were enormous expectations placed on the point guard’s shoulders.
As reported by Nick Mathews of the Houston Chronicle, Lin spoke about his struggles at a youth conference in Taiwan. In his speech to nearly 20,000 people he said, “I was ready to invigorate the entire city of Houston. I was supposed to save Houston basketball.” Later in the speech, he talked more in-depth about how he dealt with the pressure and expectations:
“I became so obsessed with becoming a great basketball player…trying to be Linsanity, being this phenomenon that took the NBA by storm,” Lin told the audience. “The coaches were losing faith in me, basketball fans were making fun of me.”
Lin, a devout Christian, went on to talk about how he’s no longer playing for anyone but himself and for God and won’t have anyone to disappoint. Despite that, though, that faith that the Houston coaches had is still damaged. There has even been speculation about Patrick Beverley possibly supplanting Lin as the starter in Houston. Lin has a chance to prove them wrong.
Last season he averaged 13.4 points, 6.1 assists, three rebounds and 1.6 steals in 32.2 minutes per game while shooting 44.1 percent from the floor and 33.9 percent from three. However, Lin also turned the ball over 2.9 times per game and was often rendered ineffective by defenses that swarmed or by stronger, quicker guards.
Perhaps part of Lin’s struggles last season was due to all of the pressure that he was facing from his move to Houston. However, part of the problem was that he wasn’t ready to be thrust into that role as the starter for the Rockets. If Lin wants to write the redemption story of Linsanity, he needs to put in the work this summer, now and in training camp, to become a more relaxed player with improved passing and ball-security.
Lin may no longer be playing for anyone else besides himself, but he’s not going to be playing much at all if he doesn’t regain the faith and trust of his team and coaches. He has the opportunity to do that by getting better this summer. We shall see if takes that opportunity.