Through the first two games of the NBA preseason for the Houston Rockets, point guards Patrick Beverley and Jeremy Lin have put up similar numbers. Lin has averaged 12.5 points, 4.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Similarly, Beverley has averaged 12 points, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game. Beverley has shot a slightly higher percentage than Lin, but they’ve statistically been in the same ballpark.
Before the start of training camp, I wrote about how I thought Beverley would be best suited as the starting point guard for the Rockets and Lin would be best suited coming off of the bench, largely based off of how well Beverley handled the pressure in the postseason this past year. Though it’s only been two preseason games this year, I feel even stronger that Beverley should be the starter.
Though the two guards’ statistical output has been extremely similar, one thing has clearly separated them and that’s their defense. Lin hasn’t been a poor defender, but he’s simply average in that regard. However, Beverley has been phenomenal defensively, pressuring guards up-and-down the floor and being a general pest on that side of the ball. Just ask Jrue Holiday about Beverley’s defense.
More than just Beverley seeming to be a better defender that creates more transition opportunities for this team, but Lin may also be best suited coming off of the bench. As a bench guard, Lin can play with less pressure, something he’s said that he wants to do this season, and can provide this Rockets team with an offensive spark when he comes on the floor.
In no way am I trying to slight Lin by saying he shouldn’t be the starter for this team. I still believe that Lin can be an effective player in this league and actually think this role would set him up for more success. In the end, starting Beverley sets both Lin and the Rockets up for more success, if they choose to go that way when the regular season gets underway.