The Houston Rockets decided right before they started play in the 2013-14 NBA regular season that they were going to roll with Patrick Beverley as their starting point guard in lieu of starting Jeremy Lin, who started all 82 regular season games for the Rockets last season on their way to the postseason.
However, an injury in the first game of the season put Beverley on the sideline for a few games, putting Lin in the starting lineup. Lin played solid in the games that he started, averaging 15.5 points and 4.8 assists per game on efficient scoring. However, he showed on Monday night why he’s so valuable to the Rockets as a bench player.
Lin played 46 minutes of Houston’s double-overtime battle with the Toronto Raptors on Monday night and finished with a game-high 31 points on 10-17 shooting from the field, 3-6 shooting from three and 8-9 shooting from the foul line. Lin also put up five rebounds, two steals and a block in the contest.
One of the issues with Lin as the starting point guard last season was his ability, or lack thereof, to handle pressure in the backcourt, which sometimes led to him turning the ball over all too frequently and getting uncomfortable at the position. However, that part is largely negated with him coming off of the bench. He can come in and just look to spark the Rockets’ offense with turnovers not really being all that significant. Moreover, Houston can just ride the hot-hand if Lin is feeling it.
That’s a huge plus for him as a player. With his outburst on Monday night, many people might be calling for the Rockets to start Lin at the one. However, I believe that Monday night only solidifies why Lin is so valuable as a bench player. It’s not totally indicative of his skill-level to put him on the bench, but it does maximize his worth to this particular team.