Throughout the season, Jeremy Lin has been one of the Houston Rockets‘ most valuable commodities. Whether it’s been as a starter or coming off the bench, he has been able to produce at a high level and helped the team succeed.
When he came to Houston in the summer of 2012, he was immediately entrenched as the starter. Coupled with rising star James Harden, the Rockets suddenly developed one of the top backcourts in the NBA.
Lin has always been known as a guy who can create for himself and his teammates by getting to the basket and being a terrific decision maker in pick-and-roll plays. It’s how he had immense success with Tyson Chandler during his one year with the New York Knicks.
People anticipated coming into this season that he could duplicate that success with Dwight Howard. Such has not been the case as the two have not found the necessary chemistry together.
Lin also is a liability on the defensive end. He has seen his minutes drop at times due to that deficiency, especially with the Rockets having a tough defensive minded guard in Patrick Beverley.
Beverley is basically everything that Lin is not. Lin is a much better offensive player who does not necessarily need the help of his teammates in order to be effective. On the other hand, Beverley is a tough-nosed defender who gives opposing point guards fits with his style of play.
In a way, these two are actually perfect compliments for each other.
For the season, Beverley has started 31 of the 32 games he has played in. Lin has started 24 of the 39 games he has played in.
As the season goes on, Beverley will more than likely be the point guard that starts the games, while Lin will come off the bench as long as all of the regular starters including Beverley, Harden, Chandler Parsons, Terrence Jones and Howard are healthy. Coach Kevin McHale likes to bring Lin off the bench due to his offensive ability which often times provides a spark to the second unit.
When Beverley, Harden or Parsons have missed time, McHale has generally pulled Lin into the starting lineup. The fourth-year pro has missed 10 of the team’s 49 games thus far. They are 6-4 without him and 26-13 with him.
For the season, Lin is averaging 13.4 points, 4.5 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 46.3 percent from the floor. He can be a difficult player to defend also because of his ability to get to the free-throw line. Lin is averaging 4.4 free-throw attempts per game and is making 80 percent of his attempts.
He is basically the Rockets’ sixth man off the bench as he is not a permanent starter, but that should not diminish Lin’s value to the team. Due to league rules, he is unlikely to be an eligible candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year award as he would need to finish the season having come off the bench in more games than he starts.
He is always ready when he is called upon. That being said, Lin is clearly one of the Rockets most important players.