Not everything makes sense in the world of the NBA, and one of them is the Houston Rockets starting and playing Patrick Beverley more minutes than Jeremy Lin. Maybe it worked out one game with a rare game winning shot, but over the long run it has been and will be proven that they’re simply making a mistake.
While starting Beverley over Lin doesn’t make the most sense, a lot of NBA teams don’t use their best five in the lineup, and play a starter 15-20 minutes a game, while a superior player still gets 30-35 minutes coming off the bench. That would make sense seeing the Rockets do that with Beverley and Lin, although the two also play together next to Harden when the Rockets are in their three-guard mode, often late in games.
But a lot of times the two come at the expense of each other. Beverley is a point guard, but he hardly plays with the ball, and provides an excellent excuse for James Harden to be handling the ball so much. Beverley isn’t someone who needs the ball in his hands to be at his best (which isn’t that impressive of a ‘best’), and gives Harden the chance to play and run the floor the way he wants it to be done.
No one is saying the Rockets prefer to lose just to justify their faith in Harden and labeling him their superstar, but it seems to be that Kevin McHale and Daryl Morey seem to think that by playing hero ball and relying on Harden’s late-game selfishness which sometimes results in “heroic” wins is the actual way to win a championship or at least improve. Think about it: A team that got Dwight Howard in free agency and is trying to surround him with shooters and players who can stretch the floor prefer to completely rely on a player that hardly passes when he needs to and takes away a lot of the touches their supposed franchise center needs to get.
But back to Beverley and Lin, who are connected with the whole Harden issue. Jeremy Lin’s minutes as an actual point guard reveal James Harden for what he is: A good shooting guard who has nights of very good and even excellent, but mostly a selfish player who does just as much harm as he does good when the ball is in his hand for too long, especially against quality teams. Lin might do a bit more with some selfishness and less ball movement and trying to help out others, but that’s always been the basis of what makes him a potentially great player: Being a true point guard, with excellent vision, that makes the Rockets look like an actual team and not four guys standing around and watching Harden debate with himself whether he feels like sharing or not.
The excuse of Beverley being a better defender is eroding and turning out to be a simple worn out cliche. Dragic and Green had their best moments when he was guarding them – not Lin, and not even Harden, who can be awful on his own at times on defense. Maybe some games aren’t as good for Lin as others, but it’s hard to expect someone to always be at his best when the coaches pretty much make a mockery of his playing time and his actual role. Lin, unlike Asik, hasn’t made his personal issues the top priority – the team always comes first. Too bad it doesn’t seem to be that way for the men running the show, who seems at times more concerned with keeping this a James Harden team instead of the best it can possibly be.