In a post/article that’s as offseason as it gets, we go through the career of Jeremy Lin. From his beginning playing high school basketball at Palo Alto, through Harvard, and onto the NBA, where he’s played for the Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Charlotte Hornets and about to begin a new chapter on the Brooklyn Nets.
The story and career timeline is mostly demonstrated through photos, but we had to put in a few words for the sake of context.
High School: Palo Alto Vikings
Lin was born in Torrance (Los Angeles County), but grew up in Palo Alto, and played for Palo Alto High School (Vikings). In 2005-2006, his senior year, he led the Vikings on a 32-1 season, which included an upset win over nationally ranked Mater Dei (a high school known for its successful athletic programs), winning the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Division II state title. Lin was named first-team All-State and Northern California Division II Player of the Year, averaging 15.1 points, 7.1 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 5 steals per game.
Lin sent his résumé and a DVD of highlights to all the Ivy League schools, and also Berkeley , Stanford (his dream school) and UCLA of the (then) Pac-10. In the end, Harvard and Brown were the only programs willing to promise him a spot on their basketball programs, although Ivy League schools don’t hand out athletics scholarships. The Pac-10 schools wanted him to walk-on. Stanford has been criticized for missing out on someone from their own backyard, while Kerry Keating, the UCLA assistant who offered Lin the opportunity to walk-on, later said Lin would have probably been a starting point guard on the Bruins, although hindsight is… you know the rest.
Lin never helped Harvard to the NCAA Tournament during his four years with the Crimson, but he had a terrific career, and stood out in the final two seasons. He made First-team All-Ivy League in 2009 and 2010, and during his senior year led Harvard to numerous program records including wins (21), non-conference wins (11), home wins (11) and road/neutral wins (10). finished his career as the first player in the history of the Ivy League to record at least 1,450 points (1,483), 450 rebounds (487), 400 assists (406) and 200 steals (225). He averaged 12.9 points for his college career, including 17.8 his junior year and 16.4 his senior year.
NBA, Year 1: Golden State Warriors
Lin went undrafted, but an impressive Summer League performance landed him a two-year deal with the Golden State Warriors (the team he supported growing up), with a team option on the second season. He played only 29 games, not starting a single one, in his rookie year, averaging 2.6 points and 1.4 assists in 9.8 minutes a night. After the 2011 NBA lockout ended, the Warriors cut Lin on the first day of training camp. He was picked up by the Houston Rockets but waived before the season began.
Year 2: New York Knicks
The Knicks signed Lin on December 27 after Iman Shumpert got injured. After playing only six minutes a night through his first nine games, came his opportunity against the New Jersey Nets on February 4. Lin played 35 minutes, and legend suggests Carmelo Anthony told Mike D’Antonio to give Lin more minutes in that game. He scored 25 points in what was a career night up to that point, beginning a 11-game stretch referred to as Linsanity, in which Lin led the Knicks to 9 wins, while averaging 23.9 points, 9.2 assists in 37.9 minutes per game. Lin helped the Knicks make the playoffs but didn’t play due to an injury.
Years 3 & 4: Houston Rockets
Despite the success with the Knicks and the perfect fit in the D’Antoni system, Lin didn’t stay in New York, as the Knicks didn’t match the offer sheet from the Houston Rockets (RFA at the time), with plenty of ego, especially Anthony’s & James Dolan’s getting in the way. Lin played in Houston two years, in which he had a lot of big games, but saw his role diminished with time: From possibly the guy the franchise builds around, to playing next to James Harden, to sixth man, making way for Patrick Beverley. Kevin McHale never really knew what he had with Lin. Lin’s first postseason with the Rockets in 2013 was forgettable. He did a lot better in 2014, but the Rockets lost in six games to the Portland Trail Blazers despite home court advantage, going a bit too much with James Harden instead of others. Lin averaged 11.9 points and 4.4 assists through 145 games in Houston, playing 27.3 minutes a night.
Year 5: Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers traded for Lin and even got two draft picks, as the Rockets were trying to clear cap space in order to sign Chris Bosh. As close as it gets to a wasted season. Playing next to Kobe Bryant and worse, under Byron Scott. The combination of poor coaching, tanking, and simply disliking Lin from reading between the lines made it a pretty miserable season for Lin, who had some nice games here and there, but mostly, it seemed like he couldn’t wait to hit free agency. Lin averaged 11.2 points and 4.6 assists in 74 games, playing 25.8 minutes a night, often seeing Ronnie Price (!!!) start instead of him.
Year 6: Charlotte Hornets
Lin signed a two-year, $4.3 million deal with the Hornets in the offseason, including a player option on the 2nd year. Absurdly low, right? Well, he knew what he was doing. Lin’s regular season averages aren’t that impressive: 11.7 points, 3 assists per game, 26.3 minutes a night. But Lin was crucial in the Hornets return to the playoffs, leading a terrific second unit, and doing even better when Steve Clifford had the sense to give him big minutes, especially in big games, like the wins in Boston or over Cleveland and San Antonio. Lin was very good in the playoffs while the game was going through him, and was the main reason the Hornets came back from 0-2 down against the Heat to win three in a row. Alas, Clifford chickened out and went conservative with Kemba Walker in the last 2 games, and the Hornets got knocked out.
Year 7-???: Brooklyn Nets
Lin signed a three-year deal worth $36 million with the Nets after opting out of his contract with the Hornets. He’s promised a starting lineup spot, a lot of minutes, and playing under a coach he gets along well with (Kenny Atkinson), on a team that’s building around him and his capabilities.