There are a number of reasons, some subjective, others objective, that people think the Brooklyn Nets will be the worst, or one of the worst, teams in the NBA this season. One of them is how little respect or knowledge many fans and NBA reports have when it comes to Jeremy Lin, basing their opinions on things they saw from him around four or three years ago.
Lin didn’t disappear after his inexplicable breakout with the New York Knicks in 2012. He simply didn’t become the superstar some expected him to become. And it’s not that Lin peaked with the Knicks. Yes, that stretch of numbers hasn’t been matched or replicated by him over the course of a season or even an entire month, but Lin is a better, smarter, more experienced player today. He’s a much better defender, despite those clinging to that old label of Lin being a liability on the defensive end.
People don’t understand that Lin’s career hasn’t always been shaped by him playing well or not. Too often, the egos of team owners and preconceptions of narrow minded head coaches pushed Lin towards the bench, roles that don’t fit him, just so he gets out of the way. It’s pretty well known that James Dolan and Carmelo Anthony couldn’t stand Lin taking over the Knicks in 2012 and becoming the hottest thing in the city.
Kevin McHale never liked Lin, and was worried of giving him time with the ball let it spoil James Harden’s dominance. Harden was quoted that the Rockets haven’t been on the same page for the last four years. For player who loves the ball and not so much letting go of it unless he has to, it’s hard for me to understand what is it exactly that he doesn’t like about how the Rockets ran their offense since he arrived. Maybe now he realizes that not making him the almost only ball handler on the team would have been a better way for the Rockets to build towards championship contention.
Byron Scott? People look at Lin’s numbers from the Lakers, and how he “lost” the starting job in Houston, and think it has something to do with Lin failing. But Lin has always played the part given to him, sometimes doing a lot more. There’s a reason both McHale and Scott are out of a job right now. Their views on basketball have very little to do with things that go on in the NBA today. The Rockets making the conference finals in 2015 has little to do with McHale’s understandings of X’s and O’s, although there’s obviously more to basketball than that. Scott understands neither the strategy or the motivational-psychological part. Maybe he did at one point in his career. With Lin, just like with young Lakers players last season, it was outright obstruction of their careers.
In Charlotte Lin proved a number of times that going to him as the team’s main executioner and ball handler doesn’t hurt, and possibly even tops what they got from Kemba Walker. Lin isn’t a ball handler who demands 100% of the possessions to be in his control. But using him as a decoy in the corner is borderline idiotic. We’ve written about four of 17 times on the site, but one more time wouldn’t hurt: I’m convinced that sticking with Lin as the team’s point guard in games 6 & 7 of the playoff series with the Heat would have sent the Hornets into the next round. Obviously, we’ll never know.
Lin’s situation in Brooklyn is ideal in terms of getting full control and very little expectations to succeed as a team right away. It’s not that he wouldn’t want more players around him that can handle the ball and create; no team should be with just one playmaker. However, after a number of years that included too much moving around, too many minutes wasted on and off the court, being THE MAN has to feel good. And while Lin’s motivations aren’t coming from a negative place as far as we know, it has to be nice feeling like it’s about time to show the non-believers how good of a player he really is a,d always has been.