More minutes, a bigger role. Jeremy Lin has never turned away from an opportunity to lead, and has usually proven to be capable and more when given one. It would be wise for the Los Angeles Lakers to look back and follow that notion.
Maybe there is no deserve in sports. Well, if this was a league in which head coach and general managers never make mistakes, that would be true. But reality is that despite “genius” general managers and head coaches who were hall of fame players and are probably very likable guys, mistakes happen at an alarming rate that makes you actually wonder if it wouldn’t be better for knowledgeable fans to make all these decisions for them.
Jeremy Lin has said he expects to play more. A bigger role and more minutes. His minuted dropped to 28.9 per game last season, as he started only 33 games out of 71, compared to 100%, 82 out of 82 during his first season with the Rockets. His per minute scoring improved a bit, and he shot better from beyond the arc. Despite McHale’s best efforts (allegedly) to make Lin an insignificant part of his team, it didn’t work.
But Lin can’t call last season a success. Yes, when given the minutes and the responsibility, he showed just how good he can be. It wasn’t always about numbers. Lin, especially when there’s no James Harden to make him redundant on the floor, made the Rockets play better. Suddenly we saw ball movement. Suddenly we saw players moving. It’s not that complicated, but it makes a very big difference when you compare it to James Harden slowing down the play and eating up the clock if he doesn’t see an opening for a shot he likes. He hasn’t really seen a shot he didn’t like.
Kobe Bryant is similar, but maybe the last two years have changed him. Bryant isn’t a bad passer or ball handler, but bad decision making hasn’t skipped over him, and a tendency to shoot too much never really goes away. This might spell a bad future and season for Lin with the Lakers, but one can’t expect to start the season completely filled with pessimistic thoughts. The Lakers didn’t pull the trigger on the trade for Lin, which means paying him a $15 million salary, just for that draft pick, did they?
No matter what the Kobe Bryant situation is, Jeremy Lin is their best point guard, regardless of if Eric Bledsoe comes over or not. Steve Nash is with one foot outside this league. Lin once again has his chance to lead a team. Maybe not very far. The Lakers aren’t that good, and this isn’t the Eastern conference. Kobe Bryant might be dreaming at night of that sixth championship ring, but it isn’t happening this season.
But this isn’t a lost season, even if the Lakers are ‘championship or bust’ in their arrogant mentality. More than just some good can come out of it, on an individual level and obviously for the entire team. Jeremy Lin has never been about stealing the show, but about providing one, given the right circumstances. There are still quite a few questions marks about the 2014-2015 Lakers, but Lin’s role in this endeavor shouldn’t be one of them.