No more games for Jeremy Lin with the Los Angeles Lakers, and the end to a one-year period in which he improved as a basketball player but probably gained nothing of it from his head coach, Byron Scott.
How can we determine Lin improved this season with the Lakers? His per minute numbers did slightly improve compared to last season and the same goes for his per possession stats. But probably not by enough to suggest a radical change has happened.
But played don’t improve by having it easy, and there was nothing easy this season for Lin. A starter at first next to an aging NBA legend who refuses to release his death hold over a team that’s on a serious decline, followed by getting benched in order to insert the awful Ronnie Price into the lineup, getting the yo-yo treatment later on from Scott, who has spent most games this season standing, sulking and crossing his arms, followed by either sucking up to Bryant or berating everyone else but Jordan Clarkson in post game press conferences and interviews.
Maybe the Lakers players should have done what Los Angeles Kings players allegedly did to their head coach (Darryl Sutter) this season, although it’s hard to believe any good would have come out of it. It’s hard to think of a single player on this team that’s actually improved this season, except for Clarkson, who is a rookie, and gets a free pass to do whatever he wants to on the floor since entering the lineup.
And while Lin has had his bad days this season and moments of his confidence reaching low points, he is no longer the player who feared his NBA career isn’t going to last for very long, back when he was playing for the Golden State Warriors or the New York Knicks (pre-Linsanity). He’s been through enough to know that Scott’s “method” of coaching isn’t going to ruin him. Just made things more difficult for him, but there’s a silver lining which is that nothing is forever in the NBA, including the bad things.
Lin will be a free agent after a season that began with high hopes in the offseason and turned into a mix of disappointment, frustration but also some bright moments in which Lin once again showed how gifted of a playmaker and finisher in the paint he is. Someone that can carry a team both on the floor and as a leader through actions and words. It didn’t do the Lakers a whole lot of good, but the people running this franchise into the ground (professionally, not financially) didn’t want to win anyway.
Lin has a choice, a number of choices now. It’s his first unrestricted free agency, and he has the opportunity to put his career on the right path once again, instead of once again being in a situation which puts his progress on hold. Obviously, luck is also a factor in how it all turns out, but there aren’t too many Byron Scott’s left coaching in the NBA, luckily.