Contract years are a different kind of breed in the NBA scenario. Players often focus on padding up their own stats in order to get a fat juicy contract when they become free agents before reverting back to their “real” selves. Jeremy Lin is in that kind of situation this season with the Los Angeles Lakers and even though it’s slightly against his nature, he has to start playing for himself as well as the team.
Being selfish works, as long as you don’t over do it. Lin has always been a team first kind of guy, and maybe that attitude and style has slightly hurt him in terms of appreciation from groups of fans and the general NBA community. Maybe there was nothing he could have done differently in Houston – the cards were stacked against him in the form of James Harden, Daryl Morey and Kevin McHale, yet in hindsight, you can always suggest he also made mistakes.
The Lakers are a new page in the book of his career – a momentary one. He’ll be the starting point guard more likely than not with Steve Nash not really capable of playing more than 15 minutes a night if he wants to last the entire season. Whether or not Kobe Bryant will actually allow Lin to hold on to the ball and play real point guard is a different question, but assuming that he does, Lin needs to be a guy who takes care of himself as well.
What does that mean? Not always being a pass first, second and third kind of guy. Lin is excellent when attacking the rim. His criticized high turnover ratio (something he did cut back on last season) comes from sometimes over thinking things when he gets in the paint. Looking for passes instead of scoring lanes. With 82 games on a team that’s probably not going to be making the playoffs, having the ball more than last season can mean a chance to improve his credentials, even if it comes slightly at the cost of seeming a bit selfish at times.
No more Linsanity. Lin has said it, and even if he does have a breakout week or two, which he has had with the Rockets themselves only to be downplayed for certain reasons, it shouldn’t be surprising or shocking anymore. Lin is a very good point guard who like many others in the NBA, sports and life in general, simply needs more of a chance and bigger window of opportunity. The Lakers aren’t guaranteed to provide him with one, but so far in his career he has shown, to those willing to see and learn at least, that putting the ball in his hands benefits the team as well.