It’s not quite clear if the Los Angeles Lakers will find themselves signing or trading for Eric Bledsoe in this off-season, but whether or not he lands there, they should start Jeremy Lin at point guard, and not only because he just might be the better player.
Bledsoe is a risk, and slightly arrogant for thinking he deserves a max contract. In general, we’re seeing too much money being thrown around to mediocre players while there is pressure from ownerships on star players to take less than the maximum. The rising of the salary cap changes the perception of numbers, or at least should. Yet still hearing someone like Bledsoe, playing only 43 games last season and having just one campaign with a double-figure scoring average.
You usually need a bit more to show before demanding $90 million for a five-year deal. But Bledose is sticking to his guns, making things complicated with the Suns, while the Lakers are considering giving him that kind of offer sheet. Kobe Bryant announced that he’s pleased with what been going on in Laker-Land this off-season. The Lakers are hoping to have enough cap space for a big move next year, although that was their plan for this off-season as well.
Number-wise, Bledose had a much better season than Lin last year, but he also was healthy for just half of it. He was also in a system that allowed him to produce and score and contribute like he means something, instead of standing in the corner, hoping that James Harden either gets off the floor or decides to notice him and give him the ball for more than 3-4 seconds on the shot clock. Bledsoe might be a better scorer because he’s more selfish with the ball. But usage rates and the place in the offensive system often creates misleading statistical differences.
Lin knows that he might be a walking ‘expiring contract’ at the moment. One season left on his deal, with $15 million in salary and $8.3 million as a cap hit. If the Lakers find a way to shed that money, knowing it means someone like Rajon Rondo, LaMarcus Aldridge or Kevin Love if he is actually available 12 months from now, Lin will be “sacrificed.” But Lin needs minutes if the Lakers want to get something out of that deal.
Lin himself needs someone to finally believe in him. We’re more than two years since those weird days in New York when he broke out. In Houston, there was never a consecutive period that last for more than three or four games that showed how good he is, how good he can be. No one owes him anything, obviously, but teams will be rewarded if they take that change on a point guard who just might as good as Steve Nash one day, but no one will ever get to find out if Lin keeps getting stuck in the wrong role and moved around for his value instead of kept for his talent.