His first and maybe only season with the Los Angeles Lakers isn’t the first time Jeremy Lin has been around players who’ll end up in the hall of fame one day, but it’s a very different thing playing next to Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, who won’t just benefit from their new teammate but could also be a very big influence on him.
He’s not in Texas anymore. This isn’t the Kevin McHale/James Harden show that almost seemed like it was designed to keep Lin’s career from taking off. Maybe that’s exaggerating, but there’s no doubt that Lin was being held back with the Rockets. There’s no promise that the Lakers will be a different story for him. There’s plenty that can go wrong for both him individually and the team, but entering a new season has to be done with optimism instead of just expecting the worse.
It’s easy to see how Steve Nash fits in mentoring Lin. Lin has been compared to him since he broke out in early 2012 with the Knicks. He’s also someone who can really help Nash from undertaking too much in his swan song season. But if there’s anyone to learn from about how to make your teammates better without neglecting your own scoring and picking the right opportunities, Nash is the man to learn from.
Sometimes, Jeremy Lin needs to be selfish. He isn’t the kind of player who needs numbers to show if he’s had a good game or not. Sometimes the most important players don’t get to put the finishing touch – scoring or that final assist, and yet they put their stamp and footprint on the game in different ways. Lin is that kind of player, but as advanced as scouting in the NBA can get, sometimes head coaches and general managers need something to hit them straight in the face to realize how good it is.
James Harden was selfish, but it’s quite clear Jeremy Lin didn’t look up to him. You need to feel like someone has something to teach you in order to be open to learning. Now, Kobe Bryant has never been the nurturing type, but an older, slower version player might be more open to sharing some wisdom and secrets of the trade. Bryant wants to win and now, but he knows it’s not going to happen with him playing like his instincts tell him to.
Lin isn’t going to be selfish. He’s never going to be James Harden or someone who simply looks to pile up some stats before the best interest of the team. But sometimes, it’s best for a team he plays for that he does ignore others, and uses his ability to drive towards the basket and create havoc in the paint. Lin has been compared to Steve Nash, the ultimate passer and facilitator, but even the best of passers need to forget about making others better. Rajon Rondo still hasn’t picked up on that, and maybe never will.
This is an interesting season for the Los Angeles Lakers. A new head coach and an unclear direction, but more optimism than last season. Maybe it’ll depend on whether or not this team can avoid an injury crisis like they had last season. The playoffs seem like something that’s difficult, but not impossible. Giving Jeremy Lin the responsibility, and also help from more than just the coaching staff but from two future hall of famers might make a huge difference.