Over the course of the following season, we’re going to hear a lot about Linsanity. Even though Jeremy Lin in 2016 is different from the player who broke out in 2012, the connection to New York (now starting something new with the Brooklyn Nets) is going to make most media outlets try and ride the wave of surging popularity with what worked last time.
Lin has gone through a lot over the last four seasons, since leaving the New York Knicks. He’s played for three teams, and hasn’t been a national item anymore. He had good and bad times with the Houston Rockets, mostly bad with the Los Angeles Lakers and then an away-from-the-spotlight season in Charlotte with the Hornets, which helped him establish his place in this league among starting point guards, and not being just any player.
Linsanity might be a nice way to try and capture his return to New York, but in truth, it has very little to do with current events. Lin is a different player, a different person. In 2012, it was literally an explosion out of nowhere. Lin caught everyone off guard with a series of games that in the long run, might have done more harm than good. It branded him as a certain type of player, for good and bad, in the eyes of those who don’t really watch games, but just follow highlights and headlines. For a couple of weeks he was the king of New York, and then after a certain game against Miami, he was trash. He played well after the Heat simply targeted him in a humbling game, but people were moving on to the next trend. Lin not getting the chance to establish himself as a starting point guard for anyone since simply fed the narrative, trolls and haters.
It’s going to be collective, and Brook is going to be a big, big part of it as well as other players. But I’m definitely coming in understanding what my role is. I’m the playmaker. I’m the point guard. I’ve got to lead. I’ve got to be an extension of the coach, and I’m not shying away from that role at all. For me, being 27 now, that’s something I wanted. It’s a challenge I wanted to embrace, and I can’t wait to do that. I’m going to be the guy bringing it up the floor and leading the team. And that’s definitely something that appealed to me.
Expectations are going to be the same for me. I am going to go in and keep my mind right, keep trying to play for God. The last few years, I have been able to live with the results. There have been disappointing times — my Lakers season in 2014-15, losing in the first round. There definitely are going to be a lot of disappointments. But I know I did things what I felt like was the right way.
Not everyone running and coaching teams in this league is clueless (most aren’t, actually). Lin had some special games last season, in the biggest ones for the Hornets actually, at least when Steve Clifford understood he has to turn to Lin. His best games weren’t some replica of Linsanity. It was Lin as he is now. Not wild, unexpected and making the most of going unchecked. It was a player who has evolved over the years, both offensively and defensively, showing what happens when he’s given the role he’s always wanted.
Lin will have big games in Brooklyn, and he’ll have his down moments too. They happen to everyone. But the Nets counting on Lin no matter what, and sticking with their long term plan to build a team with him and around him, will pay off in the end. It’s not a matter of deserve or just. It’s simply a matter of simple basketball understanding. Good, smart players do well, and fit in well with a good team being built around them. There are still a lot of question marks regarding how the Nets will look personnel-wise, but it’s hard to argue about their choosing of Lin, which is absolutely the right one.