Jeremy Lin, Kemba Walker Playing Well Affects Charlotte Hornets Differently

Jeremy Lin

One tweet in a response to our post about the Charlotte Hornets beating the Sacramento Kings while praising Jeremy Lin and well, not so much Kemba Walker, mentioned that it’s not obligatory to give Lin the thumbs up while bashing Walker every time.

And it raised an interesting point. The two aren’t at odds with each other, so why constantly press the point of the differences between the two players and what they mean for the team? Wouldn’t it be simpler to simply write about Lin having a good day, and just mention Walker scored an x amount of points, dished out a y amount of assists and made 25% or 50% of whatever you choose of his field goal attempts?

It would be nicer, and I think I wrote to someone once that it’s better to write about positive things. It usually works better traffic-wise from my experience. To quote one of my favorite films (Inception), positive emotion trumps negative emotion every time. And while we’re not dealing here with multilayered dreams and reality is different from the movie business, I do think people prefer reading good stuff about their team/player, unless it’s a scandal-gossipy type subject, which works on our mind in a different way, catering to other personal needs.

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But as a site that has been following Lin for quite some time and tries to be supportive of him while being subjective, it’s impossible to describe his performances and actually the Hornets’ as well without relating to obstacles in the way. No one is trying to make him fail on purpose (unlike his time with the Los Angeles Lakers and maybe under Kevin McHale too), but especially during this injury crisis, it’s sometimes baffling to see the Hornets do the things they tried to distance themselves from when they built this team during the offseason.

Maybe it’s Clifford panicking in certain situations and doing the easiest thing: Telling Walker to take the offense on his shoulders, which results in preposterous shooting numbers most of the time, although it can lead to him setting a new franchise record for points. Maybe it’s Walker himself letting some of the attention go to his head and deciding on his own to take over games with no one challenging him. Maybe it’s a order from higher up, and could have to do with marketing Walker as the star of the franchise or with Lin possibly being a one-year rental.

But the Hornets should be about making the playoffs and playing the best basketball possible to them, not anything else. And if that’s their goal, without trying to find hidden agendas and directives, playing Lin and using him while he’s on the floor, whether it’s with the first or second unit, is a must. Lin can’t be set aside to the corner as a decoy in order to watch Walker make or break a game on his own. A good Lin usually means the Hornets playing very well and often winning. Walker often operates in solitude, without it having an influence on the rest of the team or the game, especially with his defense being another weak point in his very narrow type of game.

There’s no fight for control of the team between Lin and Walker. I don’t know if they’re best buds or even close to that, but the Hornets do seem like a team with players that like playing with each other and chemistry isn’t the issue. But Walker represents an outdated way of playing and coaching in the league. Isolations while everyone watches the star go to work. I’m not saying Lin is the future because the NBA’s best are more than just one player and Lin isn’t some generational talent; he’s a very good player who does more than his numbers show and makes the team better, only to be marginalized at weird moments by his head coach, even when he’s the best the Hornets have.

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