The last couple of games for Jeremy Lin have shown why he just might be the most important player on the Charlotte Hornets. But his status as the gamechanger off the bench might not be enough for him, maybe always looking for a better role in a more trusting situation.
Lin is averaging 15 points in the last two games and believe it or not, 29.5 minutes per game. Maybe the most impressive number of his two fantastic performances against Memphis and Boston are the 5 blocks. He leads all guards in blocks per 48 minutes. Yes, better than John Wall or Dwyane Wade. And yet it still feels as if Steve Clifford has yet to realize what kind of player he has on his bench. Maybe it’s better for him to keep coming off it, but constantly outplaying the starting lineup and changing the game has to do something to shake up Kemba Walker and his hold on a certain number of minutes no matter how inconsistent he is.
And then we come to the Philadelphia 76ers. What does the franchise with just one win when we’re in mid December have to do with Lin? Well, the “vision” of losing and acquiring draft picks to build a contender is starting to get tired. Maybe some fans (who knows, maybe most of them) still prefer tanking to mediocrity and the ownership, following the Sam Hinkie plan, didn’t seem to mind. But the other NBA owners care about the brand value being hurt in about every possible way by a team trying to do it’s best to lose games.
So suddenly Hinkie isn’t running things on his own, he has Jerry Colangelo as a special advisor, which mean slowly taking over some of Hinkie’s responsibilities and decision making. While head coach Brett Brown has been re-signed for losing like the ownership wants him to, there’s been talk (confirmed by Brown himself) with Mike D’Antoni to take on the role of an associate head coach. And you say D’Antoni, you immediately go back to the Linsanity period and the Lin breakout.
Lin has changed since then, and D’Antoni himself has taken a hit or two through coaching, especially with the Los Angeles Lakers. But his basketball beliefs and strategies? They’re probably more relevant than ever with the league moving more and more towards lineups that are about moving the ball quickly, spreading the floor and giving up on a “true” center, like the Hornets have done very successfully thanks to Al Jefferson’s injury and suspension.
But Lin to Philadelphia? Probably premature, and until we actually see the Sixers show any kind of sign that they’re planning on winning games from 2016 moving forward, and we’re talking about 30-40 games a season or more, not in the teens kind of numbers, it doesn’t sound like such a good idea for any veteran player who cares about playing for a team that’s going to make the playoffs.
The Hornets might not want to trade him anyway. Lin does have the option of opting out at the end of this season, but we’re too early in the season and his own process in Charlotte to know where this is going. Logically, it makes sense that he’ll opt out even if he wants to stay because he’s being underpaid more than anyone else in the NBA at the moment. But until he and the Philadelphia links turn into more than just ‘out there’ rumors a lot of basketball is going to be played.