The inconsistencies of Jeremy Lin’s season in general and time with the Toronto Raptors in particular carry on. Sometimes they have a more pleasing outcome, like in the easy win over the New York Knicks.
The Raptors won 117-92, a second straight win in a bumpy time for the team as well. Lin finished with 12 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, knocking down one three pointers and playing 26 minutes. Unlike a lot of other games, Lin had a lot more on-the-ball time, playing as a true point guard, which often does wonders for his confidence and his shooting. On the other hand, he also hit one of his 3-point attempts at the side of the backboard.
There was also quite a lot of garbage time in this game, but that’s less important. With Lin needing confidence boosters, this was the kind of performance that gives it to him, coming after four straight games in which his point total was 13 and he shot 26.3% from the field.
Vs the Knicks it was 4-for-8 from the field, 1-for-2 from three and 3-for-4 from the line. Once again, driving to the basket quite often which resulted in open looks for teammates, trips to the line and one acrobatic finish at the rim.
The question is – what does this mean for his role down the line, especially in the playoffs? When Kawhi Leonard isn’t playing Fred VanVleet is in the lineup next to Kyle Lowry and Danny Green. Patrick McCaw and Jodie Meeks can also fill in some backcourt minutes. While Lin excels with the ball in his hands, playing in key moments means having Lowry on the floor, and that means waiting for the ball to come to him.
In the end, Nick Nurse’s job isn’t to give Lin the best platform to showcase his abilities, but for the entire Raptors team. It’s a legit argument whether it’s even better for the Raptors in Lowry-Lin backcourt minutes to have Lin as the main ball handler and not Kyle, but it’s hard to believe that in April and hopefully May or even June (!!!), this will be the direction the Raptors go in. Conclusion – fair or not, it’s up to Lin to show that he can make the most of minutes, whether as a ball handler or off the ball shooter.
Lin’s numbers after 69 games: 9.9 points on 44.4% from the field, 29.3% from three and 83.5% from the line | 2.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists in 19.6 minutes per game.