From the standing ovation Jeremy Lin got as he stepped on the floor in Toronto Raptors uniform for the first time in his career, it felt like it would be a good debut.
30 seconds later he showed his defensive awareness with a nice interception of a passing lane, although the fast break ended in his own turnover. He made up for it later on. His first assist came with 1:13 to go, handing it off to Danny Green for a wide open three.
The first points? They came with two and half minutes into the second quarter. Lin driving to the basket, faking a pass and creating a wide-open path for an easy layup. The earlier possessions showed expected and mild confusion about where the others on this team are supposed to be. The more minutes he got, the more comfortable he felt and looked.
The understanding of where to be and where his teammates will be shown in the second half, and also earlier during his minutes with Marc Gasol, which will likely be a very fruitful partnership on the court. His assist to OG Anunoby (he connected well with him too), or his layup off a beautiful assist from Kyle Lowry, proved Lin was getting used to the new environment quickly. Lin’s final points of the game came from another nice combo between him and Lowry, attacking the rim from opposite sides, with Lin moving into open space and Lowry cleverly finding him.
Lin finished the game with 8 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, all in 25 minutes, while shooting 3-for-7 from the field, including 0-for-3 from beyond the arc. He looked better driving to the basket than hitting long-range shots, the latter being an inconsistent part of his game after a strong start to the season. Pascal Siakam led the Raptors overall with 44 points, part of 6 players in double digits.
All in all, a nice introduction to being on a playoff-bound team (And perhaps more) again. How will his future with the Raptors look? Kawhi Leonard didn’t play, and the shortened guard rotation means he might have gotten more than Nick Nurse has planned for him on “full roster” nights. However, Lin brings versatility and a package of abilities that are hard to leave on the bench, regardless of other options the Raptors may have in the backcourt.
Lin’s averages so far this season: 10.7 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists. Shooting 46.5% from the field, 32.6% from three and 84.7% from the line.