It won’t matter if Jeremy Lin is the best point guard the Los Angeles Lakers have. If he isn’t going to play under a head coach that respects him and doesn’t try to fail him on purpose, changing cities and teams isn’t going to help him fulfill his potential, and the Lakers will suffer for it as well.
Still no new head coach for the Los Angeles Lakers. Byron Scott, interviewed for the role multiple times, might be the leading candidate for the position, but it’s too soon to tell. Is that good or bad for Jeremy Lin? Impossible to say. No one knew Kevin McHale was actually going to damage his career when Lin first arrived in Houston, with plenty of noise and expectations.
The two most important men on the Los Angeles Lakers are Mitch Kupchak and Kobe Bryant. Kupchak has an ownership situation to deal with that doesn’t exactly make his job easy as the Buss kids are capable of running this franchise into the ground but generally, he’s one of the better General managers in the NBA, even if he did sanction that $24 million a year deal to Kobe Bryant. Sometimes showing others that you take care of your own is worth the negatives of that deal, which outweigh the positives in the eyes of those who aren’t Lakers and Kobe fans.
Lin, at his best, reminds people of Steve Nash. Maybe he’ll never be that good, but some people forget it took Nash almost a decade to become an MVP level player, who took a franchise on its back and became someone who made everyone better. He needed a chance, and it took him some time to get there. First with the Dallas Mavericks, and it also didn’t happen right away. When he landed in Phoenix, it was a very different story. A player in his prime, ready to lead and take over.
Lin has things to improve. His shooting, his defense, his decision making at times when he slashes into the paint and sometimes tries to pass without actually looking. Maybe he needs to be a bit more selfish as well with the ball. He’s excellent when it comes to attacking the rim and creating holes in a team’s defense. But he needs for a team and especially the coach to make him a point guard.
Nash isn’t a starting point guard in the NBA anymore. I’m not sure he’s an NBA player anymore. Not his ability, but the back problems that won’t go away. He’s slower on his feet and in his mind. He isn’t retiring, but playing him for plenty of minutes isn’t a very good idea unless the Lakers are planning on tanking for another season, which I assume isn’t what they have planned. They might find it difficult to make the playoffs in the loaded West, but it shouldn’t be as bad as it was last season.
Not if Kobe Bryant is healthy. He doesn’t need to be the Bryant who takes the game on himself and scores 25-30 points a game. I’m not so sure he can do that for more than once in a while. He needs to be a shooting guard who lets someone else handle the load. He needs his ego to allow him to let go. That is important, just as it is to find a head coach who knows what he’s doing. Just as it is important for Kupchak to add more of the right stuff to this rebuilding team.
For Lin, it’s about being given a chance. For getting a head coach who realizes what he has in his hands. For Kobe Bryant to let go. For this team to play some defense, which is going to be tough considering the personnel. This is a big chance for plenty of players. There’s a better feeling around this team than there was last season. Lin is part of the reason, but without giving him the right role and minutes, it’s not going to make much of a difference.