For some reason, it took Byron Scott way too long to announce Jeremy Lin will be the starting point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers this season, or at least for the opening game before things get re-evaluated.
And yet, despite Lin finally getting the nod he deserved to get from the moment he became a Lakers player, he would have remained a sixth man or a second-unit player if it wasn’t for Steve Nash, not surprisingly, going down for the entire season before it even began.
Who thought that a 40-year old point guard with only 65 basketball games on his resume over the last two season was going to be able to fill out the role of starting point guard? Sure, being the starter doesn’t mean more minutes. A lot of time a player that’s better defensively gets the starting role but doesn’t play more than 15 minutes a night. But Nash has never been a good defender, especially not with his back being in such bad shape for such a long time.
Scott had his doubts about Lin being in the lineup. Why? Because he wants someone to lead the second unit. Kobe Bryant, regardless of the point guard playing next to him, is going to have the ball in his hands quite a lot. The second unit doesn’t have that “luxury” so Scott decided it might be more important for Lin to be part of the bench unit, and maybe get included later in the game.
Now that Nash is injured and the other point guards are Jordan Clarkson and Ronnie Price, there’s no real competition. Lin is going to be the starter and will probably get 35 minutes a night at least if not more. He’ll also have time to play with the second unit, that at some point will include Nick Young, another player who isn’t a point guard but loves having the ball in his hands.
Lin once again finds himself playing next to a shooting guard that loves having the ball in his hands, under a head coach that is less powerful than the star he’s coaching. Talk about your Dejavu to the Houston days that aren’t that ancient. In fact, they happened only six-seven months ago. And yet this is a bright new opportunity for Lin and the Lakers, who might be even better off without Nash slowing them down and limiting them on the floor.
It’s symbolic that Lin’s first game will be against the Rockets – McHale, Beverley, Harden. Lin isn’t the kind of player to talk about revenge or getting into personal matters, but there has to be more than simple motivation inside of him seeing red coming to Los Angeles. Both he and the Lakers will benefit if both Scott and Bryant realize that a lot of the time, the ball should be in Lin’s hands. It’s just one game, but setting the tone and proving a point can go a very long way.