The Los Angeles Lakers are taking their time in their rebuilding attempts. No moves on the trade deadline, which means more tanking and losses, not to mention frustration for the fans. There’s also frustration for players caught in this situation. Jeremy Lin isn’t alone in this “trap”, but he’s probably the best of those that were hoping to get away.
The Lakers might be tanking, but they’re not trying to stockpile on draft picks. Simply hoping for their draft pick to yield something nice, for Julius Randle to come back, for Jordan Clarkson to be worth the minutes he’s getting, and secretly for Kobe Bryant to simply fade away and allow them to finally start moving in.
But from the way things look now? The Lakers are going to need at least one more season of some luck and some better decisions to put themselves on the right path towards improvement. Jeremy Lin isn’t going to be part of these plans, but it might be a good thing for him. He’s an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career this summer, giving him some power in choosing his next team and especially his next situation. The right situation, hopefully.
Lin should be playing the minutes he deserves, which is closer to 30-35 a game, but that’s not happening right now. He should be playing on a team heading to the playoffs, but despite certain, weak rumors, nothing actually happened. Instead, he’s going to be seeing a lot of senseless time on the bench, and going through a whole lot of losing.
The numbers might not show it, but Lin is the best player on the current Lakers team. He just doesn’t fit the narrative the Lakers are going for: Losing as much as possible, and selling some sort of building for the future by playing guys, or at least some guys, that have a contract next season and are young with some sort of potential. Lin is better than them. Now and in the future. But he’s not a Laker next season, and might actually hurt their attempts to finish with as many lottery balls as possible.
The trade deadline is behind us. Jeremy Lin didn’t get the trade he wanted. It means that unless something drastic changes for Byron Scott in his thought process and the way he views the hierarchy of this team, there won’t be anything new to say about Lin (wink, wink), except for the brief moments when he’ll get more than 21-22 minutes and get the chance to show us what he can do, which shouldn’t be a surprise or such a rarity at this point.
Like kids countdown the days to the end of their school year and the beginning of their summer vacation, Lin has just under two months to wait for the end of what is going to be remembered as a disappointing, almost wasteful season. Going through these trials isn’t bad for a player, and he might be thankful for it a few years from now regarding what it taught him and how it made him stronger. But good basketball players need to play, not get caught up in tanking policies and the whims of someone who shouldn’t be coaching in this league anymore.