Since taking the NBA by storm last season, Jeremy Lin has been under the league’s spotlight. His move to Houston raised serious eyebrows as many wondered if the move was best for the Rockets or for Lin. Having since arrived, Lin has had m
ixed results. Barring the occasional quiet game, Lin has been chugging along nicely as a point guard as well as a personality. His play has been average and he seems to fit well with James Harden. Yet for reasons known only to the basketball gods, Lin has been scrutinized beyond belief. This is not some new phenomenon though, as the young guard has been getting pressured pretty hard since exploding out of nowhere and sparking Linsanity with the New York Knicks. As soon as he had his first big game in New York, I heard people scoff and say he got lucky.
After a few more games, I heard people say he was on a fluky run. Once full-blown Linsanity took over, I heard broadcasters and fans alike doing all they could to distance themselves for Jeremy Lin. The “Lin-is-a-bum” bandwagon was selling tickets faster than neon suits at a Craig Sager family reunion. I just don’t get it. Why deciding Jeremy Lin was a talentless fluke was popular, I’ll never know. His inspired play in New York was suddenly set as his permanent standard, and for him not to meet it night in and night out, made him overrated to writers and fans everywhere. Lin putting on a Rockets jersey hasn’t done him any favors either. Before Harden’s move, I myself expected the overnight phenomenon to put the “Lin” in “Ballin”. The key here is before Harden’s move.
The thing that we have to remember is that Jeremy Lin is not Kobe Bryant. Jeremy Lin is not LeBron James, Jeremy Lin is cot Carmelo Anthony. However, those seem to be the standards he is measured by. To be frank, Lin doesn’t go for 40 every night and keep Linsanity on an endless loop because it’s not his job. It wasn’t his role with the Knicks, and it’s not his role with the Rockets. The thing about Lin is, he has all the hype of being “The Man”, a role he doesn’t seem to want to fulfill. Maybe it’s his play style. Maybe it’s just his personality. Either way, it’s not his job to be Linsane 82 games in a row. Try to remember the circumstances that brought him into fame.
A Carmelo-less Knicks squad was starkly in need of a scorer. They needed a go to guy when the going got tough. Naturally, this would go to Anthony. Due to his absence, someone had to fill in for him. Carmelo is such a dominant and intense player than there is no secret play, no creative defense, no special team that could do his job as a unit. So who would do it? It sure as heck wasn’t Amare Stoudamire. IN that moment, when the star was down, Jeremy Lin stepped up and made him the beast he is today. Once Melo returned things quieted down for the Knickerbockers and life continued on in the Big Apple. Lin became a starter and returned the job he was best at: tying up the loose ends. Once Melo was back, the only loose end that needed to be tied was the question of who was going to get the ball to Carmelo Anthony. Lin quietly accepted that job as his own as the season marched on. Now look at the Rockets. James Harden is proving quite effectively he will have no problem carrying the scoring load for that team for quite awhile. I see him totally living up to his contract, with an All-Star appearance or two.
What is Lin going to do?
The same thing he did in New York. Jeremy Lin is no fool. He sees that Houston’s best bet for relevancy right now is through James Harden. So if he goes strutting into the Toyota Center game after game trying to bring back the Linsanity that we so inexorably demand, he will single handedly take down the Rockets down the mediocre depths that they hovered about in for so, so long. When we criticize Jeremy Lin for not being an incredible superstar every game, we miss the point. That’s like criticizing Dwight Howard for not shooting enough threes, or telling Raymond Felton he isn’t dunking enough. The reason those players don’t do those thing is because it isn’t their jobs. I’m not saying it’s not Jeremy Lin’s job to straight up ball. I’m just suggesting demanding perfection is more than dumb, it’s unhealthy. Just the same, should the bearded wonderful fall at any point in the season, you can prepare yourself for Linsanity Part II.
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