Linsanity: Here, There, Everywhere

Lift our team up in prayer — that I would play with a completely surrendered heart to God. The higher the stakes, the more I tend to try to hold on/stress/worry rather than trust God that no matter what happens He is in control and has a perfect plan.” Jeremy Lin expressed that  prayer after Charlotte lost their first two playoff games.

The Hornets won the next two playoff games, tying the series at 2-2 against the Miami Heat.

Like Tim Tebow with his touchdown celebrations, Jeremy Lin became known for his pregame prayers. Open about Christianity as his faith, his basketball career would be empty without the very thing that keeps him humble in times of success and hopeful in times of failure.

Rejection came early. Jeremy Lin applied to his dream schools Stanford University and University of California, Los Angeles. But schools from his home state of California showed little to no interest in recruiting him as his athleticism did not outshine the average players on the court. Unlike the Pac- 12 Conference schools, Harvard saw point guard intellect in his ability.

Lin ended up playing in the Ivy League for the next four years where he set multiple Ivy League records.

No team drafted Jeremy Lin in 2010. He wasn’t appealing to NBA teams for the same reasons few colleges took interest in his talent; they saw a smart passer and nothing else.

He joined the Dallas Mavericks in the Summer League, where he trumped first overall pick John Wall. Besides winning over the audience, Lin also received offers from several teams before deciding to play for his home team, the Golden State Warriors.

Lin may have graduated college, but he became no less studious. Many of his coaches noticed he was always the first to arrive to practice and the last to leave. He always worked closely with the coaches to constantly pick up ways to improve. Additionally, he would spend extra time studying plays and techniques. A persistent mentality was also his talent and the reason for Lin’s drastic improvement throughout his career.

During a tentative two-year contract with the Warriors, Jeremy Lin was demoted to the D-League three times – going back and forth from the Warriors.

In January 2012, he was assigned to the Erie Bayhawks of the D-League. Soon after a great triple-double performance, he was recalled to the New York Knicks but still feared being cut again. He even made plans to pursue a non-basketball job if his career in the NBA didn’t work out.

The climax of his career was the fame producing Linsanity.

Baron Davis was injured and coach Mike D’Antoni gave Lin a chance to play. In his first game starting, which was against the Nets, he scored 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists. His stats stayed at those heights until a game against the Lakers six days later, when he outscored Kobe Bryant with 38 points. He continued to play extremely well every time he was on the court, and he became an restricted free agent after that staggering season but the Knicks refused to match the Rockets offer.

Notably, Jeremy Lin swayed the attention of the Asian audience. Being the first Asian American to play in the NBA, he had already been very popular in San Francisco where there is a high Asian population. When news came out that an Asian American suddenly became a star in New York, people had to witness it for themselves. His ethnicity played a role in how big Linsanity became.

The following two seasons with the Houston Rockets weren’t as euphoric for Linsanity. Lin struggled. His shooting plummeted and his ball handling became less reliable. The Rockets had to move him to the bench. With all of the ups and downs in his performances, he ended his latter season at Houston with a 44.6% field goal percentage.

The 2014-2015 season with the Lakers wasn’t much easier for Lin as he had to learn to work with an offensive strategy that he wasn’t used to, the Princeton offense. This dissonance caused coach Byron Scott to demote Lin behind point guard Ronnie Price.

What made this past season with the Hornets different from the others is not stats. In fact, Jeremy Lin’s stats may even look worse than it did with the Lakers and Rockets.

During his only season in Charlotte, Lin truly led his team. Not only was he solid in his point guard role, he managed to stay healthy while many of his teammates rested due to injuries. His shooting is still very inconsistent; although he does a stellar job driving to the rim. He knows his physical limitations and is able to compute it into every play he makes. He works around his weaknesses, and that’s what makes him so valuable.

Lin has now circled back to New York – this time across the bridge to the Brooklyn Nets. Being one of the top point guards in free agency, he was able to land a three-year contract for $36 million dollars. His main goal isn’t money though; it’s to finally find a home after being on the move throughout his NBA career.

 

photo via llananba