Like many of you, I saw Jeremy Lin’s press conference. It’s clear to me that Lin is in a very good place mentally, psychologically and physically. He appears to be completely over all the nonsense that took place with the Toxic Rockets (which is still ongoing, with Harden’s latest remarks about everyone else, aside from Howard and him, being merely role players or “pieces”.) Thank Lin’s God we don’t have to deal with all that craziness anymore.
I’m so over the Rockets, I barely paid attention to any of that stuff with Harden, yesterday, or the delusional tweet that Patrick Beverley sent about how he was angry about not being included in the US Olympic team. Like I keep tweeting: “Toxic Rockets”! Of course, it still gives me great pleasure to see how much that organization is falling apart in front of everyone’s eyes. As long as Harden, Morey and McHale stay, they’re not going to be any good. If they don’t get a Point Guard in there, I don’t expect the Rockets to make the playoffs this coming season. Nick Johnson, could emerge as the PG that they need. That’s their only hope in my eyes. The chemistry of that team is a total mess and McHale is only going to make that chemistry worse. To me, chemistry is the most important element to the success of a team. Not “superstars” and especially not wannabe leaders (real leaders don’t feel the need to remind others that he’s their leader). Harden actually hurts a team more than he helps. I’ve discussed this in the past and it appears that people are only starting to see this now. It actually gave me pleasure to see that thoughtless quote by Harden, because it shows me that Harden hasn’t learned a damn thing and I hope he never does and remains a Rockets for life. I also really hope the Rockets keep McHale and Morey as lifers, as well, but I expect both to be fired after the Rockets miss the playoffs or have another first round exit.
Anyway, enough about the Rockets. Jeremy Lin is a peace and that’s what matters. In my open letter to Jeremy Lin, I expressed concern about his psyche. The press conference yesterday put my concerns at ease–at least for the time being. I still think Lin can benefit tremendously from expanding beyond bible verses to work through issues that he encounters, but being a devout Christian, I don’t think that’s likely. At least he’s doing his best with his Faith. One thing that I’m a little concerned about is that Lin seems to take pride in being a martyr (as if that’s the Christian thing to do). And I think that holds him back when it comes to being a little too respectful to ask for what he wants or needs and taking everything that people throw at him, no matter how unfair it may be. I think that attitude caused him to be pretty much a punching bag for McHale and company in Houston. But, again, it’s always tough to push back against the guy who pretty much owns your job. So I’m not sure if there was anything Lin could have done about being demoted in Houston that would have made the situation better. I think he could have at least been more upfront with the media about his disappointment with being demoted, but it’s tough doing that and not come off looking bad. McHale certainly wasn’t about to listen to anything Lin says and had no regard for Lin whatsoever. So maybe just taking it and biding his time was the right thing to do. Lin comes out as the good guy in the whole Toxic Rockets drama and now has a fresh start with a great opportunity. That being said, it’s not always going to work out like that, so I hope Lin learns from his time in Houston and doesn’t continue to be a martyr throughout his career in the NBA. This is one situation in which his view of his Faith runs up against a star NBA career.
What Lin’s faith has given him is peace of mind. Again, this can be found through so many other avenues with arguably more depth, but I guess you work with what you know. So I’m glad to hear, from Lin’s testimony, as well as at Lin’s press conference that his Faith has allowed him to really move on from his mistreatment in Houston. I was glad to see Lin calling out McHale and Harden in a respectful manner in this interview: “I believe I’m a much better player now than I was in New York. You can’t always account for your role or the system or the way the coach uses you…there’s so many different factors. Your teammates and how that affects the way that you play. What your role is…I do believe in myself. I do believe I’m capable of what I think I’m capable of. I believe that I’m a much better player now than I was three years ago in New York.”
The reason that I was glad to see Lin calling out McHale and Harden is because it shows me that Lin does still believe he is a star NBA player and that he is a better player now than during Linsanity, which is completely accurate. One thing that Lin said at the 15:50 mark of his press conference that really stuck with me is, “I’m not trying to be a player in the past, I’m trying to make history again. And it’s not so much about me trying to be something that happened beforehand…now I’m looking to the future and trying to be a much bigger and better player than I was ever before.” To me this is a very confident statement from Lin. It’s as close to a macho statement as you’re going to get out of the very humble Lin. He is essentially saying that he’s not looking to re-create Linsanity and be just a passing phenomenon. He’s looking for sustained, long-term success and be an NBA star in this league, making history as an Asian American. At least that’s my interpretation and I was ecstatic to hear that. The whole reason I wrote Lin that open letter is to try and help him get to this state of being and it appears as if he’s already there. So I think Lin is in a good state of mind to compete and I think coming to the Lakers is one of the things that has allowed him to get to this state. I’m not sure if he would be in the same state if he was being introduced as the newest member of the 76ers. So this is yet another reason for the Lakers being the ideal destination for Lin.
At Lin’s press conference, he also expresses that he’s going to play the way he knows how to play (i.e., his brand of basketball), regardless of who’s injured or whatever the situation is. And that is so good to hear, because it shows me that Lin has learned a lot from his time in Houston and is going to be more vocal about being played the right way with the Lakers. This is, again, a state I was hoping he’d get to (with the help of Tony Robbins) by the start of this season and it looks as if he’s already there. But, of course, it’s one thing to say it, but another altogether to really live it. I’ve heard Lin say this about playing his game even during his time in Houston, but it was very difficult for him to consistently follow through on that with a coach that undermined him at every turn. So I think Lin will have a real chance to play his brand of basketball consistently in Lakerland.
The other thing I was glad to hear from Lin’s press conference is that he seems to be on top of the main things he needs to work on. Lin revealed that he’s working on being under control and aggressive at the same time, like Chris Paul or Tony Parker. He’s also working on playing with a change of pace so he doesn’t go 100% all the way to the basket, forcing the issue and committing turnovers that could be prevented. To that end, he’s working on his floaters and I’m also hoping that he works on stopping short of the basket to throw up a short jumper or gather himself to pass out to open teammates. All of these tools would make Lin that much more difficult to stop and it will make him a force in helping his team win games, which is what Lin is really about.
Before free agency, things looked very bleak for Lin in my eyes. I couldn’t envision any really ideal scenarios for Lin and could only see a handful of “I can live with that” options. There’s no way I could have imagined myself sitting here now with so much optimism as a Jeremy Lin fan. I couldn’t have imagined Lin being in such a good state of being (so at peace with himself and his NBA career) and I couldn’t have imagined the media turning so favorably towards Lin so quickly. When Lin was in Houston, it was a constant battle against the media to report accurate things about Lin and now, there’s been a volume of articles saying a lot of accurate things about Lin, making it clear that Lin was misused by McHale. Of course, many still buy into the myth that Lin is an average or below average defender. Hopefully the truth there will be revealed soon after the season gets underway.
Lin’s move to the Lakers has been a remarkable surprise. I went from dreading the upcoming season to really looking forward to it. And I know Lin is beyond thrilled about playing for the Lakers. His joy at his press conference was palpable. There’s a lot to love about this Lakers team that Lin is joining. And I think they have real potential to make some noise, because of the makeup of the team. There’s a very nice mix of studs, veterans, lottery picks, and young guys with a lot of depth. And every player on the team has something to prove, something to fight for. So I think this will only draw them closer to one another and allow them to build the type of chemistry that is so important to the success of any team. This Lakers team is the antithesis of the Lakers team with Kobe, Nash and Howard in every way. And I think this Lakers team will over achieve to the same degree that THAT Lakers team underachieved. While all “analysts” was praising that Lakers team, I kept saying that they are a team with a bunch of superstars that have no chemistry. I rooted for them to fail in order to change the conventional mindsets of the NBA that superstars are everything.
While nearly every “analyst”, using their very dull conventional minds, is calling this Lakers team a lottery team, I’m very confident that this Lakers team will make the playoffs and they’ll shock all of the shortsighted “analysts” who are counting them out. Before free agency, I was mainly just hoping for any random place for Lin to go to where he can start. I was thinking mainly of teams that would be the bottom of the barrel. But Lin suddenly lands in a storied franchise, playing alongside a couple future Hall-of-Famers who have a real shot at making the playoffs and making some noise. So this is beyond anything I thought was within the realm of possibility for Lin. I think Lin has a real shot at being the Point Guard of the future for the Lakers, which would be huge for Lin’s career. If Lin performs the way I expect him to this season (18+ pts 7+ asts), Lin could get an equally lucrative contract next season. People may think his $8 million per year contract is “ridiculous” now, but Lin is actually worth a lot more than that, if played the right way. The Lakers will get more than their money’s worth, as long as Lin remains healthy this season.