I know it’s been tough watching the Nets without Jeremy Lin. I have to admit, I actually haven’t been watching the Lin-less games very closely and have skipped many of their games, but it looks like Lin will be returning very soon so things with improve significantly for the Nets very soon. My bet is that Lin returns for the Lakers game. We’ll see.
I’ve been a casual observer of the Lin-less Nets, so I’m not sure if my views are valid, but, overall the Nets did better than I expected without Lin. They were right in it in a lot of games and did beat the Clippers. So I actually haven’t been too down about the Nets. Given how short-handed they have been, I think they did just as well as I could have hoped.
Of course, it sucks that Lin got injured, but it’s better than it happened early in the season, rather than, say in the middle of the season. We still have nearly 75% of the season left to go so there’s still a chance the Nets can still make something happen and I think the Nets learned a lot of good lessons during Lin’s absence. They now know without a doubt (if there was any sliver of doubt) that they need Jeremy Lin. And maybe once Lin is back, Atkinson will let Lin handle the ball even more. Of course, the Nets will ease Lin back, so Lin won’t immediately be playing tons of minutes and handling the ball all the time upon his return. Also, the guys who stepped up in Lin’s absence gained a lot of confidence. Kilpatrick is a prime example. And even though Whitehead is still a work-in-progress, just being thrusted into the starting lineup will give him confidence once he returns to the bench. Once Lin returns, he’ll be returning to a much stronger team than the team he was running. So that’s why I’m very optimistic about the Nets going forward, even though they’ve experienced a huge set back. In the long run, I think the absence of Lin has made this squad even stronger.
Lin has also made the most of his role on the bench, carefully observing and also serving as a quasi assistant coach. As a point guard, I think that will pay dividends for when Lin returns. By getting a chance to observe these games from the sidelines, almost like a coach, I think Lin will have an even clearer idea of what he needs to do once he returns to the lineup. I think it has also allowed him to get to know his new teammates better and understand their tendencies, which are critical things for a PG to know.
Jeremy Lin will not only return to a mentally tougher team, he’ll also be returning to a team with more talent with the additions of Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie. I think both of these guys have potential. I’ve been impressed with LeVert’s confidence. He doesn’t seem intimidated by the NBA stage, like a lot of rookies are. I’ve only seen highlights of Dinwiddie and everyone can look good in highlights, but I see a lot of potential in him. He seems like a smart player, who’s got size, can handle the ball and has good court vision. I think he should be ahead of Whitehead in the rotation and should be Lin’s first backup PG. But I don’t think that will happen anytime son.
Anyway, I know things look grim for the Nets, but it’ll all change very soon once Lin is back and gets back into his groove again. When that happen, the Nets will be humming and it’ll be fun watching their games again.