It was not too long ago that Jeremy Lin took the NBA world by storm as the bench warmer from Harvard University became an overnight sensation and created “Linsanity” in the biggest and brightest stage of Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Those days are long gone now as Jeremy Lin finds himself struggling with his new team, the Los Angeles Lakers.
After being shifted off from the New York Knicks to the Houston Rockets, who paid handsomely for him, a cool $15 million, he was unable to recreate Linsanity for the Rockets. Maybe the pressure was too great, after all, it was a new coach, new teammates, and new surroundings.
At that time, everybody wanted a piece of him, some wanted him to succeed and some wanted him to fail miserably.
Soon after James Harden came into the picture, stole the show and to add insult to injury, he got demoted from starter position to backup point-guard losing his job to a so-called superior defensive player, Patrick Beverly.
Although there were moments of Linsanity with the Houston Rockets even after coming off the bench, there were not enough for him to be moved off again, this time to his current team, the Los Angeles Lakers.
He had a string of good luck in the beginning as veteran point-guard, Steve Nash, was unable to play due to a career-ending back injury. Jeremy Lin then took the starter point-guard position but playing alongside his new teammates, new coach and workaholic superstar, Kobe Bryant, should have been a blessing, but again that was short-lived as Lin instead struggles to fit in. Lin cited not enough practice with Kobe to get a good feel of his playstyle. Most of his chances to play with Kobe was during live games.
To make matters worse, both Kobe and Lin needed the ball to be in their hands to become effective players. Of course, in the end, we know who is going to get the ball, right?
It is not so much that Lin isn’t producing, but he is not producing consistently as some games he was scoring big, 15 points or more and then some games, he was not even on the scoreboard with only a few assists.
A few no show games on the scoring board, again Lin suddenly finds that he lost his starter point-guard job to the veteran, Ronnie Price, the reason this time is that Price is supposedly tougher than Lin. To put Lin versus Price into perspective, in the 2013-2014 season, Price had scored a total of 74 points while Lin had 890.
But as we look closely at Lin’s current predicament, it is some part his own doing and some part brought on by the inept coach, Byron Scott.
Lin’s problems start with his self-doubt and over-analyzing paralysis of the game. Instead of going out there to make plays and have fun doing it, he over-thinks about the game causing turnovers and taking bad shots. To make matters worse, for every turnover or bad play he makes, he gets singled out more so than other players, maybe because of his salary or just maybe because he’s different.
Lin’s confidence is now shaken as he is afraid to make mistakes because he does not want to be blamed so he takes an even more cautious approach to his game, but unfortunately it is backfiring on him. By being overly cautious he actually downgraded his game instead of elevating it.
As for Byron Scott, well let’s just say he is not coach Gregg Popovich, to put him in the same sentence is almost an insult to Pop. Scott is not a good coach, making bad subs when his Lakers team has the momentum and when they are hurting during crucial plays, he just let them ride it out instead of making adjustments.
Some see Scott tanking the season to try to pick up good draft picks as the reasons for his boneheaded decisions, but truth be told he has enough of a team now to be in the playoffs. Unfortunately he just does not know how to bring out the best in them. He wants his players to fit his mold instead of utilizing their natural skills and abilities for them to succeed.
As for Jeremy Lin, sometimes to be one of the best and take his game, to the next level, he has to endure and rise above it all. He only has to look to Jackie Robinson and what he had to go through to create immortality. Lin has to forget about the self-doubts, the haters and just play like it was his last game because he did it before and he succeeded spectacularly.