Every team usually has a head honcho in charge to create the bond and synergy that makes a team worth more than its collective pieces. The 2016-2017 season is set to reveal the emergence of a few key players who will lead teams to as many wins in the season as possible. Jeremy Lin is one of the players being groomed to lead the Brooklyn Nets against their army of doubters.
Lin popped up on everyone’s radar seemingly out of nowhere during the ‘Linsanity’ hot streak he had with the New York Knicks. The 28-year-old point guard has changed hands a few times since then, playing for the Lakers, Rockets and Hornets, but he has settled into Brooklyn for the 2016-2017 season.
He has an average of 11.7 points per game, but has always played an ancillary role to someone else. In New York, he had Carmelo. In LA, he (sort of) had Kobe. In Houston, it was Howard and Harden. In Charlotte, he didn’t have much of anyone but still wasn’t in a leadership position.
Now, tough times in Brooklyn dictate that the franchise will be looking to Lin to step up his game. He could be considered the franchise player for the Nets, which isn’t as much a testament to Lin’s ability as much as it is for the unfortunate position the Nets are in. Lin’s 3-year, $38.3 million dollar contract with the Nets shows that the Nets organization really does believe in Lin.
Lin spent the summer working on his jump shot, in particular his catch-and-shoot 3s. As far as NBA shooters go, Lin isn’t the best with a 34.8% success rate in his catch-and-shoot 3s. If the Nets are looking to build around Lin, they will create plays that allow him to shine as an offensive shooter, rather than a playmaking point guard.
In Lin’s first game of the preseason, he went 5-for-8 from the 3-point line in 17 minutes. He’s building confidence in his shot, and coach Kenny Atkinson wants to continue encouraging him. Having a point guard with a deadly 3-point shot prevents the other team from crowding the floor in anticipation of a pass. Just look at how teams have to play Steph Curry and you’ll get an idea of what the Nets might be trying to do.
Having Lin prove that he has a dangerous outside shot is going to eliminate most spacing issues the Nets could face.
Small forward Bojan Bogdanovic has an average of 10.2 PPG in Brooklyn, power forward Luis Scola has an average of 12.2 PPG, and the rest of the team isn’t much better. What Brooklyn needs is some more scoring power, and until then Jeremy Lin is going to have to fill that gap the best he can.
This move to Brooklyn might actually be huge for Lin’s career. In the 2015-2016 season, he wasn’t even close to even making the top-50 list of scorers in the NBA. Given that the list factors in other variables like field goal percentage, 3-pointers per game, and many more, Lin is going to produce a much better overall performance offensively this season.
Once the Nets can start getting Lin to average around the 20-25 points per game, which is no easy feat, they will start getting their money’s worth. In the Nets’ 101-94 win over Detroit during the preseason, Lin had 21 points. In the following loss to the Heat, he had 16 points.
Lin has the potential to transform into one of the NBA’s stars. He already has a massive following in Asia and United States due to his Chinese heritage. As one of the few Asian-Americans to ever play in the NBA, this is a pretty big spotlight.
Lin’s story is also pretty spectacular. The common career path for a guy with an Asian background born in Palo Alto who went to Harvard is not playing as a point guard in the NBA. Now, Lin is on his way to becoming the poster boy for the Brooklyn Nets, in the affluent and gigantic city of Brooklyn.