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Warriors front office takes heat because Jeremy Lin got away

Feb 15, 2012, 4:35 PM EDT

Knicks guard Lin smiles during player introductions before the start of the Knicks' NBA basketball game against the Timberwolves in Minneapolis Reuters

At the time, Golden State was letting go a little-used guard who spent time in the D-League to clear the way for a $10 million a year offer to DeAndre Jordan, the big-time center the Warriors needed (and still need).

Now, they are the team that had Jeremy Lin and didn’t realize what they had.

That has left Warriors fans asking why team management didn’t recognize what they had and why they didn’t give him an opportunity to have this kind of magical run in the Bay Area.

Here is what Warriors consultant Jerry West said on the Dan Patrick Show (as relayed by Matt Steinmetz at CSNBayArea.com).

“He was a very good friend of the owner Joe Lacob and his son, and they played together. And they signed him. And they saw something there in him, and during the process of trying to sign DeAndre Jordan, there were certain players that had to be moved off the roster….

“To me, don’t place blame (for Lin being let go). You give credit. The credit goes to Jeremy. A lot of things in sports are about blame. There’s no blame here. It’s just maybe some people didn’t see what he had inside.”

Mark Jackson never even coached Lin — he couldn’t contact him over the summer and Lin was cut the first day of training camp — is getting the questions, too, even though he had almost nothing to do with it. Here is what he said to 97.5 The Game in San Francisco (via Sports Radio Interviews).

“(Lin is) playing with great confidence and is not afraid of the moment. That’s one thing I knew coming in. He was a guy that would compete and get after it. I’m happy for him because at the end of the day we have a point guard in Steph Curry. I was at Starbucks yesterday and a guy asked me about Jeremy Lin and Steph Curry and I asked him who was a better player. He paused and because he took the pause I just told him thank you, have a great day. Enjoy your cup of coffee.”

Lin simply did not play this well last year for Golden State. It’s why he was sent to the D-League — he shot 38 percent, he had a league-average PER of 14.8 while using just about 15 percent of the possessions while he was on the floor. He worked hard at his game in the off-season, clearly, but they didn’t take a look because they have Stephen Curry at the point. The Rockets picked him up but they have Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic at the point and he wasn’t getting chances.

The Knicks had no PG to speak of and Lin’s skill set fits exactly with what they needed. Success for players not named Kobe or LeBron — who can succeed anywhere because of their skill — is about opportunity and fit. Lin improved his game, landed in a spot that was a good fit and great opportunity and took advantage. In the process he proved a lot of people — myself included — wrong about what his ceiling would be. That’s what makes this such a good story.

We Americans love the idea that if given the chance, we all could have that kind of success. And right now, in this economy, we need that story more than ever.

  1. bearsstillsuck - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    Yes, thank you for reminding us that’ll well never get his opportunity, and well never make as much money as he will. Stories like this just make me feel so warm and fuzzy inside. But I am happy for him and hope he keeps it up.

  2. raidmagic - Feb 15, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    Steph Curry is a better player so GS fans shouldn’t feel too bad for themselves about thier starting point guard situation.

    • drunkenjunk - Feb 15, 2012 at 5:28 PM

      yup, and where were the minutes gonna come from in the backcourt? If he was still there he would be behind Curry, Ellis, Thompson, and Robinson for any play. I’m happy for Lin but i’ll be happy for all this to go away.

    • AlohaMrHand - Feb 15, 2012 at 5:45 PM

      Step CuRry is also hurt once again and has a history of ankle trouble.

    • anhdazman - Feb 15, 2012 at 10:42 PM

      That’s not the point, the point is Warriors management made another bone headed player decision and lost a good player for absolutely nothing.

  3. steelerswin6 - Feb 15, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Way too soon to conclude anything

  4. losangelasbasketball - Feb 15, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    How did he not at least make 2nd string for gs or la?

    • kinggw - Feb 15, 2012 at 9:21 PM

      Because he is a product of D’Antoni’s system. Go back and look at Nate Robinson’s numbers in his first year with D’Antoni. They aren’t far off from Lin’s. Lin is a great story, but I think its pretty clear he is a system pg. Its the same reason why Ray Felton went from averaging 17/9 with the Knicks to averaging 12/7 with the Nuggets and 10/7 with the Blazers.

      • idontevenwannaknow - Feb 15, 2012 at 9:29 PM

        Agreed kinggw,

        the guy has talent, but, truth is, almost any pg you plug into D’antoni’s system produces well. I will still reserve judgement until after a few weeks playing alongside ‘Melo. If he (Lin) can succeed, while also giving ‘melo all those shots that ‘melo needs, I will refrain from having any more skepticism regarding Lin.

  5. glink123 - Feb 15, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    So apparently, because they already have Curry, they don’t need a $600k backup PG who can get them 28 ppg and 8 asst.

  6. cadub49er - Feb 15, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    Nice article, Kurt. What is also helping Lin is NY has the guys who can complement on the pick and roll.
    I wonder if Curry and Ellis are putting in the same time off the court as Lin does.

  7. goforthanddie - Feb 15, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    Can’t pick on GS, every team in the league screwed this one up. Time to start scouting the Ivy League maybe?

  8. dolphins4 - Feb 15, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    That is why Golden State will never win an NBA championship.

  9. glink123 - Feb 15, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    A system PG?? So then what does that say about the slew of guards the Knicks trotted out at PG this season prior to Lin? If its such a “system”, why did everyone else totally s u c k?

  10. cmbailey7384 - Feb 15, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    There’s a HUGE Asian community in the Bay Area too, GS could have racked up huge amounts of money of the merchandising alone, even with Steph and Monta, just having this kid coming off the bench for 20 minutes a game would have done enough to motivate the Asian community to come out and support the team!

  11. kappy32 - Feb 15, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    I’m happy for Lin, but why do we need this kind of story in this economy? The two do not correlate with one another. This guy is from Harvard; since when do we view Harvard Grads as “underdogs”? Maybe in sports there aren’t many Harvard Grads who make it, but if basketball didn’t work out for him, I’m sure he would have a $250k/year job somewhere because of his Harvard degree.

  12. anhdazman - Feb 15, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    As well as the blame should be placed on their management, scouting team, coaches prior and Mark Jackson. You need to do your homework. You had Lin on your team for the whole year. You should have seen his talent, his work ethic, and projection. This is the NBA, you can’t make this kind of mistake on players and have success running your organization. Mark Jackson took the Warriors job, he should have done a much better job of learning his roster and knowing what he had. Don’t tell me, oh I never saw him play before. You took the head coach position, do your job.

  13. africanballer - Feb 16, 2012 at 4:24 AM

    What is happening to Jeremy Lin is fate. No one should be blamed for whatever reason. The boy is just a humble asian guy walking through his destiny and it’s fun to watch him.

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