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Jeremy Lin used to think he had to save Rockets’ basketball

Aug 20, 2013, 6:19 PM EDT

Houston Rockets basketball player Lin gestures during a news conference in Taipei Reuters

While he was in the middle of the swirling vortex that was Linsanity in New York, Jeremy Lin talked about trying to keep his head about him and not get sucked into it.

But he did a little — how could you not? — and that impacted how he played in Houston his first year. Lin admitted this at a youth conference in Taiwan, reported on by the Gospel Herald (via the Houston Chronicle).

“I was ready to invigorate the entire city of Houston … I was supposed to save Houston basketball,” he said. What happened next was not exactly what Lin had hoped for – he didn’t play well at the start of the season and took a back seat to a newly-signed teammate, James Harden.

Lin became very frustrated and anxious about losing his starting spot on the Rockets – “I became so obsessed with becoming a great basketball player … trying to be Linsanity, being this phenomenon that took the NBA by storm,” he said. “The coaches were losing faith in me, basketball fans were making fun of me,” said Lin, who was called “overrated” and “overpaid” by the media.

Like a lot of people in the spotlight, Lin had to learn how to tune out the outside noise and listen to himself, listen to those closest to him. For the devoutly Christian Lin, it meant getting back to his religious roots. He says he has now.

Lin has a role to play on the Rockets, but it’s not as the top star — and with Harden it’s not always as the ball handler. Lin has to pick his spots on the court, fit into a new role. That could take some time — this season is largely going to be about finding those roles for all of the Rockets. They need to mesh. They need to figure out who they are in the context of the team.

I expect to see an improved Lin next season — not at a Linsanity level, that was a perfect storm of circumstance, but at a level where he is a key role player on a team where Harden and Dwight Howard are the stars. Lin had weaknesses (left hand, for one) and if he improved them he could be a third or fourth option, and he could have a good pick-and-roll with Howard. He just doesn’t need to do too much.

  1. brotherlove2012 - Aug 20, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    It baffles me that a player without a reliable opposite hand can survive in the NBA as a guard. It’s not like he is overly athletic either. A perfect storm indeed …

    • badintent - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:44 AM

      38 on Kobe……. History don’t lie

      • kb2408 - Aug 21, 2013 at 12:11 PM

        First of all, 38 wasn’t “on” Kobe. Though I’m sure that makes the legend of Lin better. Secondly, that game will ultimately become the highlight of his career.

      • badintent - Aug 22, 2013 at 12:18 AM

        Almost all on Kobe.But you can hang the Giilbert Areas’s 61 ALL ON KOBE.

  2. dylude - Aug 20, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    He needs to do one thing well:

    Shoot the 3.

    If he can do that at an above replacement clip, he will have done his job for spacing for Dwight.

    Shoot the 3 and the haters will be silent.

    • kb2408 - Aug 20, 2013 at 10:19 PM

      “Haters”? What haters?! The word is completely misused these days. Nobody is hating on Lin. He hasn’t done anything for him to even have haters!!

      • 00maltliquor - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:07 AM

        Nah, he has haters. True story.

  3. money2long - Aug 20, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    aside from the stats he put up during linsanity, he had numerous clutch moments. and that can’t be overlooked.

    • daddyghi - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:11 AM

      …plus, harden is a ball hug.

      • kb2408 - Aug 21, 2013 at 12:12 PM

        Harden had to shoot the ball a lot for that inept team to have any chance last season.

    • 00maltliquor - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:14 AM

      Yeah, remember the NYK vs. TOR game.

      I also distinctly remember him lighting up my Lakers like a damn Christmas tree put up way too early on the 4th of July. Outside of that particular game, “Linsanity” was fun and refreshing. I wish the best for this kid.

      • badintent - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:45 AM

        Classy . And I’m eating Japanese Pocky chocolate sticks. Try them.

  4. captainwisdom8888 - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    Jeremy Lin has always reminded me of Tim Tebow in ways. They are two very likeable guys who came onto their respective scenes with a very big splash, launched media frenzies, and quickly were put up onto a pedestal of sorts. Both guys garnered a lot of early respect, especially for being clutch, but later on both of their abilities would come into question. Both are widely considered to be overrated. The media loves nothing more than these types of figures in sports to come around, anyone they can put up on a pedestal to generate the news stories…with the grand finale always beings the eventual fall from grace being the biggest story of all.

    • 00maltliquor - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:16 AM

      Not to mention both are very religious. Yeah, I always thought that too.

  5. legendsports124 - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Hopefully Lin has worked on his game. Patrick Beverly played well in the playoffs. Lin would have been OK in NY but he was greedy. Won’t be surprised if Rockets trade him.

    • coolstorybr0 - Aug 21, 2013 at 1:27 PM

      How was Lin greedy? Lin Wanted to play for NY, but they told him to test the market in order to get him for less. Houston made an offer, but NY NEVER offered him a contract.

  6. e39er - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    Please he’s a solid PG but he’s def not an all star, I’ve been watching him since his college days (esp when he went up against John Wall and dropped 20 something) I knew he was gonna get some playing-time but his fundamentals need work

  7. astrosfan75956 - Aug 22, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    From what? Cap space

  8. imakcds - Aug 22, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    I said it when Houston signed him, he’s overpaid. He survives on Intelligence, he is a notch below NBA talent physically. He’s a good PG coming off the bench, but I wouldn’t want to rely on him as a starter.
    Intelligence and Hard Work paid off, more power to him.

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