Jeremy Lin is the lead point guard for the Houston Rockets, a team that is first in the NBA with a blistering top mark in pace factor. He’s also in his first full season as an NBA starter, working in the last week before a much needed All-Star break, while still recovering from a ligament tear some 11 months ago. You’d be fine to question the young man’s legs, given that information and context.
And he’d be fine in proving you wrong. Lin managed one of the plays of the highlight-rich Houston Rockets’ season on Sunday night in Sacramento:
That would be Lin getting the block on Kings’ guard Aaron Brooks, and then going coast to coast for the huge throwdown on long-armed Kings wingman Francisco Garcia.
The Rockets ended up losing the game, and though Lin finished with fouling out he had a solid enough night overall – 12 points on 5-8 shooting, six assists to one turnover. Letting lowly Sacramento pile up 117 points is not a season highlight, but the Rockets have recovered nicely from a seven-game losing streak the squad put together in mid to late January. Houston has won seven of 11 contests since, and now stands two games in front of the Portland Trail Blazers for the eighth and final seed in the West, and 3.5 in front of the Los Angeles Lakers – a team that may have seven weeks to go before it can re-introduce itself to Pau Gasol.
If you’re re-introducing yourself to Lin as you re-introduce yourself to the NBA at the break, it’s true that he has fallen off from his time in New York – mainly because of a terrible start to the season he has since recovered from. A good starting quality point man overall, but without the ability to dominate the ball as much in Houston as he did with the Knicks, Lin’s assist percentage (the number of possessions he uses that end in assists) has gone down considerably even though his turnover percentage (the same, but with miscues) has stayed about the same and one of the NBA’s worst for guards. And he still needs to add that three-point shot.
Remember, though, the Rockets added All-Star James Harden just days before the season started, and after the team’s training camp and exhibition schedule. Houston grabbed one of the NBA’s biggest ball dominators, and the two had to learn to co-exist on the fly, all while Lin (who has played more games than anyone else in the NBA so far) recovered from last season’s MCL tear. Also, he’s 24 years of age and 14 months removed from playing in the D-League.
Houston has a pair of tests to round up the time leading up to the break, playing in Golden State and in Los Angeles against the Clippers. Fittingly whirlwind-y, as it always seems to be in Jeremy Lin’s world.