Whether it’s his perfect Math SAT score, the fact that he attended Harvard University, the fact that he’s one of the only Asian players in NBA history to have a legitimate career, or his plethora of hairstyles, Jeremy Lin is not your average NBA player.
Jeremy Lin was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 2010. Since he grew up in Palo Alto, California, it seemed like the perfect situation for the rookie. Unfortunately, he only stayed with the team for 29 games, and was moved down to the D-League before being dropped by the Warriors after the season. The Houston Rockets picked up Jeremy Lin before the start of the 2011 NBA season, but they cut him before the season even started. It looked like Jeremy Lin’s NBA career would be over before it even really began, but then Jeremy fell into the perfect situation.
The New York Knicks signed him on December 27th (not a bad Christmas gift). The Knicks were struggling with injuries, and needed more depth at the guard position. It looked like it was just going to be another stop on his transition from the bench of one team to another. To everyone’s surprise, Jeremy was given the opportunity of a lifetime on February 4th – he received his first legitimate playing time in a Knicks uniform. In his first game, he led the team to a win with 25 points and 7 assists. The next game, he proved it wasn’t a fluke by dropping 28 points and 8 assists. From there, Linsanity truly began.
Jeremy Lin went from someone who couldn’t buy a minute on an NBA court, to the most talked about player in the NBA. His brand really exploded after he faced the Los Angeles Lakers though. The Lakers were led by Kobe Bryant, who apparently didn’t even know who Jeremy Lin was at the time. It’s easy to see that Kobe learned who Jeremy Lin was pretty quickly, as Lin put up 38 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds on the Black Mamba to lead the Knicks to a victory over the Lakers. As if Lin wasn’t already on top of the world, he did this a few games later…
Jeremy Lin was shocking the world. Once he became a starter, MSG Network ratings skyrocketed almost 40% above the NBA average. To give you a better sense of his impact, here is how Twitter reacted to LINsanity.
At the end of the season, Lin’s play on the court earned him a 3 year, 25 million dollar contract with the Houston Rockets – the same team that cut him before the 2011 NBA season. In the 2012-2013 NBA season, Jeremy Lin started all 82 games at the point guard position for the Houston Rockets. While the Linsanity had worn off a little bit, as he was no longer in the Empire State, Lin was still producing decent numbers – 13.4 points, 6.1 assists per game. Lin ended up getting demoted to back-up point guard the following season in Houston though, and got traded to the Los Angeles Lakers to finish off the 3rd year of his 3 year contract. The Lakers were somewhat irrelevant in the 2014-2015 NBA season, which didn’t help Lin’s chances of signing a lucrative contract after the year was over. Luckily, Jeremy Lin was able to find a home in Charlotte – signing a 2 year, $4.4 million deal, which is only a quarter of the salary of his last contract. With that in mind, it is clear that Linsanity was no longer the hot topic in the NBA, but Jeremy wasn’t going to let his NBA career end just yet.
This season, Jeremy Lin is playing behind a quality starting point guard in Kemba Walker. Even as a back-up, Lin was able to show flashes of greatness this season, most notably with a 35 point performance in a win over Toronto earlier in the year. Charlotte was able to surprise the league by winning 48 games this season, making the playoffs as the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference, and then winning Charlotte’s first playoff game in 14 years! While Jeremy Lin is a back-up point guard for the Hornets, he is far more valuable than you may expect. He has turned into the spark off the bench that the Hornets so desperately needed. He has experience playing ample minutes as a starter, and not only knows how to score the basketball, but also how to run the offense.
As far as I’m concerned, LINSANITY IS BACK! He is a huge reason the Hornets were able to take the 3-2 series lead when they were without Batum for a few games. In the last 3 playoff games, he has scored 18, 21, and 11 points respectively off the bench. One thing clear about Jeremy Lin is that he knows how to show up on the big stage.
On a mission this season to prove that he wasn’t just a “one-hit wonder,” I think it’s safe to say that he truly belongs – not only on an NBA roster, but in an NBA rotation.
Lin has a player option at the end of the 2016 playoffs. Due to his play as of late, he is well deserving of a raise this offseason. If Lin decides to stay in Charlotte for next season, he will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2016-2017 NBA season.