Jeremy Lin Is What The Brooklyn Nets Need, When He Plays

It was a curious move when the Brooklyn Nets acquired the well-traveled Jeremy Lin before the start of this season. The idea was to get a man who could bring stability to the point guard position and work well with center Brook Lopez but free agency was an exercise in futility.

It was not for trying.

But bringing in the man who brought LinSanity to Madison Square Garden was an intriguing move since Lin has struggled to reach those rarefied heights ever since. Yet, the problem this season has not been Lin’s performance on the court, which has been quite exemplary actually. It’s keeping him healthy enough to stay on the court that has bedeviled the Brooklyn franchise.

Lin, 28, missed six crucial weeks in December of 2016 during which time the Nets were trying to find their identity while he learned how lasting a hamstring injury could be at its worst. The Nets learned that that they had a chance to win with Lin at the point and almost never without him. An 8-25 record without Lin expresses this point pretty clearly.

Brooklyn as well as Lin could not foresee Jeremy playing only twelve games thus far when they handed him the keys to the Net offense with a three-year, 36 million dollar commitment. As Lin told “I think the whole process has not been what I anticipated in terms of getting the opportunity to be on this team, but that’s life.”

The irony of it all is that Lin has been the ultimate tease when you see him play at all as he is averaging his second most points in a season at 13.9/per game, his best since his New York Knick stint. He also has assisted at a 5.8/per game clip while grabbing 3.3 rebounds.

Now plastered to the bench with his second hamstring injury this year, it’s a case of wait and see what can be salvaged for the current season.

What has to be eating at Lin is that he has been dying for this chance that no team since the Knicks seemed to want to place in his hands solely. He has been in demand around the league as the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, and Charlotte Hornets all took turns to get Lin.

But luck has played a role in those places. Who was to know the Rockets would get James Harden shortly after he arrived and make him into a sidenote for three seasons?

Lin is valuable to teams as a draw for Asian-American fans but he is still treated as a novelty, a one-trick pony, and the Lakers, with an injured Kobe Bryant seemed to be bringing in Lin for just that. But his inability to adapt to a different system under Byron Scott saw him replaced quickly as starter by a journeyman called Jordan Clarkson.

After the Knicks rejected a return to New York, Lin made the playoffs with the Hornets but after a first-round elimination he was looking for an escape, a fresh start. Brooklyn seemed to be the place. A chance to play in a style that suits him.

Lin is the solution to the Nets most glaring problem.  But with his second but less serious hamstring pull in a new spot on the same leg, this is sounding a lot like another former Net guard, Deron Williams, who often would show brief flashes of his brilliance due to nagging injuries during his five seasons with the Nets.

Is this just an aberration with Lin showing the goods in years two and three and proving all the skeptics wrong or is it is harbinger of things to come? It’s impossible to say but Lin looks at the positives and maybe Brooklyn can still get a second-half sample of what could be.

“It’s more how you respond to it,” Lin explained, “I’m given this. How can I still pour into my teammates.” The answer will determine the course of the Brooklyn Nets second act.

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