The worst kept secret in the NBA was Jeremy Lin’s inevitable move to the bench. Whether it be because he feared fan backlash, or simply because he wasn’t one hundred percent confident in the decision, Kevin McHale didn’t announce that it was official until the day before the regular season began. Heck, he didn’t even announce it at that point; Chandler Parsons spilled the beans after a practice session.
Surely enough, when the Houston Rockets took on the Charlotte Bobcats two days ago, Lin came off the bench and Patrick Beverley started at point guard. Houston ultimately won by 13 points, although the game wasn’t even as close as the final score indicates. They dominated from start to finish.
And Lin? Well, he just put up a quiet 16 points on a super efficient 5-7 shooting.
This is where he should have been all along. The fans knew it. The team knew it. Most importantly, though, Lin knew it. He saw McHale’s decision coming from a mile away, just like the rest of us.
“I have known for awhile so it is not really a surprise for me,” he told the Houston Chronicle. “I think for me, I am just focused on basketball. You know I, I need to control what I do when I am out there like I said. I feel like I am beating a dead horse with some of the things I’m saying.”
Lin has always been a smart basketball player, and the advantages his new role presents are clear. He can dominate the ball, guilt free; shoot as much as he wants; exploit inferior second-string defenders; and not have his own not-particularly-great defense exploited by the league’s top point guards.
The distinction between starter and reserve means nothing, results mean everything. Lin gets that.
“Last year, I started and there were games where I didn’t play much,” he said. “I might play the first six minutes of each half and that was it. You have to look at the game as a whole like how many minutes you play and what you do when you are on the floor. So for me, it is not that big of a deal for me being in second unit and being able to attack and have that freedom to be able to be freelancing a bit. I think that will be fun.”
The Rockets will take on the Dallas Mavericks tonight at the Toyota Center.