The biggest question surrounding the Houston Rockets’ decision to bench Jeremy Lin and start Patrick Beverley is how it will impact Lin’s game. We have already seen how Beverley does in the starting lineup.
Last year, when Lin was out hurt, Beverley stepped in and did exactly what you would expect a player like him to do: he filled the gaps and played defense.
What we have yet to see, though, is how Lin’s game works with the bench unit in a regular season setting. Will he be more aggressive, seeing as he doesn’t have to share the ball with James Harden? Less aggressive, because he wants to get everyone involved? Will he pick his moments more often than we saw him do last year?
This week, while speaking to the Houston Chronicle, Lin spelled out exactly how he planned to play if he were permanently moved to the bench.
“Just attack,” he said plainly. “Just be aggressive. I don’t try to change anything. I think I get in trouble when I try to change my game. I’m just trying to be consistent. With different lineups, you will have different looks. But that doesn’t mean you stop attacking.”
That’s exactly what Rockets brass was hoping to hear from him. Moving Lin to the bench isn’t just a great idea for the team, it’s a great idea for Lin. This way he won’t be suppressed the way he is as a starter beside Harden, and he’ll be able to explode the way he did during the height of Linsanity.
For what it’s worth, Beverley said exactly what folks were hoping to hear from him, too.
“I have the same mindset,” Beverley said. “If I’m coming off the bench or starting, doesn’t matter to me. Same focus, same passion, same attention to details.
“Games and championships are won with defense. To go out there and set the tone early is a big key for us, definitely a big key. I just go out there and do what I do and have fun doing it.”
You need Beverley to play defense and be a glue guy. You need Lin to attack and not have to pass the ball to his shooting guard every time down the floor. So long as Lin and Beverley pledge to do just that, them swapping roles in the starting lineup is inevitable.