As if Jeremy Lin didn’t have enough to worry about, the Houston Rockets essentially rubbed his face in the dirt by showing Carmelo Anthony in Lin’s number. There’s something sacred about numbers in sports, which is why we retire them. I’m not saying that Lin deserves to have his jersey hanging in the rafters at the Toyota Center, but putting Anthony in Lin’s number while Jeremy is still there is extremely disrespectful.
Lin had something to say about it, too:
Luke 6:29 – If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them
— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) July 2, 2014
Can we blame him? Are the Rockets burying Lin before he’s even dead? We all know that Lin’s salary is a sticking point in the Rockets attempt to bring Anthony to the team, but this act was simply classless and not very well thought through. Lin is a proud player and any self-respecting player would have taken offense to the situation.
Lin (again) seems to be the odd-man out in Houston, after feeling the same way with the New York Knicks during the Linsanity era. He fought through some struggles in 2013-14, but Lin ended up with respectable averages of 12.5 points, 4.1 assists and 1.0 steals in 28.9 minutes per game. His shooting line of .446/.358/.823 was better than all of his career averages as well.
Still, Lin continues to fight for respect — not only within the league — but within his own organization. Public murmurs of whether Lin could handle the starting point guard role were thrown around and eventually, Lin lost his role to Patrick Beverley. When we look at Beverley’s numbers (at least his offensive numbers), it appears Lin was the better choice. In Beverley’s 56 games, he averaged 10.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.4 steals with a shooting line of .414/.361/.814.
Take a look at the two side-by-side.
Anyone who watched the Rockets on a regular basis will argue that Beverley’s defense was the reason he was ultimately awarded the lion’s share of the starts — and they’d only be partially correct. Beverley allowed opposing point guards to put up a 14.3 efficiency rating against him, while managing only 13.1 for himself. Lin allowed opposing point guards a 13.3 efficiency rating, while putting up 12.6.
The raw numbers point towards Lin in another place as well. According to Synergy Sports, Beverley ranked as the No. 190 defender in the NBA, allowing .88 points per possession (PPP). Lin was No. 148, allowing .86 PPP. The only real difference is in isolation, where Beverley shined — No. 18 in the NBA, allowing just .58 PPP, where Lin was No. 109 in the NBA, allowing .79.
Maybe it’s a good thing for Lin to move on. He deserves a franchise that will treat him with more respect and he deserves a franchise that will utilize him to the best of his abilities. It’s becoming awfully apparent that the Houston Rockets just aren’t that team.