Houston Rockets: Jeremy Lin Shows Steady Improvement


The improved play of Jeremy Lin, second from left, has really helped the Houston Rockets. (Photo Credit: panamericanonline.com, Flickr.com)

For the first few months of the season, Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin was something of a disappointment. The numbers being put up by the former Harvard star paled in comparison to what he did with the New York Knicks the previous year and it was beginning to look like Lin’s success was something of a fluke. Even if he wasn’t the worst point guard in the league, he was fairly underwhelming throughout November and December.

Lately, though, Lin has steadily picked up his game and given us some indications that Linsanity may be making a bit of a comeback. The Rockets are in the hunt for a playoff spot and Lin has been a big part of their recent success. After being tentative with his offensive game for much of the season, Lin has finally been more willing to take the ball to the basket. Lin is averaging 13.2 points per game for the year, but in the month of March, he’s up to 16.9. Being less shy with the basketball has made him far more valuable to the team. He’s excellent at driving to the basket and the more utilizes that skill, the better the team does.

Obviously, Lin has a big reason to be tentative with his shot selection; the Rockets are James Harden’s team. He’s the star shooting guard and on a given night, he’s going to be the one taking the most shots. As a point guard, Lin has a responsibility to get the primary scorer involved in the game as much as possible, so you can see why he’d be anxious about taking too many shots, for fear that he’d be taking them away from Harden. Still, it’s hardly impossible for Lin to cede the spotlight to Harden while also making some plays of his own. The Rockets are at their best when Lin and Harden are both making big plays on offense.

Lin’s biggest improvement in recent weeks, however, has been his shooting. Throughout the year, Lin has taken flak for being somewhat inconsistent from the field. Indeed, there are plenty of nights when his jumper is way off and the only way he is able to score is by putting in layups. That has not been the case lately, however. Lin is shooting  .535 from the field in March, hitting the shots that hadn’t been falling for him all season. This recent surge has brought his overall field-goal percentage up to a respectable .447, putting him just ahead of Stephen Curry, who shoots .446. Granted, Curry’s shooting is still more valuable to do his propensity for hitting the 3 ball (a skill Lin is still learning), but the fact still remains, Lin has improved dramatically as a shooter as the season has progressed, finally displaying the offensive explosiveness that make him so alluring in New York.

After a shaky start, Lin is making it increasingly clear that he deserves to be a starting NBA point guard. Not only is he shooting better, he’s becoming a more brash player, showing the same willingness to take the ball himself that he did with the Knicks. Lin is still figuring out what to do with his skill set but in recent weeks, it’s clear that he is not lacking for talent. Due to Lin’s international fame, there’s a decent shot that could be voted in to an All-Star Game at some point. When Lin was struggling, this was a concern since he was playing well below all-star level. Now, the odds are looking up that Jeremy Lin might not only make an All-Star Game, but it would be an honor that he would have legitimately earned.