Which NBA team would be the best fit for soon-to-be free agent Jeremy Lin?
Jeremy Lin just concluded a solid season for the Charlotte Hornets that saw him raise his stock for this summer’s free agency. In 25.8 minutes per game, Lin averaged 11.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists per contest.
Whether it was giving Kemba Walker a break at point guard or checking in next to him at shooting guard, Lin was able to provide a scoring punch off of the bench for Steve Clifford.
While Lin called this season the most fun of his six NBA seasons and wants to return to The Queen City, he’ll certainly have some options available to him. Since everyone is going to have money to spend this summer, that likely won’t be a huge factor, but they will be competing with the Hornets in terms of roster fit and ability to contend.
Let’s take a look at a few teams that may benefit most from Lin’s services. And one reminder: everyone is going to have money this summer, so cap space largely doesn’t matter here.
Here’s what we know about the Mavericks’ point guard situation: Devin Harris and J.J. Barea are under contract for next season, but the team could also be losing both Deron Williams and Raymond Felton.
The Mavericks could choose to bring back both Felton and Williams, but should they? After all, both players are on the wrong side of 30.
With Lin, the Mavericks would get another ball handler who can also make plays for others. Rick Carlisle has a history of getting a lot out of veteran point guards and Lin could very well be next in line. If this proved to be the case, Lin could hold down the position as the Mavericks try to make yet another run while Dirk Nowitzki is still around.
The only real cause for concern here is that Lin is not a great shooter. If the Mavericks can retain Chandler Parsons, that means being able to surround him with players like Wes Matthews, Parsons, and Nowitzki who can hit shots. Keeping the right roster around Lin would be vital to the team’s success.
As a rookie, Jones was a disaster on both ends of the court. He couldn’t defend anyone and shot 35.9 percent from the field and 30.2 percent on three-pointers. Simply put, Jones may not be ready for full-time backup duty next season.
You have to remember that the team hired Tom Thibodeau, who is going to want to win sooner rather than later. Winning is really hard to do when you don’t have a backup point guard. Adding an experienced player like Lin who can bend a defense may be all Thibodeau needs.
If Lin were able to come in and make some plays for what was the league’s worst bench after the All-Star Break, then it would be worth it. Thibodeau has been able to extract unexpected levels of production out of players like Nate Robinson, John Lucas III and Mike James, and could repeat the same with Lin.
This is more of an opportunity than fit thing. While adding a non-shooter to a non-shooting team could be disastrous, the Grizzlies have very little at point guard whether or not Mike Conley re-signs. After all, by the end of the 2016 season, the Grizzlies were starting Jordan Farmar because of injury.
Even if Conley leaves, Lin could start as a placeholder for a season as the Grizzlies transition into whatever the new era is under the next head coach. Who knows? That could include significantly upgrading their shooting, making this a decent fit and opportunity.
New Orleans Pelicans
Here was another snake-bitten franchise from 2016. The Pelicans’ season never seemed to get off of the ground coming off a playoff berth the previous season. Among the reasons for that was Jrue Holiday. The team’s best point guard missed 17 games due to injury this season on top of 100 combined in the two prior.
If the Pelicans hope to return to the playoffs, they’re going to need stability at the lead guard position. Lin can provide that. He is more than capable of spot starting in the event of a Holiday absence and can give the Pelicans a respectable one-two punch at the point when both are healthy.
Speaking of teams wrecked by injury and coming off of a disappointing season, how about those Wizards? Players who have playoff experience usually don’t like missing the playoffs the following season, so a team like Washington would make sense.
Barring another year of catastrophic injuries, the Wizards should be back in the postseason.
The Wizards also find themselves in need of a point guard since Ramon Sessions is a free agent. With Lin, the Wizards would easily be getting an upgrade over Sessions and one who could play minutes next to John Wall as well. This is especially key given the injury history of shooting guard Bradley Beal.