Jeremy Lin has repeatedly expressed his desire to remain with the Charlotte Hornets. However, with Mike D’Antoni potentially taking over as Houston’s head coach, don’t be surprised if Lin returned to the Rockets as the starting point guard next season.
D’Antoni and Lin share a great rapport. During the Linsanity days in New York, Lin looked like an elite point guard capable orchestrating a high-tempo offense with utmost precision. D’Antoni’s “7 seconds or less offense” is tailor made for Lin, who likes to slash to the rim at full speed, besides driving and kicking to snipers at the perimeter. Besides D’Antoni’s glory days with Phoenix Suns, his most successful stint as head coach was when Lin took the NBA by storm in New York.
If Lin intends to capture some of that old Linsanity magic, it wouldn’t be a bad ploy to re-unite with D’Antoni in Houston. The move makes a ton of sense since the Rockets could use a pass-first point guard. While Patrick Beverly is a standout perimeter defender, he hasn’t been able to thrive as a floor general in a Houston offense that goes where James Harden takes them. Beverly and Harden had chemistry issues for the better part of the season as Houston finished with a 41-41 record before getting bounced out of the playoffs by Golden State Warriors.
Jeremy Lin and James Harden backcourt?
Lin and Harden formed a potent backcourt in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons in Houston. In 2012-13, Lin averaged 13.4 points and 6.4 assists as the Rockets returned to the playoffs after lean patch. In 2013-14, Rockets coach Kevin McHale started using Lin in a sixth man role while inserting Beverly to the starting lineup. The ploy worked successfully as the Rockets won 54 games and clinched fourth seed in the taxing Western Conference.
It’s difficult to foresee Harden hogging the ball under D’Antoni. The system that D’Antoni runs requires a point guard to dribble penetrate, drive, and kick, and opposes to ISO plays that Harden is famous for. Therefore, D’Antoni could desperate use someone like Jeremy Lin.