Jeremy Lin finds himself at the crossroads of his NBA career. This summer, Lin has two options: 1) Continue to play second fiddle to Kemba Walker in Charlotte or, 2) Head to a team which is deprived of depth at the PG position.
In all honesty, Lin and Hornets have been a good match. Playing for an injury-stricken squad, Lin has done everything coach Steve Clifford asked him to. Whether it’s running the floor in Walker’s absence or guarding the opponent’s best perimeter scorer, Lin has put his hand up and contributed in more ways than one. His newfound defensive versatility means he’s no longer just a one-way player.
Besides getting tougher on the defensive end, Lin is able to penetrate defenses both off the dribble and away from the ball. Unlike before, he’s able to beat bigger defenders with go-to moves. As a pass-first PG, Lin never relied on jump shots, but has made significant strides in that area, too.
Despite all those improvements, Lin’s scoring and facilitating prowess is nowhere as rhythmic as his days with the New York Knicks, under coach Mike D’Antoni. Under D’Antoni, Lin looked like an elite point guard who can orchestrate a high-tempo offense with utmost precision. Simply put, after his days in Phoenix Suns, D’Antoni found his next Steve Nash in Lin, albeit for a short period.
Jeremy Lin entering free agency…
Lin has a player option in the second year of his contract. Should he opt out and pursue free agency? Or should he sign a fresh extension with Charlotte?
If Lin intends to capture some of that old Linsanity magic, it wouldn’t be a bad ploy to join the Philadelphia 76ers, where D’Antoni is serving as associate head coach under Brett Brown. The move makes a ton of sense since the Sixers are desperate for depth at the 1 position; journeyman Ish Smith is their temporary solution with plans to draft a point guard with one of their late first-round picks.
Since Sixers need a point guard and Lin a larger role, the marriage is at least worth experimenting. There’s not a lot to lose for Lin, who like Smith has been changing jerseys on a yearly basis. In Charlotte, Lin can’t expect more since Kemba Walker is perceived a franchise player.