Former Knick Lin gets chance to lead Nets
After a 21-61 campaign in which they missed the playoffs, the Brooklyn Nets are giving former Knick Jeremy Lin the keys to their team and believe he’s ready to run it.
Jeremy Lin was briefly the biggest thing in the Big Apple, maybe in all of basketball, the last time he played in New York.
Linsanity didn’t last long and neither did Lin’s time as a starting point guard. He mostly came off the bench while playing for three teams over the last three seasons, but now he’s getting another shot.
The Brooklyn Nets are giving Lin the keys to their team and believe he’s ready to run it.
“He came off the bench in Charlotte last year and did a heck of a job, but this is a little different deal now,” new coach Kenny Atkinson said. “You’re kind of the quarterback. You’re the Eli Manning, those guys, so there’s a different level of responsibility.”
The Nets better hope Lin is ready for it, because there isn’t much talent around him. They begin their fifth season in Brooklyn absent the high-priced star power they lined the roster with in their early years after moving from New Jersey. All-Stars such as Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have given way to the likes of Trevor Booker, Justin Hamilton, Randy Foye, Luis Scola, Joe Harris and former No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett, players signed this summer by general manager Sean Marks.
Marks also tabbed Atkinson to be the coach, and together they are talking about building for the long term. That may be a better solution, though it means the Nets won’t win much now.
But Lin brings some buzz from fans who remember his captivating stretch with the Knicks in 2012. The NBA’s first American-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese decent started all 82 games for Houston the next season, but lost his job the following one and remained a backup as he moved to the Lakers and the Hornets, where he played behind Kemba Walker last season.
The Harvard product was mainly a pick-and-roll guard when he burst on the scene five seasons ago, without much else to go to when teams took away his drives to the basket.
He believes he returns with a more well-rounded game, with Atkinson urging him to trust a jump shot that wasn’t previously part of his arsenal.
“Now if guys are forcing me left, I can go left,” Lin said.
“If guys want me to shoot, I’m not saying I’ll make it every night, but I’ll gladly shoot them. I’ll gladly shoot open ones if they give them to me.”