For­mer Knick Lin gets chance to lead Nets

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Brian Ma­honey AP Bas­ket­ball Writer

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.”

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