A familiar face filled the practice court at Toyota Center today. Just seven months ago Jeremy Lin was wearing a Houston Rockets practice jersey, just trying his best to make the team. Well we all know how “Linsane” the situation turned out to be, and the rest was history.
The Rockets front office has been busy this offseason trying to transform this team into a contender. We have heard several reports involving Dwight Howard but nothing has formulated yet. The Rockets could not swing a deal on draft night for the big man, so instead they drafted three talented rookies and made offers to Lin and Bulls big man Omer Asik.
“I have so much room for improvement,” Lin said.
Phase one is now complete. Lin is officially a Rocket once again, and this time he’s here to stay.
“We made an error by letting him go, and I think we rectified it now,” Rockets owner Leslie Alexander told the press.
In 35 games Lin averaged 14.6 points per game, along with 6.2 assists. It’s a small sample size for a player raking in the money Lin will be receiving from the Rockets, but it comes with much more than basketball. The Rockets have strong business ties with China through the association of Yao Ming, and you can be sure this decision was not only based on basketball, but most importantly business. Whether Lin can improve is still a mystery, but whether the Rockets will benefit greatly from his popularity is not. The Rockets had one nationally televised game that was specifically picked up for playoff implications last season, with Lin that changes.
Still not buying the hype? After the Knicks declined to match the “poison pill” contract dished out by Daryl Morey, Lin + Houston Rockets mentions went through the roof! Popularity by association was the name of the game. Mentions ranged from “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” to a funny one liner from late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon. When’s the last time the Rockets got any national exposure like that?
The effect is instant, and the Rockets will do everything they can to capitalize on that. Here’s to hoping the Lin effect lures in a superstar, and more national exposure. Obviously this will all depend on Lin’s improvement, and while the media rush is not as intense in Houston as it is in New York, if he continues to improve this could be a huge win for the Rockets.
It’s important to keep in mind the Rockets did not break the bank on Lin. They will still be in a good shape to acquire a superstar; it’s just a matter of finally landing one.
Dwight Howard seems to be warming up to the idea of being a Laker long term. This means it may be time for the Rockets to set sights on Andrew Bynum. Assuming they can keep guard Jeremy Lamb who had a stellar summer league showing, a backcourt of Lin and Lamb mixed with a dynamic duo of Bynum and Asik may just turn out to be a nice long term foundation.
This is step one for the Rockets in a series of moves that are still needed for this team to move into championship contention. They have cleaned out the roster and are doing everything they can to make this basketball team better.
“I’m just excited to be here,” Lin said. “I think the biggest thing that excites me is the fact that I know what this organization is about.”