Jeremy Lin is still one of the faces of the franchise — he is the image the team use to sell season tickets, to lure in sponsors, him and now the beard of James Harden. That is what is sold, along with hope for the future.
But being the face of the Houston Rockets and the New York Knicks are two different experiences.
And Jeremy Lin is enjoying a season where he can focus on basketball outside of the bright lights of the big city, he told Howard Beck of the New York Times.
“It’s really, really low-key,” Lin said Sunday morning after the Rockets’ shootaround. “And it’s really peaceful. When I walk around, I don’t wear a hat or glasses or anything — unless I want to….
“I think the beautiful thing about this opportunity is there’s less of a spotlight,” Lin said. “There’s room to grow, room to improve, growing pains, things like that — the stuff that has to happen with each player. I’ve only started 30-something games in three years in my whole career. There’s a lot of sophomores out there with more experience than me. I’m going to have to go through a lot to get better.”
Lin is having growing pains this year — he is averaging 10.8 points per game but on 34.3 percent shooting, but with 7.3 assists per contest. He still gets most of his offense as the pick-and-roll ball handler but is shooting just 38.7 percent in that role this season (according to Synergy Sports). He had a PER of 19.9 last season, that is down to a below average 13.8 this season.
In New York, that would be the lead story on the back page of the New York Post every day the Jets didn’t screw something up. In Houston, it barely raises an eyebrow.
Lin is learning by experience now, with the ups and downs that come with it. He is learning how to play with James Harden, a pairing so far that has been below the team’s averages in just about every category, according to NBA.com’s stats. It will take time.
Fortunately for him, he gets to work all this out in relative peace. That’s good for him and the Rockets.