Jeremy Lin’s magical run last season in New York was a perfect storm of a situation. Desperate for offense at the time the Knicks turned to Lin to do the one things he does well — push the pace and attack off the pick-and-roll — while surrounding him with shooters and a good pick-and-roll big in Tyson Chandler. It worked very well, although it never was going to mesh with the Knicks of Carmelo Anthony.
Houston came in to Madison Square Garden Monday against a Knicks team without ‘Melo and asked Lin to push the pace and attack off the pick-and-roll — and those things exposed a Knicks defense that has not played great basketball the past couple weeks. The result was an easy Rockets win.
“That was awesome,” Lin beamed to a Houston Rockets official awaiting him. “That was so much fun.”
“I am glad this is over,” Lin told Yahoo! Sports late Monday night. “This is a little bit of closure.”
This move — Lin to Houston, Raymond Felton taking his point guard spot in New York — is better for the Knicks in the short term. Felton and Anthony can get along better on the court and Lin needed a chance to struggle and develop out of the spotlight.
But when he came back in it for a night, he looked like his old, vintage self. And that was fun (except for Knicks fans).
LeBron James forcefully shoots down idea he came to Los Angeles for showbiz
“I’m a basketball player. I play ball, that’s what I do,” LeBron said earlier in his press conference. “That’s what I live by and when I do it at the level I do it at everything else takes care of itself.
“As far as my business, those things have been taking care of themselves long before I came out here to be part of the Lakers franchise.”
LeBron is right about that. His production company — led by Maverick Carter — has been working on Space Jam for a couple of years now, and if LeBron had decided to stay in Cleveland or sign in Philadephia or anywhere else that project would still be going forward. They’d still be filming next summer in the off-season, regardless of where he played.
LeBron is very good at compartmentalizing his life. The great ones are. Kobe Bryant had side projects, but it never slowed down the effort he put into the game. Same is going on right now with Stephen Curry and James Harden. Michael Jordan did it before them, and Magic Johnson before him. Those guys have brands that are empires of their own now, but they all know what the foundation of that success is.
And they don’t let anything get in the way of basketball. Not like that.
Enes Kanter: ‘When I think about playoffs, my nipples get hard’
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor reportedly ordered team president Tom Thibodeau to trade Jimmy Butler, who is excused from participating in media day and training camp (apparently because of his hand injury).
But Thibodeau isn’t rushing to proclaim Butler will be dealt.
Chris Hine of the StarTribune:
Tom Thibodeau on the trade request from Butler: "Our job is to seek out the best opportunity for us. If something is good for us then we're interested in doing it. If not, we're ready to move the other way."
“We’ve got a long way to go to get to Golden State,” LeBron said. “They can pick up right where they left off.
“We’re picking up from scratch. So, we have a long way to go. … Hopefully, someday, we can put ourselves in a position where we can compete for a championship, as Golden State has done for the last few years.”
“I don’t believe the only thing of success in marking a season is winning a championship,” LeBron said. “There’s only one champion. But that doesn’t mean you’re not successful.”
LeBron has made similar arguments before, and I agree with him. Championships are the most important measure of team success, but they’re not the only measure. There are plenty of ways for teams to satisfactorily grow and compete in a season.
But this sure didn’t sound like the same LeBron who said in June of the Cavaliers’ 2016 title, “It made me even more hungry to continue to try to win championships, and I still want to be in championship mode.” A key storyline in Los Angeles will be whether/when LeBron regains that hunger.