NEW YORK (AP) — Jeremy Lin didn’t even make it through one full game this season.
He plans to return next season playing a different way so he can stay on the floor and help the Brooklyn Nets keep building.
Lin played in just 36 games in 2016-17 due to hamstring injuries and ruptured his right patella tendon in a loss at Indiana on opening night of this season. His plan to stay healthy focuses on ditching all the on-court motor skills that started Linsanity six years ago across the city with the New York Knicks in exchange for a new range of motion.
“So, like, at every level of ability to be more dynamic, I’m not just looking at whether my knee will hold up. I’m looking at whether I have done enough to completely change pre-existing movement patterns,” Lin said Thursday, a day after the Nets finished 28-54, their third consecutive 50-loss season after three straight playoff appearances.
The Nets won seven of their last 13 games after losing 19 of 22.
The 29-year-old Lin spent a large chunk of his rehab process at Fortius Sport and Health in Vancouver, British Columbia, under his personal trainer, Rick Celebrini, who in the past worked with former NBA star Steve Nash.
Running, shooting and defending will all seem new for Lin, who signed a three-year, $36 million deal with the Nets in July 2016, and in February opted in to his $12.5 million player option.
“It won’t look different to the eye, or on TV any different, but it will be very different in terms of how I do it, and where I move from and what muscles I’m using and what tendons and joints I’m not using,” Lin said.
His injury led to the development of others at point guard.
Spencer Dinwiddie became a candidate for the Most Improved Player award after averaging career highs with 12.6 points and 6.6 assists. Coach Kenny Atkinson and general manager Sean Marks also got a good look at D'Angelo Russell, who took over Lin’s duties, but then needed knee suffer that forced him out until mid-January. Once the 22-year-old returned to the court, he showed flashes of why the Los Angeles Lakers made him the No. 2 pick of the 2015 draft before including him in the Brook Lopez deal last summer.
Add in Allen Crabbe, who struggled at times but set the franchise season-single record of 201 3-pointers made; an improved defender in second-year player Caris LeVert; a young shot-blocker in rookie Jarrett Allen; and the rising play of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson along with the veteran presence of DeMarre Carroll, Lin has a reason to feel optimistic.