Last offseason, Jeremy Lin was one of the biggest names to switch teams in free agency. He signed a three-year contract with the Houston Rockets after having a breakout season with the New York Knicks. The 2012-2013 season, however, didn’t go exactly as Lin had planned, and the point guard expressed his frustrations at a recent youth conference.
While speaking in Taipei, Taiwan, Lin talked about his struggles in his first year with the Rockets. According to Lin, others in the organization were not behind him 100 percent.
"The coaches were losing faith in me; basketball fans were making fun of me,” said Lin. “I was supposed to be joyful and free, but what I experienced was the opposite. I had no joy, and I felt no freedom."
Lin’s numbers at his peak with New York dipped dramatically when he joined the Rockets. In 82 games with Houston, the 24-year-old averaged 13.4 points, 6.1 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game. In February 2012, during the height of “Linsanity,” Lin averaged 20.9 points, 8.4 assists and 4.0 rebounds per contest.
The popularity that he achieved with New York may have put unrealistic expectations on Lin’s shoulders. With Houston, some were expecting him to play like an All-Star, instead of the average point guard that he turned out to be. It turns out Lin may have put more pressure on himself than anybody, which ultimately backfired.
"I became so obsessed with becoming a great basketball player ... trying to be Linsanity, being this phenomenon that took the NBA by storm,” Lin continued. "I was ready to invigorate the entire city of Houston. I was supposed to save Houston basketball."
Lin kept his starting job the entire season. However, backup Patrick Beverley, who was signed by the Rockets in 2013, saw his minutes increase in the final two months of the season. He averaged 33.3 minutes in the playoffs, as Lin battled an injury.
With two year lefts on his contract, Lin will have a chance to redeem himself. Houston improved as much as any team this summer, adding free agent Dwight Howard. Now, Lin and the Rockets are one of the favorites to reach the NBA Finals. Since the club added the best center in the league, and has one of the best shooting guards in Harden, perhaps Lin will play better without feeling like he has to be a superstar.
Despite Lin’s feelings that the coaches lost faith in him, the organization has shown any signs that they are looking to replace him. There have been no substantiated trade rumors that the team is looking to get rid of him, and he should be the team’s starter on opening night.