We had to wait a long time for Jeremy Lin’s comeback. That dreaded hamstring injury has forced him to miss a bunch of games and this had led to the Brooklyn Nets slipping near the foot of the Eastern Conference standings.
It is great to see Lin back on the court where he feels most comfortable. However, he did make good use of himself, guiding and offering advice to his teammates from the sidelines in his stylish clothes. Still, it is so much better having him back on the floor where he makes the biggest impact.
It is without question the Nets have Jeremy Lin enormously. They have had to rely heavily on rookie point guard, Isaiah Whitehead. It is a big ask of the rookie since he has not had any experience playing in the league and is still learning on the job. Whitehead did the best he could, but he just couldn’t fill the void Lin left. Lin is irreplaceable for the Nets: he offers leadership, experience, and knowhow, which is the difference between winning and losing. The Nets were 2-3 before Lin’s injury and now they have fallen away substantially with a record of 6-17. The Nets have struggled to find a way to win even though they have been playing extremely hard. They sorely missed that x factor that Lin provides.
The return of Lin
Lin’s comeback came against his old team, the Houston Rockets, in which the Nets loss a tightly contested battle where they struggled to execute that final play that could have won them the game. In that game, Lin made a huge impact even though he was playing on a minute’s restriction. Lin had 10 points, three rebounds, seven assists, one block, and one steal in 20 minutes. There was one statistic that stood out, and that was his +/-. You might disregard the +/- statistics, but when a player is a game-high +17 and is on the losing team, you have to pay some kind of attention. It was clear to see whenever Lin was on the floor, the team looked comfortable and played with extra confidence. He brings a calmness to the team that no one on their roster brings.
One thing that surprised me was how good Lin looked. He slotted back into the action with ease and didn’t kept up with the pace. Lin didn’t look like a player who missed six weeks with an injury. All the traveling with the team and jotting down notes on his clipboard have benefitted him. He was studying his team and finding ways to improve whilst he was sidelined.
The return of Lin is a huge boost for the whole team psychologically. The Nets finally got their leader back–one of their key players is finally fit, healthy again, and ready to go. Brooklyn does not have much talent and when Lin was hurt, they lost an integral member. It was a massive blow to the team, as he is massively important to what the Nets are trying to do.
The presence of Lin on the court will be heavily felt. He is someone who the Nets can turn to during crunch time, someone who can create a big play when needed, and someone who changes games. The Nets have lost a handful of winnable games without Lin. Now with Lin back, he is a player who can get them across the finish line and hopefully, the team will see more wins on a more regular basis. Needless to say, they are a much stronger team with Lin in the lineup, and it’ll be interesting to see how the Nets get on with everyone healthy and available to play.