As exciting and awesome as the news that Jeremy Lin signed with the Brooklyn Nets on the first day of free agency, the wait for the season has been tough. The months of August and most of September were really slow, which is usually the case for basketball fans. However, the anticipation to see Lin play in a Nets uniform is great, due to his new role as a starting point guard. It will be interesting to find out how Lin will do individually, because without a doubt, this will be his biggest season in his career. He has said that he wants to be a great player prior to free agency, and it is clear at this point that he is currently in the best situation to succeed with a supportive head coach along with the front office. Lin has become a more well-rounded player over the years, and he has matured to better handle the pressure of becoming a starter again.
Lin looks to be at peace with himself now, and he seems to be relishing his position as a leader on the team. This is a change of pace from the other teams that he has been on so far. During media day for the Nets, he said, “I always wanted to be a leader. Three months after I joined the Rockets, James Harden was on board so he became the leader. The situation with the Lakers wasn’t good either. I just didn’t have the opportunity to prove myself. But I think I have a pretty good chance this time.” Lin is in a good situation to become a leader, as he is a veteran who is entering his prime and his seventh season in the league. At long last, Lin does not have to worry about his game being limited to accommodate a big-named player such as Carmelo Anthony, James Harden, or Kobe Bryant. Lin is at his best playing team ball, and he will be the catalyst, as well as the playmaker.
Lin added, “I feel like for me here a lot of it is going to fall on me and Brook setting the tone, everyday in workouts, everyday we work, even how we live off the court, how we take care of our bodies, how we eat, sleep, everything. So we’re really going to have to set the tone for this leadership role I’ve been thrust into. That’s what I’ve known my whole life, as a basketball, so I’m comfortable with it.” Brook Lopez is a good player, but in terms of leadership, he is not a guy who is vocal with his teammates and he will mostly lead by his play on the court. Lin is already in a position to lead as the floor general, and it definitely helps that head coach Kenny Atkinson has been fully behind him as the leader of the team. It is his time to become a leader on a rebuilding team, and he needs set a good example for young players like Isaiah Whitehead, Caris LeVert and Rondae-Hollis Jefferson. Ever since Lin moved to Brooklyn from California in September, he has been working out with other players prior to training camp.
Whitehead is being groomed as a backup point guard by Atkinson, and Lin offered praise for the rookie. Lin said, “He’s talented, he’s strong, he’s athletic, he can get to the basket. The more time we spend, the more I’m going to be able to help him in changing his pace, changing his speed, making the right reads defensively, how to make it tough for opponents, and just teaching him the little things here and there.” Whitehead then referred to Lin by saying, “It’s just his overall game. He’s a great player in the league, and I’m going to try to pick his brain.” The new coaching staff has emphasized player development as one of the main goals for the season, Lin will help young players like Whitehead transition into the NBA by taking them under his wing. The Nets have made an investment with Whitehead as being a part of their future, and his toughness as a player reflects the “Brooklyn Grit” that the team is marketing for the season. After all, he is from Brooklyn, and he appears to be happy playing for his hometown team.