Jeremy Lin had a forgettable first season with the Brooklyn Nets as they finished with the worst record in the NBA. Lin played great when he was on the court but he missed 46 games this season due to various injuries. However, Jeremy believes that the Nets can make the playoffs next year if he can stay healthy.
Lin signed a three-year, $36 million deal with the Nets last summer. The 28-year-old point guard was recruited by Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, who helped Lin become a breakout star with the New York Knicks in 2012. Atkinson was a Knicks assistant coach when Jeremy made his name during his “Linsanity” run.
Jeremy Lin and Kenny Atkinson were finally reunited this season in Brooklyn but it was full of injuries and disappointments. Jeremy suffered a couple of strained right hamstring injuries in the first half of the season as the Nets crumbled into the worst run of any team this season. Lin missed 44 games before returning after the All-Star break.
The Nets point guard helped his team end a 16-game losing streak upon his return. The team played well when Jeremy Lin was in the lineup. Brooklyn had a record of 11-13 for the final two months of the season. Lin only missed a couple of games in the second half of the season due to a sprained ankle and rest.
Jeremy Lin averaged 14.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.1 steals per game this season. Lin also shot a career-high 47.2 percent from threes. The Nets had a legitimate shot of making the playoffs if Jeremy did not go down with injuries.
Lin was in China last week as part of his annual tour of Asia. Jeremy was asked about the Nets’ chances of making the playoffs in an interview with Chinese website JP.com (h/t Newsday). Lin said that the Nets can make the postseason next year if he can stay healthy all season long.
I hope we can be very healthy next year. I feel we can get into the playoffs. I only played 24.5 minutes a game this year. If I could play more, or if I didn’t get injured, I feel we have a chance of getting into the playoffs.”
However, the Nets need to surround Jeremy Lin, as well as Brook Lopez, with better players in order to compete in the Eastern Conference. Brooklyn could have used the first overall pick in this year’s NBA draft but it was given to the Boston Celtics as part of the Kevin Garnett-Paul Pierce trade to the Nets in 2013.
Nets general manager Sean Marks has no other choice but to use other resources to make the team around Lin and Lopez better. The Nets have the cap space to sign free agents and they have already been linked to several players in Europe and the United States. One of those players is Milos Teodosic, who is considered the best player not in the NBA.
According to the New York Post, the Nets have scouted Teodosic since November and they are the favorites to sign him. However, Brooklyn has to fend off interests from other teams such as the Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors and Utah Jazz. Teodosic will serve as a backup for Jeremy Lin and provide insurance just in case Jeremy gets injured again next season.
On the other hand, another player the Nets have been linked with is sharpshooting guard J.J. Redick of the Los Angeles Clippers. Redick is going to be a free agent at the end of the season and the Clippers are reportedly not interested in giving him an annual salary of $18-20 million.
It seems like the Nets are interested in having Jeremy Lin and J.J. Redick as their starting backcourt. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported that Brooklyn is one of the teams interested in signing Redick to the contract he desires along with the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers.
Redick is one of the best three-point shooters in the NBA. Despite turning 33-years-old next month, he can play at a high level for the next several years because of the NBA’s current three-point-heavy offense. If the Nets can sign Redick, they will have a perfect backcourt partner for Jeremy Lin next season.
As for other free agents linked with the Nets, Jeremy Lin revealed in the same interview in China that five former teammates have texted him regarding the possibility of joining the team next season. Lin did not reveal who those former teammates are but it is an exciting time for the Nets this summer despite what happened this season.
[Featured Image by Al Bello/Getty Images]