Despite all the New Jersey Nets early season struggles, Jeremy Lin appears to be feeling quite spiritual this holiday season.
The veteran guard recently took to social media to tweet:
With the Nets sputtering at 7-22 and the colorful guard now being forced to play himself back into shape following a right hamstring injury that sidelined him for 17 games, Lin’s patience has been tested as much as it ever has.
Even now, Lin remains on a minutes restriction as he rounds back into form and desperately tries to right the ship for the Nets.
“I’m fine,” he recently told reporters. “The performance staff did a great job, the strength coach and the trainers did an unbelievable job getting me healthy and right.”
That’s all physical, how the Nets hold things together mentally remains to be seen. But either way, as the team’s unquestioned leader, Lin is taking on the added responsibility of keeping everyone in tune.
“I love the challenge, I love the fact that Kenny [Coach Atkinson] trusts me with the ball at the end of the game,” Lin shared after one recent last second lost in Houston. “I’m going to make sure the next time we’re in this position, there will be a different result.”
Since Lin agreed to a three-year, $36 million deal with the Nets during the summer off season, Atkinson has vowed to put the ball in his hands.
And despite their clear and apparent struggles, the results haven’t been nearly as bad as the Nets’ dismal record would suggest. It’s just something adverse about Lin already missing out on more than half the team’s games.
“When you’re switching lineups around a lot, the execution is maybe not where it should be,” Atkinson said. “Hopefully, Lin will be back full time now. We can really work on execution, what we want at the end of games.”
In the veteran Lin, rookie Atkinson feels like he has a coach on the floor, someone he doesn’t have to micromanage and instruct in the ways of the offense each time the team has the ball.
“I don’t have to call as many plays,” he added. “He’s a take-charge guy, so he helps with the younger players. It just gives us more stability, helps our rotations, gets [us] where we were in the beginning of the year.”
Being pressed to do more on the biggest of stages doesn’t come as anything new for Lin, who burst on the national scene with a prolonged stretch of elevated play that simply came to be known as “Linsanity.”
Coming into the season, both Lin and Atkinson more or less admitted that time was over, but each was just as adamant in expressing what Lin’s presence could mean for the Nets.
“If you talk about Jeremy Lin’s strength, the pick-and-roll is his strength,” Atkinson said soon after Lin’s signing became official. “I know when I talked to him he was excited about playing with Brook. I said, ‘Wow, two great pick-and-roll partners.’ Brook is a great passer. Lopez was the sell to him.”
And Lin is working to do all he can to make his investment pay off. The struggles have been many but the man who made it all the way to the NBA from Harvard and the Ivy League after being undrafted insists his resolve remains strong.
“It’s going to depend on the game,” Atkinson said of how Lin and the offense will choose to attack things from game to game. “Sometimes you’re dumping the ball short. Sometimes you’re lulled into what the defense gives you. We’ve got to figure that out, me and Lin.”
[Featured Image by Michael Reaves/Getty Images]