Jeremy Lin remains a huge fan favorite despite an injury-filled start to his first season with the Brooklyn Nets.
In recently released first-round All-Star voting, Lin ranks among the Top 10 guards in the Eastern Conference, still in striking distance of such top vote getters as Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, and Dwyane Wade and ahead of such league stalwarts as Kemba Walker and Avery Bradley.
Lin has played in just 12 of 35 games for the Nets this season, nursing an assortment of hamstring injuries, but when he’s suited up he’s been what the Nets’ pretty much bargained for when they inked him to a three-year, $36 million deal during the offseason.
The versatile veteran is averaging 14 points, six assists and three rebounds, arguably his most well-rounded numbers since the era of “Linsanity” in 2012.
Back then, Lin burst on the scene with the cross-borough rival Knicks as a complete unknown and quickly embarked on a dominant, 26-game stretch where he averaged 19 points and eight assists as a regular before a late season injury prematurely ended his rise.
The rest has been history for Lin regarding establishing the kind of impact he can have on a team when he is at his best, and his many fans seem to remember.
This year, fan balloting constitutes 50 percent of the vote, with a panel of media members and current NBA players evenly splitting the rest of the vote.
Such All-Star surroundings wouldn’t come as foreign land to Lin, who previously competed in such festivities as the Rising Stars Challenge and the Skills Challenge held over All-Star weekend.
Mired with the league’s worst record at 8-27, the Nets are pretty much desperate to get Lin back any way they can. Things started off well enough, with the veteran guard almost flawlessly running new coach Kenny Atkinson’s ball-moving offense and the Nets jumping out to a 4-5 start.
But in early November, Lin suffered the first of his numerous strains and Brooklyn has never fully recovered. He briefly returned to action in mid-December to face his old Houston Rockets team, eventually playing seven games before going down with the injury that still has him sidelined.
Before this season, Lin never had a history of injuries, playing in no fewer than 70 games a season since his time with the Knicks.
He recently reflected “God has been teaching him about humility” through all his recent struggles.
“Thank you for everyone’s support and prayers,” he recently posted on Instagram. “Not gonna lie, this season’s been very painful physically, mentally and emotionally, not being able to battle with my crew night in night out.”
He added, “but God’s been teaching me a lot about gratitude for the little things, full surrender of my greatest dreams, humility in service to my teammates and trust in His perfect timing. I’m working extremely hard to get right again.”
While a timeline for Lin’s return remains sketchy, Nets’ fans can rejoice in knowing that whenever that is his mind will be in a good place for it.
“It’s been less than a week and I’ve shot, so that’s really encouraging,” he recently told reporters, adding he comes to realize it’s learning how to respond to all the adversity one faces that truly makes the difference. “I remember how long it took me to shoot previously.”
All indications are his full return could come sometime just before All-Star break and the man who began his first season in Brooklyn by asking fans to pray for him and the team will be thankful for the moment.
“Please pray for this upcoming season,” he posted back then. “Not only that we would play well and far exceed expectations but that there would be revival on our team.”
[Featured Image by Michael Reaves/Getty Images]