Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin's big production off the bench along with growing popularity around the world could help him bag his first individual award either this season or within the next few years.
Linsanity might be over but the craziness surrounding Lin ceases to die. Lin is averaging at least 14 points and 5 dimes per game, nonetheless his impact on the game as a scorer and ball distributor cannot be downplayed.
Of course, there are other bench players who hold better statistical line than Lin. Phoenix Suns Markieff Morris, Utah Jazz's Alec Burc, and Portland Trail Blazers Mo Williams are all deserving to hoist the Sixth Man of the Year trophy.
Then again, Lin's sensational play as of late might shake up the race for NBA's best reserve player. The Rockets are on a seven-game winning streak, and continue to rise up in a very competitive Western Conference battle.
Dwight Howard, James Harden and Chandler Parson have been the studs for this loaded Rockets team, but Lin serves as an X-Factor that helped them rack up wins consistently. Head coach Kevin McHale is beginning to put more responsibility on the shoulder of Lin when it matters the most. In fact, the Rockets coach often prefers Lin over Patrick Beverley at crunch time, giving opponent's defense some hard decision on the other end of the court.
"Lin is clocking 30.9 per game, while Beverley is at 31.8. The Rockets' best lineup is with Lin, Beverley, Terrence Jones, Dwight Howard and Chandler Parsons, holding a .875 winning percentage, good for ninth in the league," via Bleacher Report.
Of course, the winner of the Sixth Man of the Year plum isn't only measured based on his statistics, because the voters are writer, who always like compelling stories. And there's possibly no more interesting story than that of Lin, who came out of nowhere and electrify the league during his much-publicized tenure with the New York Knicks.
"And like all awards, Sixth Man honors are highly driven by their stories. They're selected by journalists who weave a sort of sociological afghan for a profession, not by stats-crashers and talent appraisers who scrutinize a player's every move," Bleacher Report writer John Wilmes stressed.
Even if Lin fails to win the Sixth Man trophy this year, he's expected to be in contention for the award in the coming years as he long as he continues what he's best at - giving some punch off the bench!