Jeremy Lin is ready to open a new chapter of his professional basketball career with the Los Angeles Lakers. After a subpar couple of seasons, the former Harvard standout might be on his way to fulfill his goal of becoming an All-Star.
Traded by the Rockets to the Lakers for salary space relief, the 25-year old Lin emerges as the Lakers' primary playmaker heading into the season with veteran point guard Steve Nash expected to see a limited playing time because of his ageing body.
In a press conference during his recent visit in Taiwan, Lin hoped he can have a bigger role with the purple-and-gold franchise and gain some respect from the team's biggest star - Kobe Bryant.
There are speculations about the Lakers' pursuit of free-agent point guard Eric Bledsoe, a move that could relegate Lin back to the bench, but general manager Mitch Kupchack expressed his confidence on the Asian-American star whom he thinks would be a great addition to the team.
All-Star Aspirations Within Reach in Hollywood
Lin's rags-to-riches story was the biggest story back in 2012, when an unknown player from San Francisco took the basketball by storm with a series of great games and clutch basketballs for the then troubled New York Knicks.
Without stars Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, Lin stepped up his game to another level as he helped the undermanned Knicks win consecutive games - including much-publicized victories against the Los Angeles Lakers and then defending NBA champion the Dallas Mavericks.
Lin's terrific play allowed him to hammer a good-paying contract (three-year, $25 million deal) with the Rockets that summer, but the arrival of James Harden made things complicated for him on the court.
Throughout his tenure days with the Rockets, Lin's ability seemed restrained by Harden's shot-happy tendency. In short, Lin couldn't show his real strength - which is orchestrating plays and dropping buckets - everytime head coach Kevin McHale decided to use both Lin and Harden on the floor.
Now, that he's now with the Lakers, some of his fans fear that Lin might experience the same problem with Bryant, who has the history of taking over the ball more often. However, over the past few years, the Black Mamba has become more 'team-oriented' than ever and also acknowledged that he's no longer the same scoring machine that he used to be.
Then again, teams are expected to use double teams on Bryant, forcing him to pass the rock. Apparently, that could be favorable to Lin who will have all the looks as Bryant's recipient.
With the Lakers, Lin will also have an opportunity to pad up his assists production, being surrounded by solid veteran players such as Bryant, Carlos Boozer, Ed Davis and efficient rookies like Julius Randle. Moreover, he can thrive well by playing pick-and-roll with Boozer, who became a two-time All-Star by executing the same play with Deron Williams during their Utah Jazz days.
If all things fall in perfect place, Lin could average as high as 18 points and 8 dimes per game - which is enough for him to get a reserve All-Star nod. And don't underestimate his growing fanbase. Lin placed third behind Chris Paul and Stephen Curry in last year's All-Star ballot. In a big market like Los Angeles, the charismatic Lin could further grow the number of his supporting, putting him in position for a starter nod in next season's All-Star game.
Sky is truly the limit for Lin in Los Angeles. It's all up to him if he can live up to his hype.
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