Jeremy Lin turned into a Broadway sensation, a wanted free agent and a merchandising magnet in Asia, all in no more than a year.
In Houston, Lin will return to a role he used to enjoy at Harvard – team leader.
The rebuilt Houston Rockets had a meeting with the media before heading south to start training camp, and they will turn to their charismatic new point guard for leadership and direction.
The 24-year-old Lin is not really a seasoned vet, with only 25 starts in the NBA. It just seems that way after Lin soared to international stardom during a remarkable run with the N.Y Knicks in February. A restricted free agent, Lin signed an offer sheet with Houston, but N.Y Knicks coach Mike Woodson said New York planned to re-sign him.
The Rockets amended the offer to 3 years and about $25 million, with about $15 million backloaded to the final year. The New York Knicks backed off, and Lin returned to the team that cut him in December.
“It kind of reminds me of college,” asserted Lin, who started 87 games in the Ivy League. “Just coming in, trying to lead, trying to work hard, and trying to build a culture of playing a blue-collar brand of basketball.”
While he is being cast in a leadership role, Lin on Monday admitted he has a lot of learning left to do individually.
I have played in 50 career games. For me, I see it as a beginning,” Lin announced. “I’m very young in terms of learning. Every day I make a lot of mistakes in practice. As I continue to cut down on those and hopefully grow my game, I’ll be able to evolve as a player.”
Lin expounded the youthfulness of the Rockets’ roster creates an uncertainty that intrigues him after playing with a veteran Knicks team last season. NFL spreads
“I had a lot of fun last year. I’m having a deal of fun right now,” he said. “It’s definitely a different feel. We are all new to this thing. We’re all in this together. There is that exciting uncertainty.”
One Rocket who can trump Lin in experience is shooting guard Kevin Martin, who sat out the last 24 games last season. Martin half-expected to be dealt to another team over the summer, as he watched the Rockets make a flurry of moves.
“Daily, I heard ‘Rockets,’ and somebody leaving, somebody coming,” Martin declared. “I felt as if I was just standing in a line, waiting to come up to the front and (someone saying), ‘It’s your turn to go.’ But it didn’t happen.”
He met with GM Daryl Morey and Coach Kevin McHale and said that he’s committed to helping the Rockets this season.
“I know folk said I was unhappy or I wanted out,” Martin said. “I’m happy to be a Rocket, and I just want to be better every year.”
The team was flying south to near the Mexican border and was holding its 1st week of practices in Hidalgo, home of its development league associate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.