Four years after his “Linsanity” streak with the Knicks, Jeremy Lin returns to New York.
This time with the Nets, aftersigning with Brooklyn on a four-year, $36 million deal, where he will be tasked to lead the team has the starting point guard.
A more mature Lin says he is up for the challenge. “It’s going to be collective, and Brook [Lopez] is going to be a big, big part of it as well as other players,” Lin said while watching the Nets at the Las Vegas Summer League recently, via ESPN. “But I’m definitely coming in [understanding] what my role is. I’m the playmaker. I’m the point guard. I’ve got to lead. I’ve got to be an extension of the coach, and I’m not shying away from that role at all.
“For me, being 27 now, that’s something I wanted. It’s a challenge I wanted to embrace, and I can’t wait to do that. … I’m going to be the guy bringing it up the floor and leading the team. And that’s definitely something that appealed to me.”
In six NBA seasons, Lin has played for five teams, and played as a starter for just season — the 2012-13 season in Houston, where he started 82 games and averaged 13.4 points and 6.1 assists. From there, he saw his roles diminish, but had a successful season in Charlotte, averaging 11.7 points off the bench. He then became a free agent and was looking for a long-term home with a bigger role.
New Nets coach Kenny Atkinson has developed a strong relationship with Lin as an assistant coach with the Knicks during the 2011-12 season, when Lin exploded on the NBA. He pitched the idea to become the Nets’ floor leader and believes in him.
“I think that everybody thinks Jeremy’s best position is that combo guard off the bench. We took a little, kind of outside-of-the-box idea and said he can be our full-time point guard,” Atkinson says.
“I saw it in flashes in New York that he can distribute the ball,” he continued. “I think he has got great vision. I think if you look at his attributes, he can play the point-guard position and he can defend the point-guard position. I see him leading our team. I see him being a great pick-and-roll combination with Brook. I think that is part of the reason we got him — we challenged him with that role.”