The Brooklyn Nets are on a roll as of late. Ever since Jeremy Lin returned at full strength for the Brooklyn Nets they have been beating teams both good and bad. While Lin has had some great games, he has also had some off games. Despite his off games, Brooklyn has still found a way to be competitive and win games.
Jeremy Lin missed two long stretches of the season. During these two stretches, Brooklyn lost a lot of games, and I mean a lot. With Lin in the lineup, though, Brooklyn is a solid 11-21. Compare that to the 7-38 record without Jeremy Lin and you see how large of an impact Lin has on this team.
When Lin was not playing Brooklyn initially turned to Isaiah Whitehead and later on Spencer Dinwiddie to run the point. Both of these players definitely have the potential to be good players, they are young and relatively inexperienced.
As time went on, both Dinwiddie and Whitehead developed and became solid players for Brooklyn. What the Nets were still missing, though, was Lin’s leadership and floor control.
Lin has the skill, vision, and basketball IQ to lead a team and get the ball to spots where there are high percentage shots. He also has the ability to drive to the hoop and nail three-point shots with relative ease. Lin could score and dish the ball.
Lin also has the experience to go down the floor and take it slow when needed and he also knows when he can run the break and get a quick basket whether it be himself in the paint or dishing it back out to a team mate for the easy jumper.
Looking at the 11-21 record with Lin in the lineup, Nets fans could only wonder what could have been this season if Lin had been healthy all season. The 11-21 record translates to roughly 30 wins on the season, which is what I personally predicted at the beginning of the season.
With these 30 or so wins, Brooklyn may not have the worst record in the league. Not having the worst record would give them less ping pong balls in the lottery, making it less likely that the Boston Celtics end up with the number one overall pick. The Celtics not getting the first pick would be huge considering they lead the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference as a whole.
Not only does the draft have a lot to do with it, player development has a role too. Whitehead and Dinwiddie are both young guards that learned on the fly. Whitehead ran the point despite being a two guard most of his career playing basketball. If Lin had been healthy, Whitehead would have had a mentor that he could learn from on the floor as the games are going on.
While Lin likely helped out these two young guards sitting on the bench, everything is different when it happens in live action. Lin could be on the floor with these players and teach them while running the offense. After plays he could take them aside and tell them what they did good or bad and how to get better at what they were attempting to do.
Jeremy Lin being healthy and running the point makes this entire team better. He pairs really well with Brook Lopez, creating a dominant Brook-Lin combination that no team wants to face. Lin simply puts the ball where it needs to be at the time it needs to be there. If there is nothing really happening offensively, Lin has the ability to drive to the hoop or hit a nice jump shot to get some points and increase the confidence of the team.
Where the Nets really struggled this season was recovering from scoring droughts. Teams would go on large runs against them and Brooklyn would panic and put up unnecessary shots with a low percentage rate. With Lin, he can calm them down, slow down the offense and find the best shot available. Doing this allows the Nets to get points to end runs and keep their heads and confidence in the game.
Brooklyn, as of today, sits at 18 wins, three less than the entirety of last season. With only a handful of games left, it is possible that they tie or surpass last season’s win total. Even if they do not reach that total, it is clear that Lin means a lot to this team and will be an integral part heading into next season.
Brooklyn easily could have been a 30 win team if Jeremy Lin had stayed healthy all season long. Kudos to Brooklyn, though, for taking it easy with Lin and his injuries. This year was all about developing players, not necessarily winning. Allowing Lin to fully recover so he is ready to go for next season was imperative.
With Lin healthy next season and a more developed team of young players will be fun to watch. Add in the two first-round picks Brooklyn has this season and you have yourself a team that has potential to be pretty dangerous.
This year was a disappointment for Nets and Jeremy Lin fans alike, but the end of this season gives us all hope. Brooklyn beat the Knicks twice and the Hawks twice and have won back-to-back games twice.They have winnable games coming up, too, which will only increase the excitement for Nets fans going into next season.
We could all think what could have been with a healthy Jeremy Lin, but next year we will see what could have been this year, and all Brook-Lin fans should be very excited for what is to come.