We’ve already talked about why returning to New York made sense for Jeremy Lin. What we haven’t really touched on, however, is just how Lin feels about this new chapter in his career. In order to do that, we’ll take a look at his introductory press conference and the interviews that followed. While most of these interviews end up sounding pretty samey, Lin mentioned some interesting tidbits about his situation and expectations.
JL: Investing in Nets is similar to investing in a startup company. You don’t start with a finished product. I’m betting on certain people. I’m betting on Kenny, Sean Marks, myself, Brook Lopez, I’m betting on the way I feel. If I didn’t think this has a chance to succeed, I wouldn’t have signed up for it.
Two things of note here. First, this was not the only time during the conference that Lin referred to Atkinson by his first name. He corrected himself each time, trying to sound professional, but it’s clear the two of them share a special bond. Ever since Lin left the Knicks, both he and Atkinson have been clear about wanting to team up again. Having a coach who knows you by heart is a huge boon, and there’s no doubt that Lin feels all the more confident for it.
Second, the startup company analogy is excellent. By joining the Nets, Lin has the chance to help create a winning culture from scratch. In many ways, this will be the biggest challenge he’s faced in his entire career. By admitting this will be a hard and lengthy process, Lin has shown he’s ready for the long haul. Having the right mindset can make all the difference in the world.
JL: I’m just going to keep playing. People can call it whatever they want.
This was probably the most important part of Lin’s lengthy response about how he felt about Linsanity. Many Lin fans feel that he’s been trying to distance himself from the phenomenon for a while. As he himself confirms later in the interview, the whole thing eventually became a burden more than anything else.
At 27 years old, Lin is not exactly a veteran in this league yet. However, it does seem like he’s matured a great deal since his tenure with the Knicks. In other words, he has learned to accept that some people will never look beyond the Linsanity phenomenon. Becoming responsible enough to accept this as a fact is a big plus, for both Lin and the Nets. Lest we forget, Lin will be expected to take on the role of a veteran leader in his new team.
JL: This off-season, I’ve been focusing on my shooting form. My outside shooting percentages fell from 37% to 33% last season.
He followed this up with his own analysis of the importance of 3-pointers in today’s NBA. It’s great to see he’s still so dedicated to improving his game, even after reaching stardom. The fact that he’s aware of his flaws also speaks volumes about his state of mind. This constant desire to learn has played a huge part in getting him to where he is now.
JL: When I have the ball in my hands, when I am empowered, when I play longer minutes – I play better.
By itself, this excerpt won’t really shock anyone. If you’ve followed Lin’s career at all, you’re aware that he needs to be the team’s primary facilitator in order to showcase his entire offensive repertoire. Sure, he’s proved he can be an excellent sixth man. But if you want to utilize all his talents, you’ll give him the ball and let him do his magic. After all, Lin’s desire to lead a team was one of the biggest reasons he joined the Nets.
The surprising part about this sentence is that Lin was so open with the press. Up to this point in his career, Lin had to be very careful about his public statements. He was always asked to be a team player, saying all the things the media loves to hear. This might be the first time Lin has publicly stated that he needs to have the ball to be effective. Why is this a positive sign? Because it speaks of a level of trust Lin has in Sean Marks and the rest of the Nets franchise. It’s clear he feels confident about the start of his journey in Brooklyn.
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