When Hall of Fame candidate Kevin Johnson played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, he played in back of a guy named Mark Price at point guard. Price had a tough rookie year in Cleveland, so the Cavs drafted Kevin Johnson to be his likely replacement. The problem for KJ was that the move lit a fire under Price, who just would not give up his starting spot. No matter how well KJ played, Price just kept getting better. He got so good the Cavs traded KJ to Phoenix before the season was over and Price went on to four All-Star appearances and had his number (#25) retired by the Cavs.
Jeremy Lin knows just how Kevin Johnson felt that first year. (Johnson later said, “Mark never let up. I could never get in the game.”) Jeremy Lin came to Charlotte this summer as what Hornets owner Michael Jordan called his “most significant” acquisition. But Lin, while he’s played well for the playoff-bound Hornets, hasn’t been able to get the minutes he hoped for — mostly because the guy running Charlotte’s offense, Kemba Walker, has been so good. Lin recently made a statement very similar to what KJ said back in 1987: Lin told reporters that Walker is “definitely controlling the game and coach is definitely going through him.” Lin just can’t get enough minutes to find a rhythm. That’s why there’s so much speculation that he’ll be on the move again after the season, looking for what KJ found in Phoenix.