On great teams, great players get better. That’s a basketball adage that Jeremy Lin understands intuitively because Lin has played on a lot of NBA basketball teams (New York, Brooklyn, LA, Charlotte, Houston) and the great ones have mostly been his opponents. The only decent teams that Lin has had the chance to play for were his post-Knicks Houston Rockets teams, where Lin was awkwardly (but sometimes effectively) teamed with James Harden in the backcourt.
Lin played a full season — starting 82 games for the Rockets in 2012-13 averaging 32 minutes per game — and another 70 games the next season before becoming a disgruntled but uncomplaining reserve during the disastrous Lakers reign of coach Byron Scott. Those Harden teams were the only contenders Lin’s been on, until now.
Yet Lin has consistently filled the stat sheet as a reserve in limited minutes wherever he’s gone. In his new position with the Toronto Raptors, Lin can be expected to demonstrate his all-around contributions routinely. People think of Lin as a scorer because of his Linsanity breakthrough, but Lin is also an excellent rebounding guard who at one point led all NBA point guards in blocked shots. Lin’s Toronto debut was typical: he efficiently recorded eight points, five rebounds, five assists and a blocked shot in 25 minutes of play.