In spite an up and down start this season, Jeremy Lin can still become a high-impact player for the Los Angeles Lakers once he begins to learn how to play alongside superstar Kobe Bryant, according to a panel of Lakers beat writers.
Lin, who averaged 12.9 points and 4.8 assists per game early this season, might have already realized the harsh truth of sharing the same backcourt with Bryant.
Through the first eight games in purple-and-gold jersey, the 26-year old Lin showed both the good and bad aspects of his game. There were moments where he's simply sensational, orchestrating the offense with ease and knocking down big buckets in pressure-packed situations. However, there were also times where he seemed lost and out of control.
Lin considered his night-and-day showings all part of the process in his first season with the Lakers. Still, there's definitely a reason why the Asian-American standout just couldn't blowup, and analyst are pointing to one usual suspect: It's Kobe!
NBA Los Angeles writer Baxter Holmes, Ramona Shelburne and Arash Markazi all agreed that Lin should start looking for his own shots, with or without Bryant on the floor. In fact, these analysts believed Byron Scott should give Lin more playing time, especially when Kobe is taking some breather, to provide the Lakers some scoring punch.
Everybody knows that Lin's two-year stay with the Rockets had not been fruity alongside James Harden. Unfortunately for Lin, the same predicament he had with a ball-dominant Harden in Houston is all happening again with Bryant in Los Angeles.
Lin loves to have his ball in his hands and create opportunities for him and his teammates. He showed these qualities during his time with the New York Knicks, when all he had were Bill Walker, Steve Novak and Landry Fields in the backcourt. He was running Mike D'Antonis' offense like a wizard, befuddling teams with his deceptive quickness and potent offensive game. But things suddenly went downhill from there once Carmelo Anthony returned from injury. With Melo asking more isolation play, Lin couldn't any longer create easy scoring opportunities for the Knicks and become more passive.
Lin will obviously not make Bryant change his game to accommodate his playing style. The Mamba will keep on asking for the ball in almost every possession. However, Scott can exploit Lin's scoring prowess by playing him with the Lakers second unit. Ed Davis, Xavier Henry, Ryan Kelly and even Nick Young all love to play up-tempo, and having Lin running fast-breaks would certainly provide the Lakers a more sustaining attack from the second stringers.
"The key for Lin is aggressiveness. The Lakers want him to orchestrate their offense, not look for Bryant and then run the offense. The more times he is on the court where Bryant isn't even a thought in his mind, the more muscle memory he can develop in that role," according to Shelburne.
It's going to be rough season for the Lakers. Although they have been competitive against Western Conference powerhouses, there's no denying they ran out of gas in the endgame. It's true that Bryant is still a force to be reckoned with as a scorer. It's also true that he cannot carry the Lakers on his back alone.
For this proud franchise to have any chance of making a run at making into the playoffs, everything must start in the development of Lin into a more confident player. And it all starts in Bryant trusting more his backcourt partner. No matter how hard it would be for him.