As the much anticipated NBA draft ended roughly a month ago with big names like John Wall and Evan Turner being picked at the top of their draft class, Jeremy Lin went unnoticed and undrafted. Despite having solid stats at the college level and being selected to the All-Conference first team, few thought he would make it in the NBA.
As a Taiwanese American who went to Harvard, Lin was far from the demographic that is expected to succeed at basketball’s highest level. Now, Lin, a Palo Alto, Calif. native, has not only worked his way into the NBA, but has had the fortune of signing with his hometown team, the Golden State Warriors, making him the first Asian American on the team since Raymond Townsend was drafted in 1978.
“This is really a dream come true,” Lin said in an interview for the Warriors Website. “This is the team I grew up cheering for and the one team I really wanted to play for.”
Though Lin may have ultimately gotten what he was looking for, his route into the NBA was far less direct than most other rookies. First, Lin was not recruited during high school and chose to attend Harvard, where he could put his education first. Then, despite going undrafted, Lin joined the Dallas Mavericks to participate in their training camps and to play for their summer league team. During four appearances, Lin showcased the quickness and skill on the ball that had quietly turned him into an Ivy League star who averaged over 16 points, four rebounds and four assists per game during his senior year.
“I knew I wanted to play my game and attack the basket,” he said. “I think I was effective in the time I got to be on the floor. Overall I am very happy with the experience.”
In fact, Lin was widely considered one of the stand-out players in the league and was even rumored to be getting attention from the Los Angeles Lakers. Eventually though, it was the Warriors who came calling with a two year contract that Lin could not turn down.
As a player who likes to run the floor and play a fast-paced game, Lin may have found the perfect match in the Warriors who are known for playing in high-scoring games where a good offense can often be the best defense. If Lin can mesh well with his new teammates, he may have an important but relatively pressure-free role to play as a back-up guard.
For years, the Warriors have been a team getting ready for next season. A team with youth and potential, but without the direction and maturity needed to be truly successful, the only season in recent memory that could be called a success was the magical playoff run of 2007. Since then, bad luck and immaturity have cost the Warriors dearly and have made the playoffs seem like nothing more than an unattainable dream. Lin, though, will certainly be looking to recreate the electric atmosphere that distinctly characterized the 2007 season.
“I loved the team that beat Dallas in the playoffs. I think that was the highest moment in the last decade,” he told the Warriors Website. “That team with Baron Davis was pretty exceptional.”
If the Warriors are to come close to repeating the heroics of 2007, the entire team will have to play to its potential and avoid the injuries that entirely derailed the 2009-10 campaign. On several occasions, the Warriors were forced to dip into the Developmental League just to have enough players to fill out a roster.
Now, though, having completed a sign-and-trade deal with the New York Knicks for All-Star power forward and center David Lee, it seems that the pieces are falling into place for next season. If Lee can mesh with his new teammates like Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry, and if the team can stay relatively injury free, they could have a shot at making it to the postseason.
While many fans will surely be hopeful that next season can be better than the last, there should be a sense of realism by now that would keep fans from getting too far ahead of themselves. In this kind of environment where the pressure to succeed is not as great as it is on other teams, Lin’s decision to come home might prove to be the correct one.