Jeremy Lin looks ahead in the wake of painful playoff loss
HOUSTON - For Jeremy Lin, the agonizing reality of the Rockets’ season being over didn't truly hit home until his phone offered up a painful reminder that an otherwise lazy Sunday afternoon should have instead been spent on a basketball court in front of thousands of screaming fans and a national TV audience.
“It probably hit me yesterday,” he recalled, “when my calendar notifications went off and it said Game 7 and I was just like, ‘Oh, I forgot to delete that.’ That kind of sucked a lot. That’s when it really hit me: It’s over. No more film, no more anything. It’s just over.”
Houston’s heartbreaking playoff loss to Portland prompted what promises to be an extended stretch of soul searching for everyone associated with the Rockets and Lin is no exception, of course. Like the rest of his teammates, the 25-year-old enters the summer with self-improvement front and center on his mind, and in his perpetual quest to make strides on the court, he vowed to study a rather well known player who makes his NBA home just a few hours east of Houston along I-10.
“It was an up and down year,” Lin said. “A lot of good things and a lot of bad things. A lot of adjusting. I would go through stretches where I’d play about 35, 40 minutes consistently and then back down to 15-to-20 – just a lot of up and down. One thing I want to work on is just being able to be more even-keeled throughout the course of a season. A player I want to look more at is (Manu) Ginobili and what he’s done. Maybe not so much his game because we’re very different, but his approach in terms of coming off the bench and what that looks like and how to be effective every night and how to maintain a consistent level of aggression.”
As for how he handles the trade winds and non-stop rumor mill that has become an inevitable part of the NBA offseason, Lin says his past experiences from earlier in his career when he was concerned only with making an NBA team – rather than wondering which one will actually employ him – allow him to enter that potential tumult with much more peace of minds these days.
“I’m human, I definitely wonder about it,” he conceded. “But next year will be my fifth season. My first year and a half I dealt with my name being surrounded with getting cut and things like that, and from then on it was with my name being surrounded with trades. I’d much rather take the second than the first so I’m not really too worried about it. Whatever happens, it’s all in God’s hands and I understand it’s all part of the business, and there’s going to be a lot of names and a lot of rumors, but most of them don’t come true.”