Much has been made of the playoff performance of Jeremy Lin (photo by Howard Chen). The injury and what Lin himself describes as a “subpar performance” was the talk of the bloggersphere during the Houston Rockets brief run in the playoffs.
CSN Houston’s Howard Chen (seen here) recently sat down for a 1-1 interview with Jeremy Lin. You can see the stories here:
Chen agreed to answer a few questions via email.
How do you think the fans in Houston would evaluate Jeremy Lin’s play this season?
I think Jeremy has plenty of support among the Houston fan base, but when you’re in the limelight like he is, there will be opinions of ALL sorts. Fans in Houston all want him to do well, but I’m sure along with the supporters, there are detractors as well, just like in the rest of his career. Basically, some will realize the reality of the situation, that Jeremy improved consistently as the year went on in his first season in the Rockets’ system and adjusting to playing off the ball. I think rational fans realize his playoff performance can’t really be graded fairly given his injury. Of course, not every fan thinks this way. There are some who are disappointed that he didn’t have Linsanity-like numbers. However, I think most fans in Houston liked his improvement and are looking to better things ahead. This first year was just the beginning.
How would you evaluate Lin’s play this season?
This was an adjustment for him to play off the ball. His first month was a little rough, but he knew what he needed to work on and he worked hard. Come April, his outside shot had become much more consistent, he was playing solid defense, and he was playing at a consistently high level. His playoff performance was not what he wanted. Even though he himself will not use injury as an excuse, any rational fan can see that it limited him. There’s still room to improve, but I can picture Lin working his tail off in the offseason and coming back next season much improved. I see a consistent upward trend in his future numbers.
How did fans in Houston react to Lin’s interview on 60 Minutes in which he said race has played a factor throughout his basketball career?
I don’t think Houston fans reacted to the interview any differently than fans across the nation. Jeremy’s reputation in Houston is of someone who is extremely gracious, courteous, humble, and altruistic. The topic of race did not change any of this. I think 60 Minutes clearly wanted race to be their selling point in getting eyeballs and getting attention. It got the attention. For us Asian Americans, it was something we already knew and that we understood, so no big deal. The fact of the matter is that not everybody quite understands Jeremy’s viewpoint, so of course, when it gets brought up, some people are going to disagree. Perfectly natural. Houston or elsewhere.
The nationwide phenomenon of Linsanity has died down, but is Linsanity still in Houston?
I think people here are looking more for what’s beyond Linsanity. That said, Jeremy’s fans are definitely really, really into him and really, really supportive, regardless if they’re from Houston or in Taiwan or wherever. They really are everywhere. Lin fans are definitely present at the Toyota Center on Rockets’ game nights.
How does Jeremy Lin feel about his season this year in Houston?
I think he feels like he improved this year, but that more improvement is needed. He was definitely not happy with his playoff performance and that’s fueling his fire for the offseason.
Under what scenario, if any, do you see the Rockets trading Lin before next season?
Never say never, but if the Rockets’ point-guard mix is Lin and Patrick Beverley, I really don’t see the Rockets trading Lin. And before next season? Heck no.
What is it like for you as a Taiwanese American to cover Jeremy Lin?
Every day that I drive by the former Summit (where the Rockets used to play) on the way to Rockets’ practice or shootaround, I realize how blessed I am. I’m covering the team I loved as a kid. I’m covering a guy we Asian Americans definitely look to as a role model for shattering stereotypes and proving that dreams can be achieved. Things worked out. It took a lot of time and sacrifice to get here, but dang, it’s worth it.
What type of season will Lin have next season?
I think his averages will see a decent bump. I expect to see an improved Jeremy Lin from the beginning of camp. I think Jeremy expects the same from himself.