I hate to rain on anyone’s parade, but this is what America has become today. After over 200-plus years of work, this is what America has accepted. Rewarding mediocrity is something that ruins sports franchises, businesses and America.
I am not saying Jeremy Lin is the problem, but he is part of it. The New York Knicks were faced with an extremely “tough” decision: to re-sign Lin or let him walk. In the past, the Knicks were the spokes-team for signing mediocre players to huge contracts. Eddy Curry, Stephon Marbury, Allan Houston (he wasn’t worth $100 million), Jerome James (five years, $30 million), and who could forget the contract they gave former head coach Larry Brown (between $50-60 million). But since they kicked Isaiah Thomas out of office, the Knicks have tidied-up their negotiations and I applaud them for that. And I give them a standing-ovation for doing the right thing in this case: NOT re-signing Lin.
I am a fan of hard work, perseverance, equity and time put in. Lin did all of that. A graduate from Harvard University, Lin wanted to pursue a professional basketball career in the NBA. It didn’t start well for Lin, going undrafted in the 2010 NBA draft. During the 2010-2011 season, Lin signed a contract to play in his home state, for the Golden State Warriors. However, he ended up in the NBA Developmental League (three times) and was finally waived by Golden State, then by the Houston Rockets before making his way to the Concrete Jungle.
And that’s where it all began to come together for Lin. Toney Douglas and Mike Bibby were both hurt and the Knicks were in need of a point guard. Lin came to the rescue in a big way. Lin was recalled from the D-League because Baron Davis had suffered a set-back in his recovery from an injury. Lin got his first chance, against All-Star point guard Deron Williams, and filled up the box score (25, 5 and 7).
With that, “Lin-sanity” was born. And I think you know how the rest of the story went. Lin got injured, tearing his meniscus and was forced to sit out the entire 2012 playoffs, an appearance that lasted one round as the Knicks were throttled by the Miami Heat.
Because of his superb two-month performance, Lin is going to sign a big contract with the Rockets, the team that waived him almost a year ago. The deal has reported to be worth $25 over three years, with Lin making almost $15 million in the third year.
I don’t think Lin deserves this contract because I don’t think he is that good of a player. If you look at his numbers from beginning to end, they were high but slowly decreased until he was unable to play. He turns the ball over at a very high rate and is a shoot first point guard. If you remember the game against Miami, Lin couldn’t get the ball across half-court because Mario Chalmers smothered him to death. Ricky Rubio forced him to shoot 8-24 from the field when Lin traveled to Minnesota. Is he going to have good games? Yes. Is he going to have some really bad games? Yes. Will he have more good games than bad games? That’s still to be decided. But if you give me choice of what point guards I would take over Lin, the list would be between 15-20 point guards long before I considered Lin.
It’s a great story, but I don’t think he will change games for the Rockets the way he did for the Knicks. Kevin Martin is the only real offensive threat on the Rockets so Lin will be able to get his shots up. The Rockets drafted point-forward Royce White, so they might put Lin at the point guard spot but ask White to find the open man because White is a better passer than Lin.
It would have been fine if the Rockets signed him to a three-year deal worth $12 million (paying him a flat-rate of $4 mil a year), but to think that he will be making $14.9 million in year 3, making him one of the highest paid point guards in the league. Lin might be a decent to good player in his years in Houston, but in the end I think Houston was stupid for giving him that offer sheet. And I think Lin was smart to sign it.
Very few stars live-up to their contracts the way it is already. Lin is no “star”, although he gave the Knicks new life and a great deal of publicity and popularity around the world because of his Taiwanese background. Even less second and third-tier players live up to contracts they sign. The man the Rockets let go, Goran Dragic, signed a four-year, $30 million contract with the Phoenix Suns. Dragic played about as well as any player can play in the last month of the season.
If anything, Lin will sell jerseys and tickets in Houston. But, like Lin, the Rockets will be mediocre.
What do you think of the Lin-signing?