Originally posted on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 12/10/12
Linsanity is dead. There, I said it. It was on its last legs once Carmelo Anthony returned from injury last year, but now Jeremy Lin’s catchphrase has to contend with “Fear the Beard,” and it’s not faring well. The Houston Rockets paid big money to lure Lin away from the New York Knicks in free agency this summer and added more firepower in a blockbuster trade before the start of the season to bring in James Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder. Through 18 games this season, the NBA’s reigning Sixth Man of the Year in Harden is taking full advantage of a starting gig with the Rockets. Harden leads the team with 24.7 points per-game, while Lin is struggling to be anything more than mediocre. The former Harvard shooting guard is becoming more of a pure point guard, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing. It’s true that Lin had a big turnover problem last season, but he’s completely gone away from what made him so effective last season. Lin’s taken 76 shots from beyond 15 feet, connecting on just 18 of them. On the bright side, Lin’s cut down on his 75 turnovers through the first 18 games of last season….by…ya know….one-third. At least he’s not racking up seven per-game. The thing about the turnovers though, is it showed that Lin was at least taking risks. In an effort to get his teammates more involved, Lin’s lost his scorer’s mentality. Harden’s former teammate Russell Westbrook is living proof that a point guard can distribute while having a nose for the basket as well. Lin’s background as a two-guard gave him good instincts from behind the arc and in the paint as well. Last season with the Knicks, Lin played a slashing role and got to the foul line for 94 times through his first 18 games. This season, however, Lin’s barely managed one-third of that during the same span. Making matters worse for Lin is the fact that Harden is nearly matching Lin’s 5.6 assists per-game. Center Omer Asik doesn’t have the offensive game that Lin was used to in New York when he was dumping off passes in the paint to Amar’e Stoudamire, but the 7-footer can finish at the hoop. Houston blew up its roster to get Harden but that kind of left Lin in the dust. Both Harden and small forward Chandler Parsons can create their own shots and fill up the stat sheet in other ways (rebounds, assists, etc.), which gives the Rockets three different players trying to carry the team. The fact of the matter is, Houston doesn’t have an identity now, making things cloudy for anybody looking to assert themselves as offensive focal points. New York was without Carmelo Anthony and Stoudamire isn’t the type of player to dominate every night, which gave Lin the perfect opportunity to take the league by surprise. The next nice surprise would be if Lin and Harden could get on the same page. The rest of the team can’t know what roles to play if their two stars don’t know how to complement each other. Until next time, folks, be great, because I know you can. Mike Gillmeister can be reached at mgillmei@gmail.com or on Twitter: @mgillmei
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