Jeremy Lin was doubtless the biggest attraction at the Houston Rockets’ media day on Monday, but the goal he talked about was simple: to lead the NBA club into the playoffs this season for the first time since the 2008-2009 season.
Not many experts are likely to pick the young and relatively inexperienced Rockets to earn a playoff berth, but Lin sees it as a possibility.
“I think it’s going to be fun because I really do think we’re talented,” Lin said. “If we can just buy into what the coach is preaching and can absorb information quickly, I think we’ll have a chance to do some cool things.”
The former New York Knicks star said that other teams may have very talented players and more experience than the Rockets, but he sees the club as having other strengths.
“We have to respect everybody who is in the league, but at the same time [we] have to have confidence in ourselves,” he said. “We may have less experience, but with that comes our positives, our strengths, which is going to be our speed, our quickness, our athleticism.”
Lin, who left New York to sign a three-year US$25.1 million contract with the Rockets, said he already felt at home after spending 12 days in Houston’s training camp in December last year, before being waived. The New York Knicks claimed him off waivers on Dec. 27, and it was in New York that the “Linsanity” phenomenon was born, when Lin led the moribund Knicks on a seven-game winning streak in February.
In 35 games (25 starts) last season, Lin averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists a game, but he brushed aside suggestions that he is now the face of his new team, insisting he still has a lot to learn.
“For me, I see this as just the beginning. I’ve played only 64 games. I’m very young and still learning,” Lin said.
The Rockets are coming off a respectable 34-32 season, but 11 of the 20 players on their roster are either rookies or second-year players.