Jeremy Lin went through his first workout with the Houston Rockets on Tuesday. The 24-year-old point guard drew a huge media throng to cover his first workout at the Toyota Center, an indication that “Linsanity” remains alive and well.
Lin, who has signed a three-year, US$25 million contract with the Rockets, said he has been going through full workouts since early July, working with a shooting coach, a skills coach, and different trainers for his lower and upper body.
The first American-born NBA player of Taiwanese descent said he has been working particularly hard on training his left hand and on making decisions quickly.
During his breakout season, Lin became the first player in NBA history to average 20 points and seven assists in his first five starts. His 2011-2012 season ended prematurely in April due to a knee injury.
On his first day at the Rockets’ facility, Lin said he is physically ready, having fully recuperated from the torn meniscus in his left knee and having shed 4.5kg since last season.
“I feel good, I feel healthy,” Lin was quoted as saying in an Associated Press report. “I feel lighter. I’m excited.”
While the Rockets’ marketing strategy centers around him, Lin is trying to maintain his persona as the humble guy, repeatedly swatting back every attempt to describe him as the new face of the franchise.
“I don’t know if I’m the face of the franchise just yet,” Lin told about 40 reporters. “We’re a young team and we’re all going to buy in. The thing about us is it’s not going to be any one person that is going to carry us where we want to go. It’s going to be everybody.”
The Rockets squad, entirely rebuilt after a flurry of off-season moves, is full of rookies.
According to some sports commentators, the Rockets will present a different set of challenges for Lin on the court.
As the Rockets do not have many players who can create their own shots off the dribble, Lin will need to use options like the pick-n-roll to create offense for his teammates, the Bleacher Report Web site said.
Lin himself said he has changed since his breakthrough season in New York.
“I learned a lot in New York,” Lin said. “It happened so fast, I think I learned [about] basketball, but I think I learned a lot about people, a lot about life. That was huge. On the outside looking in, it might have been all about the glitz and the glamor, but it was really tough for me to handle everything, from all aspects.”
Determined not to let success change him, Lin spent his first night back in Houston sleeping on teammate Chandler Parsons’ couch, rating it just a touch behind his brother’s and well ahead of that of former Knicks teammate Landry Fields.
Lin was couch-surfing between his brother’s apartment and Fields’ house, before being offered an upscale apartment near the Knicks’ training facility following his breakout games. Fields later put a photo of the couch upon which Lin slept on Twitter, drawing more than 30,000 hits within five hours.
Yesterday, Lin tweeted that he has finally got furniture for his new home in Houston — but that he found Parsons’ pantry more attractive.
“People in Texas are SO nice. I got a bed. @ChandlerParsons couch was nice. His pantry was even better,” he tweeted.