Portland Trail Blazers: Jeremy Lin deserves another shot in the NBA

Portland Trail Blazers - Jeremy Lin (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Portland Trail Blazers - Jeremy Lin (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Down on his luck, Jeremy Lin could potentially find one last opportunity to shine in the NBA with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Less than two months departed from winning an NBA championship, Jeremy Lin has had to face the hard reality of life as a middling NBA player. Although he’s received offers to play overseas, Lin would like to continue his playing career here in the NBA.

Unfortunately, that possibility is looking less and less likely with each day that passes. That is, unless the Portland Trail Blazers have anything to say about it.

After the dramatic unfolding with ex-Clippers owner Donald Sterling, the NBA has taken large strides to help eliminate the problem of rampant racism in the league’s front offices. However, fixing these deep-rooted issues are easier said than done.

Author Michael Lewis had a relevant excerpt in his book The Undoing Project, in which he got to sit down and talk to Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey about the curious case of Jeremy Lin.

"“He’s incredibly athletic,” said Morey. “But the reality is that every [expletive] person, including me, thought he was unathletic. And I can’t think of any reason for it other than he was Asian.”"

Lin’s exceptional athleticism is what helped spark “Linsanity” across the nation, as the undrafted Asian phenom captured the hearts of fans worldwide. From 2011 to 2017, Lin would bounce around the country playing various roles for several teams, averaging 12.7 points, 4.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game.

Unfortunately Lin would experience a ruptured patella tendon in his first game of the 2017-18 season, one that would keep him out for the remainder of the year. Since then, it has been a hard road to recovery. Lin has had to learn how to make use of his skills as an intelligent passer and offensive opportunist instead of relying on blatant athleticism.

His career culminated in last year’s stint with the Toronto Raptors, where he finally got to taste an NBA championship. Lin’s success likely played a big factor in the reported half a billion Chinese people that watched the 2018-19 NBA season. More people are now watching the NBA in China than the entire population of the United States.

Despite these promising numbers, Lin’s personal numbers in Toronto last year were not quite as exciting. As the third option at point guard for the Raptors, Line struggled to assert himself. This probably left a bad taste in the mouths of the NBA’s decision makers. However, that would be misguided judgement.


Lin arrived in Toronto after being waived by the Atlanta Hawks, where he managed to cobble together a relatively respectable performance. He averaged 10.7 points and 3.5 assists per game off the bench for the Hawks, playing a key role as a reserve. Lin achieved a 15.9 PER and 59.4 true shooting percentage in Atlanta, showcasing he still has the ability to be an offensive threat on the court.

He could provide an excellent insurance policy for a team like the Portland Trail Blazers, who run the risk of only having true point guard on the roster this year. If Anfernee Simons struggles to adapt to becoming a full-time ball handler, or Damian Lillard suffers an injury, the Blazers will be out of options. Picking up Lin before he’s gone would be the smart play to preemptively prevent a mid-season disaster.

“[Lin] is never selfish, it’s always about others and the team first.” -Trae Young

What’s more, Trae Young advocated for the leadership he brought to the Hawks and how his tutelage affected the development of his personal game last year. Picking up a player that will prioritize team success should be a huge priority for franchise with its eyes set on winning a championship. The signing of Pau Gasol also clearly indicates that Portland is prioritizing stable locker room presences that can offer insight to the young core even if their athletic abilities are part of the past. Much like Gasol was brought in to help Zach Collins take the next step, Lin could help provide a guiding light for Simons and Gary Trent Jr. while sponging up garbage time minutes.

Although Neil Olshey prefers to enter the season with only 14 players on the roster, Lin is the only player available right now that could easily outperform his market value.

Projecting each Northwest Divison team's record. dark. Next

Last year the Portland Trail Blazers entered the season with a full roster, but still made room yo pick up Enes Kanter off of waivers at the trade deadline. A little bit of forward thinking could help maintain the Blazers flexibility while still adding a beneficial piece to the team like Jeremy Lin.