With the regular season coming quicker and quicker, the Atlanta Hawks have a lot of work to do in training camp that is considerably shorter than years past. This bucket list is extensive but crucial for the future of the franchise. Getting started, the Hawks have the challenge of getting not only the new draft picks acclimated with the normal nuances of NBA life, but they have to get the ENTIRE team acclimated to the new systems of new head coach Lloyd Pierce culture wise and mainly on defense.
With all of the new personnel and change that are attached to the Hawks this year and beyond, HawksHoop is taking the challenge of being of providing the access to the information that will help the Hawks fan understand that even though the team will struggle at times for the next few years, the path is the correct if patience is practiced.Will this team contend for the NBA title? No. Will they be a playoff team? No. But if we all remember, Golden State was in this position years ago. The good thing here is the man that helped make the decisions, Travis Schlenk, is making the ultimate decisions here in Atlanta.
Let’s start breaking down the players going forward into the NBA season…
HawksHoop takes a look at...Jeremy Lin.
Let’s be clear here. Jeremy Lin is an addition by subtraction roster move here. Dennis Schroder basically was traded when the Trae Young deal went down on draft night. Not long after, Schroder was sent packing to Oklahoma City for Carmelo Anthony who was bought out of his contract. Jeremy Lin was traded in from Brooklyn to provide stability at the point guard position while Trae Young goes into training to prepare him for the keys to the Atlanta Hawks offense. Lin coming in is another chess move by Travis Schlenk to save money for the 2019 free agent sweepstakes.
Lin has been brought in essentially for veteran leadership and to be a mentor to Trae Young. That’s all and that is it. Sure, Lin can go off for 25 point nights here and there, we’re not looking at a player with one foot out of the league here. Lin can still shoot the basketball, but he does not have the talent the Hawks need to get into the playoffs. What the Hawks need from Lin is what he provided up north I-85 in Charlotte. After difficult stints at times in Houston and Los Angeles, Lin played great backing up Kemba Walker in his one year in the Queen city. He played well enough to get a multi year contract from Brooklyn. While Lin was there he mentored D’Angelo Russell and helped rehab his game and image.
No matter what you read in this preview of Jeremy Lin, none of it matters if the man can’t stay healthy and that just has not been the case. There’s some good news and some bad news about Jeremy Lin’s season with Brooklyn last year. The good news is that Lin averaged 18 points and four assists. The bad news is that the season only consisted of one game. Lin blew his knee out and was out for the season. It is going to be very interesting to see how Lin’s health holds up. Lin will be counted on for major minutes whether he starts or not. Lin finished a few games when he was in Charlotte (when he was healthy). This will probably be the case in Atlanta, especially with Trae Young the only other listed point guard on the roster.
Looking at the fact that Jeremy Lin has struggled to stay healthy the last couple of seasons and a veteran who has not had a lot of playoff success, why Lin? Why now?
Travis Schlenk may be looking to flip Lin for more cap space, assets or both.
Lin can provide steady minutes for Lloyd Pierce in both backcourt positions. Playing the two-guard spot can provide a steady hand when Trae Young falls into trouble with strong double teams or an elite point guard he can’t guard on the defensive end. Granted Lin is not the strongest defender in the world but he has enough knowledge of the game to at least have the Chris Pauls, Russell Westbrooks or the Kyrie Irvings of the world coming to Atlanta with dreams of scoring 50 points.
Jeremy Lin has shown the ability to score at various times throughout his career. We’re not just talking about the “Linsanity” days in New York. Lin is a good spot up shooter. That is an asset that Trae Young is going to need as a playmaker to build on from his play in the summer leagues. Bottom line, Lin’s mission statement is to make sure that Trae Young will be put in positions so that he can learn and be successful.
Lin’s passing ability will be an important asset in the motion offense that Lloyd Pierce and his staff will implement. Jeremy has averaged at least four assists every year outside his rookie year. He averaged 5.1 assists in the one year with the Hornets but the Hawks would love to get the reincarnation of the 2012-13 Jeremy Lin. That year he averaged 13 points, six assists and three rebounds. That would bring value to Lin and the Hawks, who might be looking for deals if he comes out the gate healthy and hot.
What does the Hawks need from Jeremy Lin?
The health issue might have been brought up about 37 times in this piece, but it bears repeating. Man! Jeremy Lin has to stay healthy. Then Jeremy Lin has to to find the fine line of being aggressive and and getting his teammates involved. The mission statement in Atlanta now and for the foreseeable future is player development. If he can figure out that challenge, he will be a viable scoring threat. The roster is built around three-point shooting and athletic play. Lin’s job will be penetrating the defense, breaking down the defense and kicking the ball out to the shooters.
Reminds me of a certain team out west.
What Jeremy Lin brings to the table not only helps Trae Young’s development but his game transcends to the first and second unit. Lin is the pass-first point guard that the Hawks have lacked for years. Atlanta’s last two point guards, being Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder were shoot first guards which stunted the offense at times.
Overall this is a win-win for everybody. Jeremy Lin is going into a contract year, so he will be motivated to make a run for his last possible quality NBA contract. With that in mind, look for Lin to increase his scoring and assist averages. This is not about a competition for minutes with Trae Young. They both will get a good chunk of minutes that will keep Lin from looking over his shoulder which tends to affect his play and aggressiveness. Jeremy Lin has only averaged more than 14 points in his career. Look for that to change this year while he is with the Hawks.
The “Linsanity” days are long gone. Anyone that uses that nickname at this point saw it on Google. Please don’t. It died in New York...like the first time. However, the Hawks will need that swagger from those days. Granted it was only about six weeks, but desperate can’t be choosy right? The young players will look to him for guidance when the going gets tough during the season. Lin can provide that for Atlanta, like head coach Lloyd Pierce, Lin lived through struggling times in Brooklyn.
Look for a very exciting partnership between Jeremy Lin and John Collins. These two can make their lives very easy on each other utilizing the pick and roll offense. Since Collins can shoot the mid range (based on if he worked on that jumper!), rebound and jump out the gym, it will allow space for Lin to operate. With Lin’s jumper, it can open lanes for Collins to operate down low.
During a rebuild of teams, you need the proper mix of young players and veterans…
Travis Schlenk knocked it out of the park with the acquisition of Jeremy Lin.