NBA PM: Lin Sees How Different Houston Is
Senior NBA & College Basketball Editor
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Prior to the start of last season, Jeremy Lin was simply a pickup off the waivers for the Houston Rockets after he was cut by the Golden State Warriors. There weren’t a lot of headlines about it and Lin was gone before anyone could care about him one way or the other.
Fast forward to today and things have changed completely for Lin in Houston. The Rockets brought him back on a long-term deal to be their starting point guard. He conducted his first workout at the Toyota Center and not only was a hoard of media waiting to talk to him, they had hard-hitting questions like if he was ready to be the face of the franchise.
“Every once in a while I’ll take a look back and just be like, “I can’t believe this is happening,” Lin said to Jonathan Feigan of The Houston Chronicle. “I had one of those moments this morning, just sitting in the training room with the big Houston Rockets logo. It was like, I was appreciating the fact I get to wake up and play basketball for a living. Even the whole NBA thing. Yes Houston, but just to be able to play basketball for your job. Those are things I try to remind myself of every day.”
Unwilling to accept the label as the team’s star, Lin did say that he’s fully recovered from a knee injury that slowed him at the end of last year. He also noted that he’s lost 10 lbs. this offseason.
Lin’s hesitancy to accept the role as the team’s leader may have a lot to do with the negativity he received in the New York Knicks’ locker room after “Linsanity” erupted. There was a lot of animosity towards him, and it followed through to the offseason in comments made by his former teammates J.R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony.
Lin took a lot away from that and is hoping to avoid the same type of circumstances with the Rockets, no matter how much excitement there is over his return.
“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’s was huge. On the outside looking in, it might have been all about the glitz and the glamour, but it was really tough for me to handle everything, from all aspects.”
Metta World Peace Believes: The Los Angeles Lakers undoubtedly had an offseason for the ages by adding Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. Their additions have created the question of the offseason: Are the Lakers the best team in the league?
Almost everyone of relevance has sounded off on it and while the Lakers aren’t unanimously viewed as the favorites, they do have a lot of people pegging them as such. In a recent interview with ESPN Los Angeles’ Max and Marcellus, Lakers forward Metta World Peace gave his take and laid out some lofty expectations.
“[We’re missing] nothing,” World Peace said. “We feel great. I saw (Antawn) Jamison today and people forget that he is one of the best offensive rebounders in the game; he has the best touch out of everybody in the NBA. He has the best touch out of all the big men in the game so you figure a guy like that and then we have some great players off the bench so we’re confident. I trust myself and I trust in my teammates most importantly.
“I think people still have to go through the Lake Show. I think everything goes through the Lake Show. We had a bad season last year. If we don’t turn the ball over in a couple of games then we’re up 3-1 in that Oklahoma series, actually up 3-2 going back to L.A. so with that said confidence remains.
“We definitely want to beat the Bulls’ record and go 73-9. That’s definitely something I want to do. Whoever is out there at the beginning of the season then we gotta get it. It’s as simple as that. We just have to go get it. You try to snatch records before you leave this year. You gotta try to do a lot of great things so it’s definitely a goal. With Dwight Howard, (Steve) Nash, Kobe (Bryant), myself, Pau (Gasol) and then Jamison and a lot of great additions, it’s something that’s possible.”
World Peace is looked at as one of the difference makers who could make or break the Lakers’ championship aspirations. He was everything they needed in more during their championship run in 2010, but he’s regressed the last two years. Last season in particular he wasn’t in great shape at the start, then at the end of the season he elbowed Oklahoma City shooting guard James Harden and received a seven-game suspension as a result. He was playing his best basketball of the year prior to that incident and the Lakers really stopped rolling with him out. This year, though, he’s properly prepared and ready to show what he can do from start to finish, although in his mind he has nothing to prove.
“I’m good, really good,” World Peace said. “Last year I came into camp with 13.3 percent body fat and this year I’m already at eight percent. The pounds that I weigh is really irrelevant, the body fat really tests where you’re at. It’s really hard to lose body fat and I got down to seven percent body fat by the end of the playoffs, so I will probably be around four percent.
“I know I’m definitely one of the best players in the league, there’s no question. I proved that when I got into shape so I don’t need to be, I’m definitely one of the best defensive players to ever play the game so people can deny it if they want but it’s okay. I do my own thing, I market myself in my own way so I really don’t need to be marketed or talked about throughout the outlets because I do that on my own. On this team nobody plays defense like Metta World and nobody in the league plays defense like Metta World so I don’t really need to prove that.”
NCAA News and Notes: Just like the NBA season, the college basketball season is fast approaching as well. There has been some notable activity as of late, here’s a look a quick look at it all to get you caught up:
- McDonald’s All-American and N.C. State recruit Rodney Purvis was cleared by the NCAA yesterday. His eligibility came into question since he was amongst the first graduates from Raleigh’s Upper Room. The NCAA conducted a thorough investigation to ensure the school met all their standards. Purvis is an athletic 6’4 swingman who arguably makes the Wolfpack the favorites in the ACC.
- Rice basketball announced yesterday that Arsalan Kazemi, the first player from Iran to play Division I basketball, has been granted his release and is transferring from the program. Kazemi led the team in points (12.1) and rebounds (10.3) last season and has pro potential, more so at the overseas level than the NBA. He told CBSSports.com that he wants to play for a high major next season and has Cincinnati, Oregon, Texas, Kentucky, Ohio State and Florida in mind. Kazemi will have to sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules. He is the sixth player to transfer from Rice this offseason.
- Former Duke forward Lance Thomas came to a settlement agreement with a jeweler who he owed money from a purchase made during his senior season when the Blue Devils won the national championship. The jeweler claimed that Thomas made a down payment of $30,000, but still owed nearly $70,000, which he agreed to repay in writing. Of course, this caught the NCAA’s attention and created fear that Duke’s national championship could come into question. However, the jeweler refused to talk to investigators, meaning Duke’s championship is likely safe even though the investigation continues.