Lin disappointed by benching, but not giving up on Lakers
LOS ANGELES (AP) Jeremy Lin acknowledges he was surprised and disappointed by his first complete benching in nearly three years.
The point guard who once sparked Linsanity from New York to China also isn’t ready to quit trying to make a difference for the Los Angeles Lakers this season.
Lin didn’t play in the Lakers’ 99-85 loss at San Antonio on Friday, missing a game for the first time in his first season. He returned to coach Byron Scott’s rotation in Sunday’s game against Houston, playing as a reserve in the first quarter.
”I’m going to show up and do my best to play and work hard and stuff, but it definitely hurts,” Lin said before Sunday’s game in his first public comments since being a healthy scratch.
”I’m human. I’ve got emotions, too. … It’s discouraging sometimes. It’s disappointing sometimes. All of those emotions, of course. I don’t think anybody would feel great after a DNP, anybody. It doesn’t matter who you are.”
Lin started 23 of the first 43 games for the Lakers, who acquired him from Houston in the summer. But he lost his starting spot to journeyman veteran Ronnie Price and now rookie Jordan Clarkson, who made his first career start against the Spurs and his second against the Rockets on Sunday night.
Lin hadn’t been stuck to a team’s bench when healthy since Feb. 2, 2012 – two days before he dropped career highs of 25 points and seven assists on the Nets to kick off the two-month stretch of remarkable play known as Linsanity.
The Bay Area-raised, Harvard-educated guard with Taiwanese parents became a wildly popular athlete in Asia and earned a lucrative three-year free-agent deal with Houston.
”In terms of my career, the only thing that’s really been consistent is the amount of inconsistency that I’ve had in my life,” said Lin, who was waived by the Warriors and demoted by the Knicks. ”I’ve gone from being cut to D-League to starting to playing heavy minutes to … a different role every week. I’ve got to just keep trying to stay aggressive when I get out there. If I get out there.”
After 35 games with the Knicks and two seasons with the Rockets, Lin landed in Los Angeles and was ready to share minutes with Steve Nash, who was ruled out for the season before it even began. Lin is the Lakers’ second highest-paid player this season, making nearly $14.9 million in the final season of his deal.
But Scott has shaken up his starting lineup in recent days during the Lakers’ tumble to seven consecutive losses, bumping forwards Wesley Johnson and Ed Davis in favor of Ryan Kelly and Robert Sacre. The Lakers are examining the potential of their younger players and hoping for a spark, but Scott hasn’t written off Lin.
”The only thing that’s for sure on our team is that the starting five is going to start,” Scott said when asked if Lin would still play a role for the Lakers. ”I’ve got to just watch and see how the game is. I’ve got an idea of what I’m going to do, but I’ve also got to let the game kind of dictate that.”