Below is the eighth in a series previewing the story lines surrounding each player on the Lakers’ roster for the 2014-15 season. This post focuses on Lakers guard Jeremy Lin.
1. Will Lin start at point guard? It would seem unthinkable two years ago to debate whether Steve Nash remains worthy of keeping his starting point guard spot. He has already etched a Hall of Fame resume that entails two regular-season MVP awards, a third-place standing on the NBA’s all time assists list and arguably the best point guard of this past generation. But after missing a combined 99 games the past two seasons through injuries to his left leg, back and hamstrings, Nash enters the 2014-15 season without much certainty on whether his improved health will prove enough to survive an 82-game season. Such issues could either prompt the Lakers to keep Nash as a starter just to ensure he stays fresh after warm ups or feature him as a reserve to minimize adjustments should he suffer another injury.
Meanwhile, Lin joins the Lakers eager to seek stability in an NBA career that took off with “Linsanity” in New York and plateaued the past two seasons with Houston amid evolving roles. Still, Lin offered plenty of positive signs in Houston. He posted career-highs last season in field-goal percentage from the field (44.6 percent), from three-point range (35.8 percent) and from the foul line (82.3 percent). Lin’s turnovers dropped to 2.5 per game after averaging 3.6 with the Knicks. According to ESPN, Lin shot 57.8 percent off drives last season, a mark that only trailed LeBron James (63.8 percent).
Will all those areas become enough for Lin to start at point guard? As of now, Lakers coach Byron Scott is favoring Nash. But that could easily change within the next month for reasons including Nash’s health and Lin’s talent level.