Lin deflects criticism, looks to improve

Lin deflects criticism, looks to improve
May 6, 2013, 10:00 pm
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Lin on starter/bench role

Whatever criticism Jeremy Lin is taking for his playoff performance, he is pushing all that aside and focusing on what he needs to do to get better.

During the Rockets' first-round series with Oklahoma City, Lin suffered a bruised right chest muscle late in the first half of Game Two when he and Thabo Sefolosha collided. He tried to play in Game Three, but was limited to two points and one assist in 18 minutes. After missing Games Four and Five, he came back in Game Six, where he had three points, one rebound, and one block in just under 14 minutes. The Rockets point guard never used injuries as an excuse for his performance, but it was clear he was not the same Jeremy Lin who had averaged 17.3 regular-season points in April.

Naturally, there has been some criticism from the outside world for Lin's playoff performance as a whole, injured or not.

"I don't really know what people are thinking," Lin said on Monday. "I don't really care either. For me, I know what I have to do to get better. I know the extent of what I had to go through in the playoffs and what the experience was like. So I would say it was rough. I didn't play well, obviously. I wasn't happy, but I learned and it's not the first time in my life or my career where I haven't done what I wanted to do. As long as I learn what I need to learn, I think I'll be okay."

As Lin dealt with injuries, Patrick Beverley shined as the starting point guard, having two performances where he scored 16 points. 16 points was Lin's total for the postseason. While there are no signs that Lin is headed to the bench, a buzz has been created regarding the starting position. And Lin was asked about it on Monday.

"Do you care, like the role, if you start or if you come off the bench?" the reporter asked. "Do you care about things like that?"

Lin laughed.

"Uh, yeah," he said with a chuckle. "I think everybody does."

The same reporter asked a follow-up on if Lin would be opposed to the Rockets possibly asking Lin to come off the bench next season.

"I don't think your role is limited to starting or coming off the bench," Lin responded. "It just depends on what your role is when you play and how you play and you can look at what Jarrett Jack (of the Warriors) has done. So it just depends."

No matter what, though, Lin is focused on improving. He said he plans on taking around three weeks of vacation to rest up and heal up before resuming basketball workouts. He said on Monday that, in his exit interviews with the coaches, Kevin McHale said he had an overall good season.

"I liked how I improved throughout the year," Lin said. "I liked how I got more consistent throughout the year. I learned to be more effective in my role throughout the year. Those were the positives."

That said, Lin is clearly not resting on his laurels. Ever since the Rockets' season ended Saturday after Game Six, he has talked about improving in multiple facets of his game and emerging a stronger force for next season.

"(I'm working on) just becoming a better offensive and defensive player," Lin said. "And just comprehensively looking at my turnovers, missed shots, and defensive breakdowns."

And, unlike last year, he now has an entire offseason where he doesn't have to think about learning a new system. He can focus on improving upon what he already learned.

"I'm just going into something that I'm more comfortable in, you know, not having to wonder or hope or have it be a complete mystery," Lin said. "Next year, I'll have a good idea about the organization, my teammates, the city, everything. I'm really looking forward to it."