Lin on ASG: 'I want to make sure I deserve it'
Jeremy Lin didn’t really get a chance to watch most of the All-Star Game on Sunday night.
Instead, the Rockets' point guard, went out to dinner with his friends and family. But he did catch some of the game, enough to see his teammate, James Harden, play some in the first half and some in the second.
Lin watched Harden play and said he was happy for him. But he also admitted the All-Star Game wasn’t for him. Not this year.
“I’m kind of thankful I didn’t get voted because when … I want to make sure I’m fully, fully deserving of it, when I play,” Lin said after the team’s evening practice on Monday. “And I didn’t feel like that was the case this year.”
Lin received 883,809 All-Star votes this season. He received the third-highest votes of any guard in the Western Conference. Kobe Bryant was first, followed by Chris Paul, about 45,000 votes ahead of Lin. Had Lin been voted in, Paul, the game’s MVP, wouldn’t have even been a starter in the game. He likely would have made the team as a reserve, though.
To put the number of votes Lin received in perspective, Harden was fourth among voting for Western Conference guards with 485,986 – or nearly 400,000 behind Lin.
Did watching Harden play in the All-Star Game at the Toyota Center motivate Lin to get to that level, to where he's deserving of playing in the game?
“I’m not really any more motivated to make it to the All-Star Game to be honest,” he answered. “I’m happy for James but for a player, I don’t think that’s anybody’s motivation.”
In his first season with the Rockets, Lin has started all 55 games, averaging 12.6 points, 6.2 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game. Lin signed with the Rockets in free agency after going on a magical 25-game stretch with the Knicks last season, which sparked the international "Linsanity" craze.
Lin wasn’t an All-Star this year but he was a part of the festivities. He participated in the Skills Challenge but didn’t advance to the final after recording a time of 35.8 seconds. He did get a chance to catch up with old friends and former teammates who were in town for the weekend. He also got to show off his new home city.
“It was fun just to see everybody here,” he said. “It was nice. We were comfortable. We were at home so we got to share our arena and share our city with the world.”
Lin and the Rockets were back to work on Monday, although they had a rare evening practice at the Toyota Center. The Rockets lost two of three heading into the All-Star break but are 4-3 in February and are sitting in the eight-seed in the West.
“Coach keeps talking about it as a playoff push and how it’s going to fly right by,” Lin said. “It’s all about seeding now and we have to make sure we’re in.”