Coming off a season for the ages with the New York Knicks, Jeremy Lin placed huge expectations for himself entering his first year with the Houston Rockets. Unable to meet them, Lin says he struggled through a trying follow-up season to Linsanity.
Speaking at a youth conference in Taiwan on Wednesday, Lin told a crowd of roughly 20,000 that Rockets coaches lost faith in him during a frustrating debut season:
"I became so obsessed with becoming a great basketball player ... trying to be Linsanity, being this phenomenon that took the NBA by storm ... The coaches were losing faith in me; basketball fans were making fun of me ... I was supposed to be joyful and free, but what I experienced was the opposite. I had no joy, and I felt no freedom."
Signed to a $25 million contract last offseason, Lin hoped to be a difference-maker for the Rockets. Instead, he often struggled next to the emerging James Harden, who proved to be Houston's real franchise player during a breakout year.
With the Rockets openly angling for Dwight Howard during the past year, Lin's long-term relationship with the franchise seemed shaky, but he's still on the roster entering next season. With Howard and Harden providing the star power in Houston, Lin will be counted on as starting point guard to supplement those two with steady play.
One of the league's most respected coaches, Kevin McHale, runs things in Houston, so it's easy to give him the benefit of the doubt. Lin may be struggling with how last season went in mid-August, but he should be ready to suit up for a title run come October.