Jeremy Lin on NBA future – ‘I’m not sure ... let’s wait and see’

Patrick Blennerhassett, South China Morning Post

Posted at Mar 11 2021 01:48 PM

Jeremy Lin #7 of the Santa Cruz Warriors handles the ball against the Lakeland Magic during the NBA G League Playoffs on March 9, 2021 at HP Field House in Orlando, Florida. Chris Marion, Getty Images via AFP​

Jeremy Lin says he is unclear about his future in the NBA, now that the G League season has wrapped up in its Orlando, Florida bubble.

“I’m not sure,” the 32-year-old told the Post in a virtual conference. “In the short term [we will] see what is out there, there are no other seasons that you could jump into other than the NBA. The CBA season and things like that are winding up and it’s waiting and seeing if a team felt like I deserve it or played well enough to be a part of their organisation,” he said.

Lin finished his season on Tuesday night with the Santa Cruz Warriors in a loss to the Lakeland Magic in the semi-finals of the G League play-offs, which used a single elimination styled format with eight teams. The Warriors won their first outing against the Rio Grande Vipers, where he had a team-high eight assists and 12 points.

Lin said he enjoyed the shortened season, and all the attention he received both in Santa Cruz and abroad, especially from Asia. He said the key was heading into the G League with a humble mind and a willingness to work hard and focus on basketball.

“I don’t come in thinking I am above anything or anybody. Coming from my background and coming where I came from, the fact that I can play professional basketball again is truly a blessing.

“I’m just humbled and the fact that people are still paying attention and they care, and they started broadcasting my games in Taiwan and they started broadcasting a lot of my games through China. And my family members in Taiwan got a chance to watch this game, it was just a web effect where things were going on.”

Lin mentioned the NBA’s controversy with the Chinese Communist Party, which erupted in the fall of 2019 after then Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted, and then deleted, his support for Hong Kong’s protest movement.

“Even with everything that happened with China and the NBA last year,” Lin said, “[the Chinese] still put my G League games up on broadcast [on the mainland] and I was just like, ‘wow.’ So thank you to all the fans.”

The NBA’s season is still ongoing, having just finished its midway point and its All-Star Game, meaning G League players can still be called up before the play-offs start. Lin can be called up by any team, and said he feels physically healthy even though he had to sit out a number of games this season with back issues.

“I feel great right now, this was our fourth game in five nights and the first thing Axel [Toupane] said to me after was, ‘how did your legs feel tonight?’ Four games in five nights, guys are going to feel it. But I actually felt pretty good.”

Lin also spoke about the difference in play between the Chinese Basketball Association, where he spent last year with the Beijing Ducks, and playing this year in the NBA’s feeder league.

“Coming back here there’s definitely a certain element where I feel like I thrive in the NBA rules and the NBA system, with a lot of space and pick and rolls and things like that, so it was very different.

“Over there the lane is so congested, here obviously you have tremendous athletes, quick athletes, guys who jump really high. And in the CBA it’s probably going to be more shooting centric.”

Lin’s coach at the Santa Cruz Warriors, Kris Weems, spoke about having an experienced veteran like Lin on the squad to help guide a roster of younger players trying to make the NBA.

“I think he is a connector. He’s been through a lot as a professional, he’s seen the very lows – not getting drafted as a decorated college player … his career took some twists and turns, obviously and then in New York.”

Weems said Lin uses all his experiences to help himself and his teammates perform better.

“You have that experience as a player, and now he’s not a young man; he’s bit older in his career, and that kind of professionalism goes a long way. For the young guys to see somebody do the right things on a consistent basis, he’s not distracted by anything.”

Lin said regardless of what happens next in his career, he is going to try to enjoy it, as he did this season.

“I’m just really grateful and I don’t want to take these things for granted because I’m not going to be a professional basketball player my whole life.”