This is the entire Press Conference which introduced Jeremy Lin as a Houston Rocket. Enjoy
Alexander: This is a fabulous reception. As I was telling Jeremy when we had Scottie Pippen coming here, it was the biggest reception we ever had for the press, and it was a tenth of this. Thank you, all. We appreciate it. We think Jeremy is going to be a fabulous addition to the team. We welcome him, and we like him. I guess we are ready for your questions.
Question: Describe the feeling coming back to the practice gym as a different player and with a bigger salary?
Lin: I am just excited to be here, and I think the biggest thing that excites me is the fact that I know what this organization is about and I was in training camp with Coach McHale and I saw how he operates and what he expects from the team and what he is about. To me it is something that I believe as well, and it just made sense.
Q: Can you briefly explain, this is all almost like a script out of a movie scenario. This time 12 months ago you were preparing to play summer league with us, now you come back as the conquering king. Just explain what that 12-month period has been like to you and your progression as an NBA player?
Lin: I don’t really see myself as the conquering king, but it has been an unbelievable ride just a lot of thing that I didn’t expect to happen, in terms of just the way things last season went and, you know, I still have to kind of remind myself that this is all actually happening sometimes. But it’s a huge blessing from God and I can’t believe how it all shaped up for me to be able to be right here right. That’s really exciting and I am thankful.
Q: I am sure Daryl and the Rockets management showed you a good time when you came to visit here a couple of weeks ago. What did they do to convince you to come back?
Lin: Well we had a great steak dinner and they just showed me around. I knew most of everything, but it was just what they said. Mr. Alexander and his willingness and competiveness. His willingness to win and the direction they want to head in, just understanding that this is a young team and there is a lot of talent and that we want to continue to build and get better. It was very clear that they had plans for me and to use me. They were very apologetic about letting me go. The biggest thing is that I’ve been here and I know what it is about and I’ve seen what Coach McHale is about, too.
Q: The relationship you have with Yao Ming, have you spoke to him recently? What did he tell you about this franchise?
Lin: Well, I just texted back and forth with him a little bit. It was more congratulatory than anything else, but when things settle down I will end up talking to him about different things with regards to the city of Houston
Q: How do you go from being a young guy just trying to make a dream happen 12 months ago to eventually becoming now a global marketing piece in the NBA and in contract negotiations?
Lin: Well, I am just trying to take it just one day at a time. A lot of stuff had come so fast. I am just trying to make that every day I wake up, just focused on what needs to be done that day. I just want to make sure that as a person and as a player that I am consistent in what I believe in and that’s the biggest thing for me, is waking up every day and try to glorify God and give my best effort and get better as a person and as a player.
Q: When you began playing for the Knicks, you were relatively unknown and with little expectations. When you play again, we get an idea today of what kind of scrutiny and spotlight you will have. How do you feel about dealing with that, playing under that kind of attention and expectations compare to last time?
Lin: I just want to make sure that I play for God and I play hard and I can be OK with anything else. I had dinner with Chandler Parsons last night. We kind of talked about the team and
the guys that are coming in. They are humble. It doesn’t matter in terms of outside distractions, I think we are all focusing on getting better as a team and moving forward.
Q: By all accounts you really wanted to stay in New York. Just talk about being here and what happen in New York?
Lin: Coming into free agency, I didn’t expect to be anywhere besides New York. But after I came and visited and talked … I wouldn’t have signed the offer sheet from Houston if I wasn’t excited about the possibility of playing here as well. I am so thankful to New York and the Knicks for this past year — the way the fans rooted for us. I am thankful for what they did for me. Now, I am excited and focused on what I can do for this organization to move forward.
Q: What was unique and how did you sell Jeremy on the team, given that you had some of a blind roster — you didn’t know exactly who was going to be here. How did you sell the organization and what did you tell him, without knowing exactly who he might be playing with?
Morey: Well, I sold him on the organization. Obviously, Mr. Alexander and his competiveness. If you go over the 20 years that he’s owned the team, we have one of the top five records … multiple championships. Not many organizations can put an organization like that in front of a player. I am always proud to sell it and also proud to sell our fans and our city. I think it’s still potentially underrated on the national scene, but this organization is one that has consistently won — always has tried to strive for a championship and I think that was the main selling point.
Q: What is the mindset you have to balance the things that you are faced with, the adversity?
Lin: I think the biggest thing is know what I am fighting for, just stay consistent and not change anything. I have always tried to play for God and that is all that I am worry about. In terms of from here on forward, it really is just trying to stay focused. I understand that we have big challenges ahead of us as a team. I need to get better and looking back at last season there are a lot of errors where I can improve as a player. Going into this off-season what I am focusing on is how I can improve, how I can become better and how I can help out this team.
Q: How is your knee, now a couple of month into the off-season? What is your take on the different reports on how the Knicks felt about you not trying to play in the playoffs? How did you come to the decision not to test that knee?
Lin: My knee is feeling better and I am almost to the point where I have all my speed and explosiveness from before. In terms of addressing, it is similar to what I said in the Sports Illustrated article. I obviously wanted to play. Just having the vets around me kind of walking me through like, ‘OK, how are you feeling? You can’t do this.’ To me mentally I was ready. It is something that I obviously wanted to do, but just wasn’t able to.
Q: When Jeremy took off in New York last year, did you (Alexander) have to resist the temptation of chewing anybody out for making that decision. Jeremy, can you talk about that night in Houston. It was Christmas Eve, if I am not mistaken. Your thoughts, what you did? Just put it in context to what is going on here today.
Lin: It was an emotional time around Christmas, but at that time I wanted to stay. I was comfortable with the sets and had been through training camp, but everything happens for a reason. I am very excited that they were committed in bringing me back and I am excited to be back.
Alexander: It is always difficult when you made an error, and we made an error by letting him go. I think we rectified now.
Q: Les, in an interview with Jonathan Feigen, you said you and Daryl were still in pursuit of the big thing. If that doesn’t happen, will you be content with Jeremy, Chandler (Parsons), (Donatas) Motiejunas, the young draft picks, just going forward there and seeing what happens before the trade deadline.
Alexander: I think it is stupid to be content. I don’t think anybody should be content. So we are always trying to do better at all time. If Daryl was the kind of guy who was content, he would not be here. So that is how we always look at things.
Q: This organization has dealt with this (media attention), has been in this situation 10 years ago (with Yao Ming) and for many of the years since. Can you describe what value is in that, what advantages to the organization and to the basketball side can come with this kind of spotlight?
Alexander: I think the spotlight is important. I think we are going to be in national TV now because of Jeremy. Free agents want to be in a team that is on the national spotlight. So I think from a basketball stand point, we really improve our negotiations with of many, many free agents.
Q: How disappointed were you in Carmelo and JR’s comments (calling Lin’s contract “ridiculous”). Do you think it is fair that players around the league talk about other players potential contracts?
Lin: I love Carmelo and JR. I never had any issues with them. I just know my relationship with them and they have been very supporting and they were great teammates last year.
Q: The partnership with the Astros and the new Comcast network starting in the fall. How was Jeremy’s marketability able to help the network not just locally, but regionally as well?
Alexander: It probably will help.
Q: Have any of your former teammates talked to you recently?
Lin: Yeah, I mean I spoken with almost everybody. Tyson (Chandler), (Steve) Novak and even the guys who are not there anymore, Jared (Jeffries), Landry (Fields) and Baron (Davis). I think we developed a friendship and a relationship on that team this past year and that is going to be a lifelong memory for us. We are all rooting for each other, no matter where we all end up. That’s the biggest thing about basketball, you create a lifelong relationship with your teammates.
Q: Do you find it ironic that a few years ago you were an economic major and now some people refer to you as a one-man stimulus package?
Lin: Yes. I am not an expert on economics, I just have a degree in it. I have no work experience in economics. (Much laughter in return).
Q: A couple nights ago one of the Houston sport stars for the Texans tweeted at you that if you didn’t have a place to stay, you could come crash at his couch. Have you found a place to stay yet?
Lin: I haven’t, but I looked at a place. Chandler showed me around the city last night and kind of pointed out a couple places to live. I am going to look around and see what is right, but definitely not trying to stay in any couches for the time being.
Q: Have any other athletes in the city reached out to you?
Lin: No not yet, just Chandler. Does that count? Do you mean my teammates, or from other teams. … No, just Chandler.
Q: You’re going to be the team leader, that’s why you got this contract. You were the team leader in high school and college. Is there anything else more daunting about this situation that maybe you confronted in as a young high school player than a college player?
Lin: No. I think it is the same. I am older now, and I am on a different team. I don’t have a lot of experience in terms of the NBA, but I have more than some of my teammates. I am going to continue to learn. I have so much room for improvement, but at the same time I am going to try to share it, the little bit I learned, with my teammates and the rookies. It is going to be a collective thing and we are going to look to Coach McHale a lot to give us a lot of guidance and leadership as well just because he is a proven leader.
Q: What can you personally bring to the Houston Rockets and to the city of Houston?
Lin: The only thing I can promise is that I am going to give my best effort and try my best to a great play maker, be a great decision maker, I am going to try my best to be a humble leader and to serve my teammates. That’s my goal and I want to get better as a player and this team to get better. We are going to put our best foot forward.
Q: The all-star game will be here in 2013. What would it mean for you to be possibly Houston’s representative?
Lin: I just want our team to win and make the playoffs. That is what I care about, what this team cares about and that is what coach McHale cares about, that is what Mr. Alexander and Daryl care about. We just making sure that we are doing everything to win and let everything else take care of itself.
Q: What similarities did you see in Coach McHale’s system?
Lin: Well I think his system is what I believe in as a basketball player. What that is, is let your defense make stops and get rebounds to field your offense and to play fast, to spread the floor and allow the ball to find the right person for the right shot. That is what I believe in. I think that is what works and that is when you are most lethal as a team, when you are creative and open it up. Just let it happen naturally.
Q: Daryl, we got a sense for 10 years of the pressure that Yao was under and faced. If this would be similar to that, and if we are getting a sense of that, what would the organization do to deal with that and how do you feel Jeremy can or needs to do to deal with that?
Morey: Well, I wasn’t here for the start of that, but I was here for the middle of it. I honestly think there is pressure every year. Every year we want to be become the best team we can be. We are not satisfied where we have been recently, we feel that with Jeremy as one of our team leaders along with the rest of the young group we have (and Chandler is here today), we can continue to improve. All we can do is work hard every day to become better players and myself try to make acquisitions that hopefully get us to the next level.
Q: Jeremy, can you talk about your time here in December. How that helped you grow as a player, an individual and an adult?
Lin: One of the tough things was uncertainty of how long I would be around here the first time. Just learning to fight and battle and persevere through adversity and uncertainty. I think that helped me with everything in life.
Q: How has your family helped you out, while you weighed out your options this summer?
Lin: My family is obviously my support system. They just want to support me with whatever happens and support any of the decisions I make. It is always nice to have family around and I am very close with my family, so to have that love and support is huge.
Q: Can you talk about your plans from now to October.
Lin: Yes. I am just going to be working out and then go to Asia, train there and do some of the obligations I have to do over there, then come back and get ready for training camp.
Q: You have a lot of fans in Taiwan and China. They love you and that is the reason they loved the Knicks. Right now you are with the Rockets and they love the Rockets right now. How do you feel about it?
Lin: I am just humbled, with the support I gotten from Asian fans. Whether it is in the U.S. or overseas, it has been off the charts. To be able to have them all supporting me is just awesome. I can’t wait to just start playing basketball and to get the season going.
Q: Do you feel like you have downgraded coming from New York, where they had two stars to where now you will be the star of the team?
Lin: I am excited to be. If I didn’t believe in this organization I wouldn’t be here. I think we are going to build this team and we are going to compete and we are going to win games, that’s my goal. That is how I envisioned it. I want to be able to help this team in any way I can.
Q: You say you need to improve. Can you get inside of what you want to work on?
Lin: I want to be able to get my muscles and legs to be able to withstand the whole season. I want to be completely healthy and not to lose any speed or any explosiveness, not to let fatigue affect my play. I want to get much better, everything, with my left hand. Whether it is passing, finishing, driving left, making decisions while going left. I think there are a lot of things if look into my stats of how played last year. I think there are a lot of different ways of how I can improve, and those are some.
Q: When you hear criticism, what do you take from that and what do you think of those?
Lin: I know what I need to get better at as a player and I spend a lot of time breaking down film from last year. They are right, I haven’t done this for a long time, I still have a lot to prove, I still have a lot to do to become establish and I’ll be the first to admit it. In times of criticism, I try to focused on what I feel I need to get better at and what my coaches want me to get better at.
Q: Daryl, was the inexperience less than a factor here since you already knew what he could do?
Morey: The big thing for us is that he had proven at the college level that he was a high potential prospect and we obviously tracked him pretty closely. What he showed in New York is what he can do. I think it is unreasonable to expect a player to play at that level of what ever that player’s name is. We consider him a very high quality guard to our team, because of what you just heard today we think he will continue to improve because he knows where he needs to improve and he is going to work hard at it. His work ethic was a big part of why we were very excited to have Jeremy. Plus, he has already showed a level of where very few players have attained in the past.
Q: If Jeremy had done that in college, at an elite program, would that of changed your whole perspective on perhaps drafted him?
Morey: I think what it does, when a player plays at an elite program is that it lowers your risk of when you look at a player. Every player that comes from college or overseas into the NBA, there is a translation risk of how they handle length, athleticism and speed. Obviously the NBA in general, including ourselves, didn’t anticipate how well he would make that transition. He showed last year that he could. He played at as an elite level as any player in college while he was in college. The only question was how would it translate and when he showed last year how well he can play at that h level. We felt like he is a fantastic person to add to our team. Even though people have pointed out that it hasn’t been for much. We feel confident that his work ethic, intelligence, character and under rated athleticism will carry him forward for our team.
Q: Daryl, How concerned are the Rockets with that season ending knee injury that Jeremy had going forward?
Morey: Obviously, we did our diligence. We went with multiple doctors we consider the best in the world. They are comfortable that his health is something very good going forward.”