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It’s no secret that Jeremy Lin has struggled throughout the season while James Harden has played the best basketball of his career. It’s also no secret that both players are more comfortable with the ball in their hands. But can they co-exist?
Jeremy Lin showed Monday night against the San Antonio Spurs that Linsanity isn’t over it’s just been hidden since the arrival of Harden. While Harden was out due to an ankle injury, Lin took over the team and became the playmaker. It brought back memories of his days with the New York Knicks just a year ago. He was cutting to the basket, finishing at the rim, finding his teammates, taking pull-up jumpers and most importantly knocking down shots.
Lin was brought here to be the face of the franchise. He was supposed to be the playmaker, the guy that always had the ball in his hands and the guy who made the big bucks. That was all handed over to Harden just days before the regular season. Now James is the guy with the even bigger pay day. He’s now the main focus and the ball goes to him when the Rockets need a basket. Basically Lin got pushed to the side and all his duties were given to Harden.
When you think about it, that would be hard for anyone to adjust to. Lin has never been the guy to the side. When he had that amazing run in New York Carmelo Anthony was hurt and so was Amare Stoudemire for a part of it. Harden has had moments being the man in Oklahoma City because he came off the bench and was left in when Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook needed a break.
Neither one of these guys have been in this position before. They’re not playing well together. In fact, they both have better numbers when the other is on the bench. This worries many fans but it shouldn’t. These guys have the ability to co-exist, they just need time to figure it out. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade took a season to make it work, but guess what? They’re NBA Champions. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook both command the ball and they both play well together. It’s all about taking turns. It really is that simple.
When you have two dynamic playmakers you have to give both of them their opportunities. And when one is on and the other is struggling you go to the guy who is in a groove. It’s not hard to figure out that Harden will get more than half of the playmaking duties in the Rockets lineup, but if the Houston Rockets want Lin to contribute and if they want to make it to the playoffs they need to come up with the simple plan of taking turns.
Lin’s playmaking abilities and consistency along with a post up game are the keys to a playoff run.