Jeremy Lin is having a hard time finding a team. It’s surprising that a player with so much experience at a position that requires experience can’t find a roster spot. Are there so many better bench players at the guard position than him?
He may have lost his first step, but his game was based on more than athleticism. It seems one of his biggest barriers to success was his race. We learned about that from Daryl Morey who had Lin very high on his draft board but didn’t select him because he was Asian (from Michael Lewis’ The Undoing Project) :
“He lit up our model,” said Morey. “Our model said take him with, like, the 15th pick in the draft.” The objective measurement of Jeremy Lin didn’t square with what the experts saw when they watched him play: a not terribly athletic Asian kid. Morey hadn’t completely trusted his model—and so had chickened out and not drafted Lin. A year after the Houston Rockets failed to draft Jeremy Lin, they began to measure the speed of a player’s first two steps: Jeremy Lin had the quickest first move of any player measured. He was explosive and was able to change direction far more quickly than most NBA players. “He’s incredibly athletic,” said Morey. “ “But the reality is that every fucking person, including me, thought he was unathletic. And I can’t think of any reason for it other than he was Asian.”
It’s rare to hear an active NBA executive, let alone GM, talks about his mistakes so honestly. It also says a lot about what Lin had to fight through by being different. Even when his measurables said he was an NBA player, he just didn’t fit the standard vision of what an NBA player is – what an NBA player looks like.
I hope he’s not suffering from the same bias again.