Jeremy Lin didn’t give the Toronto Raptors much, but he gave them enough

Toronto Raptors - Jeremy Lin (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Jeremy Lin (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Jeremy Lin came to the Toronto Raptors as a potential difference-maker for the playoffs. He didn’t live up to those expectations, but his addition was still a success.

Jeremy Lin was one of the most sought after players on the buyout market last season. After a successful first half of the season with the Atlanta Hawks, Lin essentially had his pick of potential teams. When he chose the Toronto Raptors, expectations were high. 

Just days prior, the Raptors sent out backup point/shooting guard Delon Wright, as part of a package to acquire Marc Gasol. A fellow combo guard with the ability to penetrate the defense and get to the rim, Lin served as a natural replacement.

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Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to plan. Jeremy Lin was completely ineffective for the Raptors, turning the ball over too much, clogging the offense up by overdribbling, and most importantly, going through a horrendous shooting slump. Lin shot just 20-percent from three during his time with the Raptors, the lowest percentage on the entire team (not counting Greg Monroe‘s 0-4 blip).

By the postseason, Jeremy Lin had found himself out of the rotation completely. He played just 27 total minutes during the playoffs, less than Eric Moreland and Malcolm Miller.

On the basketball court, Jeremy Lin and the Toronto Raptors didn’t work out. He was expected to be a key contributor of a playoff team. Instead, he barely played. Despite all of that, you can’t call the addition a failure.

How many players have we seen upset with their role in the past? An upcoming free-agent, who undoubtedly expected to be a part of the Raptors rotation when he signed, it would have been easy for Lin to be frustrated over a lack of minutes.

However, Lin knew his frustrations wouldn’t help the Raptors. So whether he was upset or not, he did the right thing. He continued to play his role and continued to be a good teammate. He helped the Raptors in the only way he could at that time.

The Raptors needed every possible advantage this postseason. They needed an insane bounce to win Game 7 against the Philadelphia 76ers and were down 0-2 to the Bucks. If there is discontent or a distraction in the locker room, it’s entirely possible one of those make-or-break moments breaks the other way. If Lin is openly complaining about his role, we can’t be assured everything works out for the Raptors.

Lin was never a distraction. Now, he’s an NBA Champion. Is the latter a result of the former? I’m not ready to say yes. But I’m not ready to say no either.

It’s recently been reported that Jeremy Lin will play for the Beijing Ducks next season. The NBA market had clearly dried up, and while Lin has been open about his desire to play in the most talented league in the world, he is expected to make approximately $3 million next season in a relatively competitive league.

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Hopefully, Jeremy Lin receives another chance in the NBA. He was a productive player less than a season ago and is only 31-years-old. If not, he’ll always be an NBA Champion. An accomplishment he helped achieve, even if it wasn’t on the court.