After a bitter offseason in the free-agent market despite winning an NBA championship, former NBA champion Jeremy Lin started a new chapter of his professional basketball career in China earlier last Sunday. Representing the Beijing Ducks in the Chinese Basketball Association, Lin dropped 25 points and helped his team win the first game of the season by a score of 103-81.
Lin produced some extraordinary performances during the Beijing Ducks’ pre-season warmup games, including one 40 point performance. CBS Sports commented that Lin has demonstrated that he is still a top-caliber athlete ready for the challenges in the top American basketball league.
NetEase Sports reported that fans from Tianjin cheered for Lin as he appeared on the court. Jeremy Lin is believed to be one of the most popular players in the Chinese Basketball League. Lin is often regarded as the best active Asian basketball player, as the former Chinese national team captain, NBA Hall of Famer Yao Ming retired earlier in 2011.
Lin scored 14 of his 25 points in the third quarter, making his performance the key factor that contributed to Beijing’s victory. Lin maintained his signature styles, scoring most of his points through layups and mid-range jumpers. While heavily guarded by his opponents, Lin demonstrated great court vision and contributed 9 assists to the team.
In addition to his performance on the court, Lin also impressed his Chinese fans with a new charity initiative he announced on his Chinese social media Weibo. For the upcoming season, Lin committed to donating 3,000 yuan for every three-pointer he made representing the Beijing Ducks. Lin will also donate his basketball shoes to fans coming out for the game, regardless of whether the game is home or away.
After the game against Tianjin, a local fan from Tianjin received a pair of basketball shoes from Lin. Despite scoring 25 points in the season opener, Lin was 0 for 5 from three-point range. Long-range shooting was one of the areas in which Lin has struggled throughout his career. Back in his days playing for the Toronto Raptors, Lin was endured a spell where he converted just 1 of 17 three-pointers in the regular season.
The lack of three-point shooting skills and high risk of injury are the major factors that led to Lin’s disappointment in the NBA free-agent market in the past season. After the game against Tianjin on Sunday, Lin was seen bleeding in the locker room from his left knee. Jeremy Lin suffered from knee issues late in his NBA career, including a season-ending knee injury while playing for the Brooklyn Nets in 2017.
While dropping 25 points might impress Lin’s fans, the 25 points scoring performance is far from being amongst the top scorers in the league. Compared to NBA player J.R. Smith, who spent a season with the CBA team Zhejiang Golden Bulls during the 2011-2012 season, Lin’s point total from the season opener was 10 points short of Smith’s average. Smith was the leading scorer in the CBA in that season, averaging 34.4 points per game.
As a 31-year-old veteran, Jeremy Lin would definitely have a greater goals beyond settling for a starting point guard position in the CBA. The former NBA champion will need to remain ambitious to keep up his skills and eventually attempt to complete his eventual return to the NBA.
For the former NBA veteran Jeremy Lin, a 25-point game is a good start in developing his dominance in the increasingly competitive Chinese basketball league. However, Lin needs to work on several of the areas he struggled with previously to show significant improvement and impress the scouts and front offices from the United States. As a former NBA-level starting point guard, Lin demonstrated his great court vision and played a critical role on both ends of the floor. However, we have yet to see Lin step up his game in terms of long-range shooting, which is becoming more and more critical in the modern-day NBA.