Los Angeles Lakers, 2014-15
Role: On-and-Off Starting Point Guard
During the 2014 offseason, the Rockets traded Lin to the Los Angeles Lakers to clear cap space in an attempt to sign free agent Chris Bosh.
When thinking about Lin’s season with the Lakers, one might only recall that he lost his starting role. Little known is how much of an impact he had on the team at the start of the season, perhaps even surpassing Kobe Bryant‘s contributions.
Lin started at point guard for the Lakers’ first 20 games, averaging 11.9 points, 4.9 assists, and one steal per game. Despite unimpressive numbers, he was shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from three-point land. With the Lakers’ poor 5-15 start to the season, Lin ended up losing the starting role to Ronnie Price. He later served as an even further backup when Jordan Clarkson became the starting point guard.
One can argue that Lin was unable to thrive in Los Angeles because of Bryant primarily handling the ball. Through the first 20 games, Bryant posted 25.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game, but he was shooting extremely poorly. Bryant took an average of 22.4 shots per game over the first 20 games, 5.3 of them being three-point attempts. He was only shooting at 28.6 percent from long distance.
Over the rest of the season, Lin would only start in 10 more games, and did not play in eight games. One of these games included when he was actually healthy, but head coach Byron Scott chose to use Price and Clarkson over Lin. Lin returned to the starting lineup after a 29-point performance on March 22 against Philadelphia. He missed the last five games of the season with an upper respiratory infection.
In 74 games with the Lakers, Lin averaged 11.2 points, 4.6 assists, and 1.1 steals. These numbers are quite similar to the ones of his last season in Houston. Despite this, Lin received negative attention due to his big contract and the Lakers’ underwhelming performance as a team.