Charlotte Hornets, 2015-16
Role: Sixth Man
As a free agent during the 2015 offseason, Lin was open to returning to New York. However, the Knicks were not interested, as they already had two point guards in rookie Jerian Grant and Jose Calderon. Lin drew the attention of multiple teams including the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers. He ended up signing a two-year, $4.3 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets. This contract was evidently less hefty compared to the “poison-pill” contract he signed three years prior with the Rockets.
Lin was projected to serve as a backup to Kemba Walker, though head coach Steve Clifford pictured the two playing together as well. The tandem of Lin and Walker occasionally played together, and were effective playing with or without each other on the court. When both players were on the floor, Lin shot at a remarkable 40.6 percent from the field.
With Walker leading the first unit and Lin leading the depth, the Hornets were able to propel into the playoffs. With a record of 48-34, the Hornets landed the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. Despite only being the sixth seed, they almost ousted the third-seeded Miami Heat in the first round. Unfortunately, the Hornets were unable to advance from their 3-2 series lead, and fell to the Heat in seven games.
In his first and only season in Charlotte, Lin averaged 11.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, and three assists per game. During the playoffs, he tallied 12.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game.
Evidently, Lin’s season with Charlotte can be deemed as a successful comeback. Despite this, spectators fail to view Lin’s previous three seasons properly. Of course, a $4.3 million contract was a steal for the Hornets, especially with Lin’s contributions as a sixth man. However, Lin had no control over his situations in Houston and Los Angeles, and that is where the misunderstanding occurs.
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