Brooklyn Nets: Nothin’ But Nets Teammate of the Year: Jeremy Lin

Mar 28, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin (7) handles the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers during second half at Barclays Center. The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Brooklyn Nets 106-101.Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 28, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin (7) handles the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers during second half at Barclays Center. The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Brooklyn Nets 106-101.Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports /

Jeremy Lin spent a majority of the 2016-17 season on the Brooklyn Nets‘ bench, but his leadership was visible on and off the court. His excellence as a teammate earned him the Nothin’ But Nets Teammate of the Year award.

When one thinks of an ideal teammate, their mind might shift to a player that’s humble and an excellent sportsman and leader. Jeremy Lin exudes all of those qualities.

MUST READ: 3 salary dump trades the Nets should consider

The 2016-17 season was largely a disappointment for the Brooklyn Nets. They finished last place in the NBA with just 20 wins. However, new faces on the team — from players to coaching — helped establish a fresh, positive culture in Brooklyn. Lin became one of the most recognizable presences on the rebuilding Nets and played a huge role in building the Nets’ newfound culture.

In Nothin’ But Nets voting for Teammate of the Year, Lin had the slight edge over starting center Brook Lopez with one more first place vote.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Image and video hosting by TinyPic /

Lopez and Lin are commendable teammates for different reasons. However, they have both solidified their statuses as the stars of the franchise — hence, “Brook-Lin.”

They also possess qualities as high character players. Lopez is often lauded for his commitment to the Nets for nine seasons despite the team constantly placing him in the trade market, as well as the team’s lack of success. For Lin, there’s of course his role as the leading floor general, but he also continuously tries to help his team and teammates improve.

MUST READ: NBN Roundtable, Reflections on 2016-17 season

Even before the season began, Lin was praised by his teammates, his former coaches and Nets Head Coach Kenny Atkinson.

"“Being able to have a guy like that with the teams he’s been with before and all the knowledge that he knows now and being able to text him every day and get some type of advice or pick his brain a little bit,” Nets shooting guard Sean Kilpatrick said about Lin to the Nets website."

Mike D’Antoni, who coached Lin during his time with the New York Knicks, was pleased Atkinson and Lin found a new home in Brooklyn together. Atkinson served as an assistant under D’Antoni with the Knicks from 2008 to 2012.

Kevin McHale, who coached Lin during his stint with the Houston Rockets, saluted Lin for his “high effort” and aggressiveness.

MUST READ: When the Nets will make it back to the playoffs

Lin was quick to make a good impression on his new squad, and Atkinson specifically stated that he expected more “leadership” from Lin. The point guard provided just that.

The Harvard alum took rookie Isaiah Whitehead under his wing, giving the Brooklyn native “tips and pointers.” He complimented the former Seton Hall Pirate’s talent and athleticism, but spoke about how he wanted to help Whitehead determine how to change speed, make the right reads defensively and “the little things here and there.” Whitehead went on to replace Lin in the starting lineup earlier than most would have expected, after Lin suffered his first hamstring injury five games into the season.

More from Nothin' But Nets

Lin missed a total of 46 games in the season, but he did not become just an observer on the Nets’ bench. During those games, he was often seen taking notes on a clipboard — what Atkinson dubbed “Linology.” According to the New York TimesLin would “chart a self-styled version of offensive-efficiency statistics” on the clipboard.

When Lin was on the floor though, he made an even greater impact. The Nets went 13-23 with Lin on the court, which isn’t great… but keep in mind, they only won 20 games. Plus, as Bryan Fonseca of NetsDaily points out, Lin was especially good at helping the Nets close out tight matches. Fonseca cites late season games against the Grizzlies and Knicks as examples.

And when things got difficult (a 20-win season can do that to a team and its players), Lin kept his teammates in mind to power through the season.

"“I think for me it was, ‘how do you serve people, how do you love your teammates through this losing,’” Lin told NetsDaily."

MUST READ: Harry Giles could be steal of 2017 NBA Draft

Artwork in the HSS Training Center shows this love between Nets players — with Lin as the centerpiece:

Nets fans must constantly wonder how much better the Nets could have been if Lin was healthy for a full season. But, if it’s one thing they can be sure of, it’s his value to the team as a personable leader and teammate.

Lin has already been serving as a leading voice to attract free agents to Brooklyn. Recently, he claimed in an interview with a Chinese website,, five of his former teammates approached him about joining the Nets last season.

Next: NBN's Defensive Player of the Year

That says a lot about how positive the culture is in Brooklyn, considering how the 2016-17 season ended up faring for the Nets. Here’s to better days in Brooklyn, with Lin leading the pack.