HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – Stop the Lin-sanity. Here’s why: Daryl Morey was right. We — including all the mass of fans and media that questioned why the Rockets released Jeremy Lin in favor of keeping point guard Goran Dragic.
The fact is, Lin was a flash-in-the-pan phenomenon. He captured the nation’s attention by scoring some points and making some shots in a huge market, with the help of a legitimate big man in Amare Stoudemire and no one else willing to help with the scoring load. It didn’t hurt that being of Asian descent, his Q-rating and crossover popularity skyrocketed.
But guess what? In terms of production, efficiency and likelihood of being the proverbial “asset” that can help a team become a longterm conference contender, it is clear now that Morey made the right choice.
The numbers say as much. Salary cap issues say otherwise — as does the fact that both players want to be starters — but it stands to reason that Dragic should be the player around which the Rockets move forward.
Jeremy Lin started 17-games before going down with an injury. In those 17-games, he averaged 20.4-points and 8.6-assists, while turning over the ball a whopping 5.2-times. The Knicks won nine of those 17-games.
In his first 17-starts, Dragic averaged 15.3-points, 8.8-assists and just three turnovers per-game. The Rockets also won nine games.
And over their respective last 10 games, when scouting reports were much more refined, Dragic has proved to be much better, averaging 20.3-points and 7.9-assists, with his turnovers down to just 2.5. Lin’s production dropped considerably, averaging just 14.2 points, 6.5 asssits and four turnovers.
The problem is, it’s highly unlikely the Rockets would be able to keep both players, seeing how they’re both starting point guards and the salary hit would be too much to justify keeping them both.
So … who to trade? It’s conceivable Dragic could go in a sign-and-trade, but the cost of that contract would be more, perhaps much more, than Lowery’s $5 million-plus per-year contract for the next two years. In other words, the number of teams with whom the Rockets could deal are much more limited with Dragic’s contract, which may push $8-$10 million.
There’s also the factor of, now that Morey clearly made the right call keeping Dragic over Lin, does he want to be remembered for losing both of them?
Carli Joe Goodrich contributed to this post.