HOUSTON (CBS Houston) General Manager Daryl Morey was pleased with Jeremy Lin and his first season with the Rockets, he told SportsRadio 610’s morning show “In the Loop” on Wednesday.
Lin was sidelined for most of the playoffs with a chest contusion suffered in Game 2. The Rockets’ only two wins against the Thunder came in Games 4 and 5, when Lin was out and rookies Patrick Beverley and Francisco Garcia stepped up. When Lin did return in Game 6, he came off the bench and had a disappointing performance (3 points in just 18 minutes played), leaving many wondering if the Rockets would have been better off without Lin at all.
“I think people are focusing a little too much about the injury issue late and how that affected his playoff series. He’s the fifth-best pick and roll player in the league and 9th pick and roll in the game. Overall, really helped our offense, set up his teammates very well,” Morey said, defending Lin. “On average, Jeremy had a very good defensive year,” Morey said, “(He’s) very good at distributing the ball, and one of the top players in blocked shots and steals. Overall, he had an extremely good year and we’re no where near the playoffs without Jeremy Lin.”
Lin was 10th overall in the league in steals (134), and seventh among point guards in the NBA. He was 8th among point guards for block shots (29). One statistic Morey may not want to think about was Lin’s number of turnovers this season. With 236 turnovers, Lin was seventh among point guards in turnovers, averaging 2.9 per game.
Morey was more concerned with the power forward position and how the Rockets would fill it this offseason.
“The forward spot is one of our weakest spots this year. That’s one big reason you saw us play small court a bit and that was effective for us. That said, we really had Terrence Jones coming on late in the year. We’re going to have an offseason where Thomas Robinson is going to get a chance to really integrate with us. Donatas (Montiejunas), when he was out there and played with our starters, played really well. (He) ended up losing his confidence a bit and fading. Either through a free agent acquisition or I would say more likely one of those young bigs stepping up, we’re going to get better play at the four-spot next year and that’s going to be a big positive.”
Despite losing to the first-seed Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of playoffs last week, Morey had set five goals for the season and said the Rockets organization accomplished them all. Morey’s goals for 2012-2013 were:
- “Make the playoffs which I thought was going to be difficult. We did.
- We wanted to shore up our defense. We were able to do that in the half-court. Our transition (defense) still needs some work.
- We wanted to get our offense better. We ended up sixth in the league and ended up being the best transition team in the league.
- We wanted to develop some young players. We did that with Beverley, Greg Smith, Terrence Jones, probably the three that stood out the most.
- Finally, we had to get an all-star…we got James Harden.
Morey has big goals for the future and hopes to make the Rockets, who have the youngest roster in the NBA, a title contender in the near future. “We were pleased overall with what we accomplished. That said we are not where we want to be yet.”