About a week ago, the NBA news cycle was inundated with fans and writers feeling sorry for Jeremy Lin. Lin felt cast out by the NBA, but should the Boston Celtics consider casting him back into the league?
The Boston Celtics made full-scale changes at the point guard position this past offseason. No other position was overhauled as much as the lead guard spot in the rotation.
Kemba Walker becoming the team’s starter and franchise face in place of Kyrie Irving was the team’s biggest upgrade. Behind Walker, second round pick Carsen Edwards figures to be one of the primary backups for the Boston Celtics second unit after a breakout summer league performance earned the Purdue product a multi-year deal.
There is still a bit of uncertainty beyond those two, however. Brad Wanamaker played a bit role in the rotation last year and Tremont Waters figures to see more minutes with the Maine Red Claws of the G-League than with Boston. Even Edwards is a bit of a question mark against the NBA’s elite backups.
Perhaps the Boston Celtics should consider continuing to sign high-character point guards. Enter Jeremy Lin.
While Lin is no longer the star he was during his initial “Linsanity” run, Lin has had a few productive years since. Most notably, one of his most productive seasons came alongside Walker in Charlotte with the Hornets.
As the sixth man in Charlotte, Lin drew attention away from Walker with his relentless attacks on the rim. The Charlotte Hornets made the playoffs that season, which was just the second time Walker ever reached the postseason. He hasn’t made it back since.
That figures to change with the Boston Celtics. For the first time in his career, Walker is going to be a part of a contender. Of course, if Lin returned alongside Walker he wouldn’t have the same sixth man role for Boston.
At best, Lin would have a timeshare at the backup point guard spot with Edwards. His presence would be to ease Edwards into the role by being a professional and logging productive minutes for the Celtics bench.
A quick scan of the Boston Celtics bench will make you realize that Lin, at 30, would be one of the old heads. Rookies Grant Williams, Romeo Langford and (hopefully) Tacko Fall could use a veteran to bring the second string together. Then again they could probably use minutes alongside a foundational piece on the same timeline in Edwards.
If the play is to keep Lin around for locker-room purposes, then you cannot go wrong. While Wanamaker is well-traveled in his career, he simply doesn’t have the wealth of NBA experiences that Lin has had. Few players ever reached the top of the basketball world like Lin did, even if it was temporary.
Lin proved his value in that role last season with the Toronto Raptors. Beyond his 27 playoff minutes where he shot just 2-9, Lin’s presence brought the best out of Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet. If he could bring out the same production in Walker and Edwards, his signing will have been justified.
If Danny Ainge wants to bring the Harvard product back to his adopted college home, the Boston Celtics could do far worse than bringing Lin aboard. If it took ditching the one year minimum deal of Wanamaker, so be it. Lin could be worth the minimal risk and money it would take.