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Los Angeles Lakers Places Jeremy Lin on Bench, Significantly Affecting His Playing Time

( [email protected] ) Jan 26, 2015 02:02 PM EST
Despite the fact NBA veteran Kobe Bryant is out due to an injury, point guard Jeremy Lin can’t seem to catch a break or collect minutes while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Jeremy Lin. Photo: USA Today-Sports

Despite the fact NBA veteran Kobe Bryant is out due to an injury, point guard Jeremy Lin can't seem to catch a break or collect minutes while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Flying in the face of conventional wisdom that most fans and sports experts would have, the Lakers have decided to place Lin on the bench as part of their game strategy on the court against the San Antonio Spurs Friday, which the team lost 99-85. According to Greg Beachamap of the Associated Press, Lakers coach Byron Scott did let him play as a reserve in the first quarter in Sunday's game against the Houston Rockets, which the Lakers also lost 99-87.

"I'm going to show up and do my best to play and work hard and stuff, but it definitely hurts," Lin said before Sunday's game in his first public comments since the benching.

The decision by Scott has deprived the point guard of the opportunity to build up his playing time and shooting opportunities. He reacted to the decision with some emotions running.

"I'm human. I've got emotions, too," Lin said. "It's discouraging sometimes. It's disappointing sometimes. All of those emotions, of course."

Lin added that no one likes to be considered "Did Not Play" or DNP, the term the NBA uses when a player is benched.

"I don't think anybody would feel great after a DNP, anybody," Lin said. "It doesn't matter who you are."

According to the Associated Press, Lin started 23 of the first 43 games for the Lakers. However, he lost his starting spot to journeyman veteran Ronnie Price and now to rookie Jordan Clarkson.

Despite the fact Lin has averaged 10.5 points a night until Friday's game against the Spurs, Scott Polacek of Bleacher Report thought that the reason behind Scott's decision to bench him was somewhat based on the lackluster 12-33 record this season by the Lakers.

"Therein lies the issue for Lin," Polacek wrote. "The Lakers are not going to make the playoffs this season-a fact that was only made even clearer when Bryant went down with injury-which means there is very little motivation to actually put Lin on the court from an organizational perspective."

Polacek contended that since the Lakers don't have a chance of making the playoffs this season, it made sense for the team to give minutes to younger players as part of efforts to rebuild the franchise.

According to the Associated Press, the last time the Harvard-educated player was stuck on the bench was during his time at the New York Knicks on Feb. 2, 2012. That was also the time when he mightily performed during a phenomenon termed as "Linsanity."

Lin commented on the consistency, or lack thereof, he's experienced throughout his NBA career to the Associated Press.

"In terms of my career, the only thing that's really been consistent is the amount of inconsistency that I've had in my life," Lin said. "I've gone from being cut to D-League to starting to playing heavy minutes to ... a different role every week."

Scott had no regrets making the decision to bench Lin in recent games. However, the Associated Press noted that Lin hasn't been written off entirely by the Lakers coach.

"'The only thing that's for sure on our team is that the starting five is going to start," Scott said when asked if Lin would still play a role for the Lakers. "I've got to just watch and see how the game is. I've got an idea of what I'm going to do, but I've also got to let the game kind of dictate that."

If Scott does give him a chance to add minutes, Lin has a strategy ready for contributing to the Lakers.

"I've got to just keep trying to stay aggressive when I get out there," Lin said. "If I get out there."

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