The Charlotte Hornets are the breakout stars this season. With a disappointingly slow start, the Kemba Walker squad managed to pick themselves up from the gutter and climb the Eastern Conference. At the moment, the Hornets find themselves tied with Dwyane Wade's Miami Heat in fourth place with only a game away from the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks. With a few more games going their way this NBA season, there could be hope for the Charlotte Hornets to actually reach the Cleveland Cavaliers and face off against LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
As mentioned in a previous Gospel Herald report, the Charlotte Hornets owe their recent resurgence to Jeremy Lin. The former New York Knicks star, who has been stuck at the backup role since the NBA season started, came in with guns blazing in the game against the San Antonio Spurs. Amid the flurry of intense gameplay from Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and their crew, not one member of the Tim Duncan squad managed to stop the Linsanity. However, it looks like the Charlotte Hornets are not impressed by Lin's recent display of talent.
Rumors are surfacing that Steve Clifford refuses to place Lin in the starting lineup. It is widely known that the minutes alloted to the former Los Angeles Lakers star were further diminished with the entry of Courtney Lee. With Kemba Walker back in action, Lin has been shoved to bench and only occassionally used if either Lee or Walker is indisposed. Clifford, despite seeing the Linsanity staging a comeback, chooses to stick to the current starters.
This move to keep Lin from the starting lineup has been widely criticized across the NBA. However, it looks like Clifford is not the only one failing to recognize the Linsanity. On a lighter note, Lin shared how the guards of the NBA facilities still fail to recognize him. According to the Charlotte Hornets star, his ID remains a requirement when he attempts to enter arenas.
"It's one of those things where it literally happens everywhere," shared Lin of his virtual anonynimity among the NBA staff. He added, "At opposing arenas, it happens all the time. Just the other night in Brooklyn, I was trying to leave [Barclays Center] and one of the ladies was like, 'Hey, I need your credentials for you to pass.' And then someone else was like, 'Oh, he's a player. He's good.' I'm used to it by now. It's just part of being Asian in the NBA."
Despite the NBA rumors surrounding his future with the Charlotte Hornets, Lin remains focused on the goal. The Linsanity aims to take his team to the playoffs and hopefully, to the NBA Finals.
"At times, it looked bleak and we were struggling," shared Lin of the team's issues. He added, "But we always felt, on paper, if we do this right, if we buy in, if guys get healthy and stay healthy, we have a chance ... that we belong in the top tier of the East. From the outside ... no one thought we were going to be any good. Whether we're changing that opinion or not, I don't know. But on the inside, we always felt we could make noise."
As for Walker, the Charlotte Hornets star admits that the entry of Lin in the NBA team helped him tremendously. He shared that the Linsanity is one of those who assisted him with the burden of carrying the basketball team to greatness. Walker shared, "It feels good, man. We've worked our way all the way back to get to this point. It's been a long road. Guys were unhealthy and it was just a really bad losing streak earlier in the season."
He added, "For us to be back, it's pretty impressive. Bringing in Nic (Batum), Jeremy Lamb, Jeremy Lin, just guys who can make plays, it's really important we have guys like that. It just takes so much pressure off myself."