HOUSTON – It’s one thing for fans to get caught up in the fever or for the media to fan the flames.
But you know that “Linsanity” is for real when Jeremy Lin is getting noticed in the other locker rooms around the NBA and the buzz is filling the pre-game talk.
“I think everybody is keeping one eye on him,” the Thunder’s Kevin Durant said with a grin on Tuesday night. “I mean, I don’t know that guy from a can of paint, but I’m happy for him. I’m rooting for him.
“Guys this locker room are not fans in terms of being in awe of other guys. But we see the good plays. We respect the good players. We respect the good teams. You have to respect what the guy is doing.
“It’s a little different than it was for me, because I was the No. 2 pick and I was supposed to do that. For him, people didn’t think he’d even come close to that. So that’s the unique thing about it. I’m so happy for him that he’s out there proving people wrong. He’s gotten his chance and he’s taking full advantage of it.”
Lin was in the Rockets’ training camp and was cut to make room on the roster when the team signed Samuel Dalembert before the season opener.
“In the time that he was here I got to know him a little bit,” said Courtney Lee. “He’s a good dude. He always put God first and never had one negative thing come out of his mouth. When stuff like that happens it shows you that good things do happen for good people.
“Everybody on our team is amazed at what he’s doing. We check after every game. Like (Monday) night, we got on the bus and we were all mad because we lost (at Memphis). But then somebody said Jeremy hit a 3-pointer to win the game, scores 27 with 11 assists. Everybody was trying to look up the video. It’s unbelievable.
“It kind of does remind you of (Tim) Tebow with the Broncos. Tebow wasn’t playing, then he came in and was starting and the question was would he be able to lead this team. Then he got them to the playoffs. With Jeremy, no one knew who he was, then he got his opportunity and he’s making the most of it. I wish him nothing but the best going forward.”
Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks says he’s already tired of the opinion that Lin has simply made the most of his opportunity.
“People are saying it’s the system and it’s the opportunity,” Brooks said. “No. He’s a player. The system has nothing to do with that kid playing as well as he’s playing. Opportunity has nothing to do with it. You can give players opportunities every day of the week to play and they are not going to do as well as that guy.
“It’s never been done before. Words can’t describe it. I played at a very low level in this league. But what he’s doing, nobody would have ever guessed it. He’s doing it … and they’re winning, which is the No. 1 thing you’re playing the game for.
“The 3-point shot to win the game (at Toronto), that’s not the system. It’s squaring your man, telling him I don’t need a pick-and-roll, backing him up and shooting the 3 in his face. And making it. That doesn’t happen because of the system. That kid is good.”