On opening night back in October, Jeremy Lin ruptured his right patella tendon, ending his season before it even started. While the injury knocked out Lin, it has opened the door for young players like Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert to get minutes and prove their worth to both the organization and the rest of the League. Lin has stayed around the team, often seen on the bench at games giving guys like Dinwiddie, LeVert and D’Angelo Russell—along with rooks like big man Jarrett Allen—pointers during the long season.
Despite the devastating injury that will sideline him until next season, he’s staying busy this year, most recently at the National Basketball Players Association HQ. Lin was there to host a one-day, all-inclusive camp alongside PGC Basketball. When he finished working with dozens of high school kids, he sat down with SLAM to talk about the camp, his own foundation, and what’s to come in Brooklyn.
SLAM: How’s your rehab coming along? I don’t see a knee brace there.
Jeremy Lin: No knee brace, no issues. I’m moving really well, so everything’s going according to plan. I’ve been completely mobile for months now.
SLAM: The Nets have been entertaining and competitive this season. A lot of young talent has shined through. For those who don’t know about Brooklyn, I want scouting reports on some of your young teammates. Let’s start with Caris LeVert.
JL: Caris is definitely a playmaker. He can affect the game in a variety of ways. He’s an extremely mobile and disruptive defender, gets in a lot of passing lanes. He was probably our best player during the summer in pickup, and he’s going to be really good—he’s going to grow and he’s super hungry. I think he can play pick and roll, off the ball, he can really do a lot. That’s my guy. I think he’s going to be big time for the franchise.
SLAM: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
JL: He’s unorthodox, but he’s worked really hard at his game, spent a lot of time shooting, and he just, to me, finds a way. He just finds a way to put the ball in the hoop. It can be weird scoop shots or one-legged fades, but he has a great understanding of his game and I think he’s really good at just breaking down the defense. A lot of one-on-one coverages are mismatches for him.
SLAM: D’Angelo Russell.
JL: He’s so good, so skilled and talented. I think it’s been difficult with the [knee] injury, coming back, minutes restrictions. But spending training camp with him, he can really do it all. He’s just a tremendous point guard. Passing, shooting, breaking down a defense, reading a situation—he’s really good. He’ll be huge for us.
SLAM: Jarrett Allen.
JL: I’m so excited about him, man. He’s grown a lot and has great footwork, great touch, lefty, righty, can shoot the free throw. He’s just really scratching the surface, so young and raw, but you see glimpses where you’re like, Man, who knows.
SLAM: Spencer Dinwiddie.
JL: Just huge steps from him going forward. Just playing much more confident and I’m super proud of him because he’s such a good guy. I think he’s just been like a glue guy, but he’s also more than that. He’s been our primary playmaker. He’s just figuring out what he can do and getting more and more confident.
SLAM: What about yourself? Are you happy with how things have gone in Brooklyn?
JL: Definitely. I just need to get healthy. Everything else looks great on paper.
SLAM: How did your foundation partner up with PGC? What’s the focus of today’s camp?
JL: We like to find organizations that do really good work and support them. The thing I love about PGC is they teach kids to think the game. It’s not all skills-oriented. They spent first hour-and-a-half in the classroom learning about leadership, how to communicate, how to stretch yourself, take on risk—just life lessons. It’s a different level of understanding of the game, and then they took that into a session on the court, they do film, and things like that.
SLAM: What’s the Jeremy Lin Foundation all about?
JL: We work with underprivileged children in a lot of different areas, and we try to find issues that are swept under the rug, and organizations that are “underdogs.” When I was in Houston, we worked with PAIR, which was about immigrant and refugees, which isn’t really talked about as much in Houston. In California, East Palo Alto (where Lin is from), it’s right next to Palo Alto, which is known to be a tech capital and the headquarters of Google and Facebook and so on, but across the highway is a rough area—so spending a lot of time trying to invest in that community. When we go to Taiwan, we work with native Taiwanese people—the equivalent of Native Americans in the United States—and in China we worked with migrant children. So it’s issues that aren’t talked about as much as we wish they were, and organizations that are doing a great job and maybe need a push of exposure or resources and that’s where we try to fill the void.
Leo Sepkowitz is a Senior Writer at SLAM. Follow him on Twitter @LeoSepkowitz.
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