Rising Star by James Buckley Jr

Rising Star by James Buckley Jr

Author:James Buckley, Jr.
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Published: 2012-07-11T16:00:00+00:00

Jeremy didn’t have to wait long to pack his sneakers and get back onto an NBA team. Just two days after Christmas, the New York Knicks signed him to a contract.

Heading into the new 2011–12 NBA season, the Knicks needed some help. Their main starting point guards were an inexperienced Toney Douglas and an older Mike Bibby. Behind them, veteran Baron Davis was hurt. And rookie Iman Shumpert was injured, too. Jeremy provided insurance for the position.

“I’m just going to play basketball,” Lin said Wednesday before his first Knicks shoot-around. “I’m not going to overthink anything. I’m just going to go out there, have some fun, and play. I’m thankful that people want me. I understand my position: I’m competing for a backup spot, and people see me as the twelfth guy on the roster. It’s a numbers game.”

As for the Knicks, they thought they might be able to use a player with Jeremy’s skills.

“We liked his speed, we liked his aggressiveness, we liked his size, we liked him being able to penetrate,” Coach Mike D’Antoni said.

It was a big change for Jeremy. He went from playing on his hometown team to being unemployed to playing in the biggest city in America … all in about two weeks in late 2011. It was a shock, he admitted, to be cut by Golden State. But this spot with the Knicks was a welcome relief.

“It seems like forever ago,” Lin said about leaving Golden State, “but obviously [the Knicks are] a dream come true. And I’m still excited, just as excited, to be with the Knicks right now.”

Jeremy made his debut in a Knicks uniform on the road against his old team, the Warriors. However, the Jeremy Lin who had played his last Warriors game back in April 2010 was not the Jeremy Lin who took the floor in his soon-to-be-famous No. 17 Knicks jersey. The six months between games had given him a chance to remake himself and his game. He was stronger, faster, a better jumper, a purer shooter. He had worked on every part of his game, with coaches and by himself. By the time he got his chance with the Knicks, he was more ready than he’d ever been.

New York put Jeremy into that first regular-season game late and he missed his only shot. He got a nice hand from his old hometown fans but the Warriors beat the Knicks, 92–78. After that game, Coach D’Antoni was not happy. The Knicks’ struggles would soon open the door for Jeremy.

“The whole game, our offense was awful,” D’Antoni told reporters afterward. “We let opportunities slip by, just because we weren’t in sync, we didn’t make shots, we turned the ball over, we gave up layups. And we let them hang around until they caught a little bit of fire.”

Jeremy showed his team that he was still trying hard to improve. During practice sessions before and after the team workouts, Jeremy spent time with Knicks assistant coach Kenny Atkinson. The pair continued to improve Jeremy’s shooting.


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