Should the San Antonio Spurs Pursue Jeremy Lin?
By Ian Smith
Jeremy Lin has had a very eventful NBA career, and will probably be looking for a new home this offseason.
The Charlotte Hornets reportedly feel doubtful about their ability to retain Lin because they are prioritizing re-signing Nicolas Batum and Marvin Williams.
A salary cap forces teams to make tough decisions like this, and Lin does not appear vital to the Hornets’ long term plans, according to ESPN’s Chris Broussard.
The Spurs were approaching free agency with a penchant for acquiring a point guard, and were linked to Mike Conley. Their actions at the draft put some of that in question, though.
The Spurs drafted combo guard Dejounte Murray, and suddenly their backcourt looks pretty full.
Tony Parker and Danny Green are the two incumbent starters, with Patty Mills, Jonathon Simmons, and Murray providing depth.
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Manu Ginobili has opted out of his contract and appears to be close to making a decision regarding his retirement. Also Kevin Martin and Andre Miller are both unrestricted free agents and unlikely to be back in San Antonio next season.
Should the Spurs pursue Lin in free agency? I would have been more open to that idea if the Spurs hadn’t already drafted a point guard, but it doesn’t seem like a prudent strategy anymore.
Lin would certainly be a cheaper alternative to Conley or Rajon Rondo, but after more time to digest his skill set after he burst onto the scene with the Knicks in 2012, he seems better suited as a backup than as a starter.
He’s a great slasher and runs an effective pick-and roll, but he’s also very reckless at times. His turnover rates have declined as he has been in the league, but the unnecessary risks are still frustrating.
Combined with below average shooting and defensive skills, a team wouldn’t feel secure enough handing him the reins to their attack.
Before the Murray selection, the Spurs could have utilized Lin’s specific strengths off the bench, but now his acquisition would just crowd the depth chart without offering a viable option to excel in a league full of dominant floor generals.
Parker’s play is starting to diminish, Mills is too one-dimensional to be relied upon for huge minutes, and Murray still has some flaws to smooth out of his game before he’s ready to make a large impact in the NBA.
Lin’s presence would add a useful, yet distinctly imperfect player to a point guard group that wouldn’t really be elevated by his inclusion to the team.
The Spurs should steer clear of Lin. In the right situation, he could be a solid point guard in this league, as he has proven in his many stops. San Antonio just doesn’t have a need for him at this stage of their roster preparations for next season.
They have the cap space to add one marquee free agent, and not only would Lin impede that initiative, but it makes little logistical sense to acquire him when he wouldn’t even provide an obvious upgrade to what the Spurs currently have at point guard.
Conley and Rondo are two of the best point guards in the league, so the Spurs devoting resources to significantly upgrade their roster by bringing in one of those two makes sense, even with the recent drafting of Murray.
Lin would provide solid depth at point guard, but depth at the position doesn’t seem like as big of an issue for the Spurs anymore.
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If the Spurs do wish to fortify point guard via free agency, they should try to sign a more complete player than Lin. A team will benefit from Lin’s presence, but he doesn’t fit in with the Spurs’ plans.