LeBron James ready to guard Jeremy Lin, if asked
Lin is averaging 23.8 points and 9.4 assists while leading the New York Knicks to an 8-2 record in his 10 games as a starter. Few teams have found an answer for defending him, including the Dallas Mavericks, who recently surrendered 28 points and 14 assists to Lin despite having 6-foot-7 forward Shawn Marion guard him.
James, who’s 6-8, has defended point guards in the past, and did a good job of slowing the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose in last season’s Eastern Conference finals. He says he’ll be ready to take on Lin, if needed.
“I go into the game thinking I’m going to guard everybody on the team,” James said Thursday morning. “I prepare that way. So if it’s an opportunity for me, if Coach puts the right matchup on me and I guard him, I’ll take the challenge.”
Lin’s amazing rise to stardom has even taken some of the spotlight off James and the Heat over the past two weeks.
[ Related: Jeremy Lin ditches couch for new digs ]
“He’s a good basketball player and the best thing about it is they’re winning,” James said. “That’s what is most important. It’s definitely a great story. I’m happy for a guy like that who was almost pushed out the league and given an opportunity. He’s making the most of it.”
Said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra: “It proves that scouting in this league is not an exact science.”
Spoelstra, who is Filipino-American, hopes that Lin, a Taiwanese-American, will soon be looked at as a good basketball player and not solely as a good Asian-American basketball player.
“It’s terrific to be involved in changing people’s perception, and the world is changing,” Spoelstra said. “Hopefully, years from the now, the story will be about the basketball story and it will not be about ethnicity because it really is about a fortitude, faith and resiliency for someone to keep banging on the door when the door is shut repeatedly.
“It’s a good vessel for young players and young people in general. Sometimes the most gratifying things in life are the ones that you got to work for. Things don’t come necessarily easy.”
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