When the Raptors landed Jeremy Lin on the buyout market last month, it looked like a perfect fit. Toronto had just lost backup point guards Fred VanVleet (to injury) and Delon Wright (in a trade), opening the door for Lin to play a key role off the bench. However, the veteran hasn’t looked comfortable with the Raps so far — entering today, he was a minus-46 in 140 minutes and made 0-of-17 three-point attempts, as Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca writes.
“We’ve gotta get him more comfortable,” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said. “He’s just a little uncomfortable with me, I think, more than anything. I like to let those guys [have freedom]. I say to him, ‘Jeremy, hey, call something. You know, you get the ball in your hands and you look like you don’t know what you want to do out there.’
“I say, ‘You don’t have to look at me, just call this, this or this, pick one.’ He’s got to get a little more comfortable. Even though I’ve tried to shorten it down to three things, he’s so new that he can’t quite come up with one. I need to give him more help. I need to give him more help until he’s more comfortable with that.”
Lin admits that he has more freedom in Toronto than he’s accustomed to, suggesting that he hasn’t had this sort of “empowerment” since he played for Mike D’Antoni in New York, as Lewenberg relays. The 30-year-old welcomes the opportunity to return to that style of play.
“That is kind of how I always played,” Lin said. “I was always more of a free space, free-flowing playmaker. That’s just kind of who I am by nature. That’s my personality. That’s probably what attracted me to this team and obviously vice-versa. We got to just make the pieces fit and [we] will.”
Here’s more on the Raptors:
- The Raptors’ bench will get some reinforcement when VanVleet returns, and according to Lewenberg (via Twitter), he’s ahead of schedule in his recovery from a thumb injury. Nurse expects VanVleet to return to Toronto’s rotation at some point within the next couple weeks.
- Appearing on the Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN’s Michael C. Wright reiterated a point he’s made before, suggesting that he doesn’t believe Kawhi Leonard is interested in heading to the Lakers to play alongside LeBron James this offseason. “I do not,” Wright said, per RealGM.com. “That’s just what I’ve been told. It’s what I’ve been told going back to last summer. I don’t see that as something that’s happening. … I think he goes to the Clippers.”
- While Leonard’s free agency will be the biggest storyline in Toronto this summer, his longtime teammate Danny Green will also be an unrestricted free agent, and Green’s impact on the Raptors this season shouldn’t be overlooked, writes Dan Feldman of NBC Sports.