July 20, 2010


Say this for the new ownership regime: they ain't apathetic about PR. Recent Harvard grad, native Palo Altan and lifelong Dubs fan Jeremy Lin is now a Warrior, making him the league's first full-blooded Asian-American in over 60 years. Lin is the poster child of a heavily-linked Youtube clip, a raucous GSOM campaign and an e-mail a fan sent to new owner Joe Lacob, an e-mail to which Lacob promptly responded.

Let's start here: no, Jeremy Lin is not going to be as good as C.J. Watson. CJ is an efficient scorer, a tremendous ball-handler, a canny defender... he's an above-average NBA player. DraftExpress deemed Jeremy Lin just the 95th-best prospect in the 2010 draft, for reasons that a good Summer League performance doesn't magically erase. Lin is dreadfully small for the NBA game, and rates as neither an elite shooter nor an elite passer. If the front office thinks Lin can fill CJ's shoes, it's a dumber front office than even the most jaded among us give them credit for.

Now, the front office probably doesn't see Lin as the backup point guard, so much as an end-of-the-bench fan favorite who'll sell a few marginal tickets and get the franchise some positive press. And seen in that light, this is a tremendous signing, a savvy PR move without any real cost. Lin is an intensely likeable and entertaining player, and a guy who may spark new fan interest in the Bay Area's massive Asian-American community. Ain't nothing wrong with a great story.

But let's just hope everybody remembers that it's a story, and that the odds of Lin ever becoming a good NBA player are remote. The Warriors are coming out of a long sojourn in the wilderness, and the last thing they need to do is to fall in love with a narrative that minimizes the importance of wins and losses. Great stories are good; competitive basketball is better. And this team still needs a backup point guard.

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