How Lin's G League play could force tough Warriors decisions


While the Warriors find themselves struggling to get above "average", as Steph Curry called them, the Santa Cruz Warriors are excelling in the G League bubble in Orlando, Fla., winning their ninth straight game Tuesday morning.

The players on the team are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing: showing they can excel at the NBA level. That has already paid off for both Jordan Poole and Nico Mannion, as the guards were recalled to Golden State on Monday. 

But another Santa Cruz Warrior, in particular, has caught the attention of viewers and is forcing people to seriously consider if he deserves a spot on an NBA team.

Enter Jeremy Lin.

Averaging 18.9 points on 49.4 percent shooting, three rebounds, seven assists and 1.3 steals per game in his seven games so far, Lin is proving that he still has some of what allowed him to take over the NBA during his New York Knicks years. 

So yes, on the surface, he looks like he would fair well on an NBA team. But which one? The obvious first choice is the big brother team to the Santa Cruz Warriors -- Golden State. 

For that to happen, Lin would have to replace a current player on the roster. The only logistical option would be for him to take Brad Wanamaker's spot. This is where the conversation of Lin on the Warriors becomes much more grey than black and white.

First off, Wanamaker would be the one to go for a few reasons. with the first being his contract. Wanamaker is on a one-year contract with the Warriors, so at the end of this season, he will be a free agent. Money-wise, the Warriors will lose the least by letting him go. 

The second reason is because of Wanamaker's production. When the Warriors signed Wanamaker, they were signing the player who had been a solid role player off the bench for the Boston Celtics. He was a good two-way player and would be a reliable backup for Steph Curry. He wasn't a guy they needed to light up the scoreboard, but just someone to keep the team afloat while Curry got some rest. 

Nearing the halfway mark of the season, Wanamaker has struggled to do so. The Warriors like his presence on the defensive end, but he hasn't been able to capitalize offensively.

The Warriors' bench unit has been struggling, and that's not all Wanamaker's fault, but he does play a role in it. If the Warriors choose to spruce things up with their roster, his name will be in the conversation. 

Now, would Lin be the right choice to fill that spot if it becomes vacant? He's proven that his production on offense has been better -- at least in the G League. 

But, as I said, this isn't a black and white decision. 

The question if whether or not what Lin is doing in Orlando right now would translate over to the NBA, particularly on defense. Lin is quick. He can play defense. But is it to the level where it would be enough to slow NBA opponents?

The biggest hurdles Lin is facing are injuries. Over the last few years he has become very injury prone, and having another guy sidelined is not something the Warriors can afford. 

The third thing standing in Lin's way is Jordan Poole. Poole has been another exceptional player in the bubble, and is already under contract with the Warriors, meaning it wouldn't cost them anything for him to replace Wanamaker.

RELATED: Why Poole's recall is best chance to solidify Dubs' future

The biggest key for Lin is for him to continue playing at the level he has been for the remainder of the G League season. If he can prove that what he's doing isn't a fluke, but is something that he can maintain for the long haul, his chances of getting back in the league will be much greater. 

But would it be with the Warriors? Lin is far down on their list. 

The first choice would be to get Wanamaker right. Next, would be to give Poole a chance. And if that didn't work, only then would they start to ask about their other options, which would include Lin.

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