Jeremy Lin signed his contract with the Charlotte Hornets when general manager Rich Cho handed it to him at his mother's house, Lin said in an introductory press conference today. Lin said the Hornets approached him late in the free agency process but he was happy they did, which contradicts earlier reports that the organization reached out to him early in the July moratorium.
Hornets head coach Steve Clifford was with Lin at today's press conference, and said the Hornets aimed to improve offensively this offseason by adding size and shooting, and Lin fits both of those goals.
"We've improved offensively in so many ways: more passing, more shooting, more creativity," Clifford said. "I believe we've added guys who give us versatility." He mentioned that the team wanted to maintain its defensive prowess while adding offense. The acquisition of Spencer Hawes and loss of Bismack Biyombo might make that difficult, but Clifford's confidence going forward is assuring.
Lin was cordial and looked at home as he spoke to the media. He praised the city of Charlotte, comparing it to his hometown of Palo Alto, California. He cited the culture of the Hornets as a primary reason he decided to come to Charlotte. And don't talk to him about his time with the New York Knicks. That felt like a decade ago.
Lin directly addressed the narratives surrounding his game. He admitted that while in New York, he was not a great shooter, turned the ball over too much, could not dribble to his left, and played less than ideal defense. However, Lin said he worked on those aspects of his game, and that his statistics will back that up.
And he's right. Lin posted career bests in 3-point percentage and turnover percentage. And believe it or not, he is among the best at his position at isolation defense. Lin's grown considerably over the last few years, and Clifford remarked that only the smartest and hardest working players are able or willing to improve their games later in their careers.
Lin's role was not discussed at any point during the press conference, but Clifford seems to believe Lin will fit in seamlessly from the get go. If the Hornets can stay healthy next season and everything we've heard is true, the eighth seed might be too easy a target. Lin agrees.
"Hopefully, we’ll give the city something to cheer for," Lin said. "We want to make the playoffs and not just sneak in at the eighth seed."
And here's your first official look at Lin's new jersey:
Lot of single-digit numbered players on this year's Hornets roster. Lin to wear No. 7. pic.twitter.com/UyZKC4c0Vx— Steve Reed (@SteveReedAP) July 13, 2015