Jeremy Lin says Rockets getting Dwight Howard is ‘huge’

Lakers power forward Pau Gasol forces Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin to pass after a drive in the second half Wednesday night.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Houston Rockets landed their franchise center in Dwight Howard, who left the Lakers last week as a free agent.

“It’s huge. It’s really important for us,” Jeremy Lin said Sunday at the Steve Nash Showdown. “When you talk about a franchise player or a superstar, having him and James Harden -- we’re definitely fortunate to have two of those top-tier guys.”

Lin joined Nash, Klay Thompson, Jared Dudley and a number of international soccer stars in downtown Los Angeles for a charity soccer match to support the Steve Nash Foundation.

“I wasn’t part of the recruiting process [for Howard],” said Lin, who learned of the center’s decision while at a family function. “Everyone just started texting me.”

Now the Rockets have to figure out how to fit Howard into their pick-and-roll-heavy offense.


“A lot of it is going to be learning on the fly to a certain extent, but listening to the coaches and buying in,” Lin said. “We always want to go as deep as we can but I’m not going to make any guarantees right now.”

Lin and the Rockets tied the Lakers for seventh in the West at 45-37 this season, with the Lakers getting the higher playoff seeding because of the head-to-head tiebreaker. Houston was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games; the Lakers were swept by San Antonio.

“We learned a lot. Any time you get bumped out in the first round, you get a taste of what of it’s about but it’s kind of like a tease -- you want it to go longer,” Lin said. “It made us even hungrier.”

Now the Rockets boast a more formidable roster for the 2013-14 season.

Lin has come a long way since his time in New York with current Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni.

“It was a good experience,” Lin said, “being able to play under D’Antoni for that short time.”

After a spectacular stretch with the Knicks two seasons ago, Lin left New York for Houston last summer as a restricted free agent.

He averaged 13.4 points, 6.1 assists and 1.6 steals a game last season, and was one of two Rockets to play in all 82 games.


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