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Friday, September 6, 2013
Jeremy Lin to play for Taiwan in 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup
Houston Rockets star Jeremy "LINSANITY" Lin has been spending the entire summer working on his game and adding new dimensions to his skill set as he prepares for what will be a crucial season in his basketball career.
From draining hundreds of three-point shots to dropping 45 points in the San Francisco Pro Am game, Lin is doing everything he can to raise his game to another level.
Unfortunately, Lin might have missed his chance to further improve his skills and toughen his mettle this offseason after the FIBA Asia Championship finished their 11-day tourney in August.
Lin, who is of Chinese and Taiwanese descent, has been invited several times to play in international basketball competitions. Rivals China and Taiwan have each sent invitations to Lin, while Basketball USA picked him as one of the 13 members of the USA select team in summer 2012. However, the 25-year-old has still not committed to any international play.
Still, Lin has remained opened to playing for the pride and honor of his home country - and that's Taiwan. During his latest visit there, Lin spoke about the importance of playing for Chinese Taipei in future basketball competitions, though he was uncertain when the opportunity would arise.
"I try not to think too far," Lin told Focus Taiwan. "I can't speak for the future ... I'm not making decisions until the time is appropriate."
Though there will be always high risk of suffering serious injuries, playing in international competition might bode well for Lin's basketball career. Unlike the freewheeling and high-scoring style of play in the NBA, international tournaments tend to focus more on ball movement, and, of course, defense. The pace is also much slower and physicality is all over the floor. Lin's ability to run pick-and-roll plays would be huge in FIBA-sanctioned matches, especially for a Taiwanese ballclub loaded with shooters.
Taiwan fell short of securing a place in next year's FIBA World Cup after finishing fourth in the FIBA Asia Championship in Manila. However, the country still has a chance to punch their ticket to Spain, if they are only willing to put up a fee worth 500,000 Euros for one of the available wild-card spots. Bringing in an NBA-caliber player like Lin would be sure to enhance Taiwan's bid.
In Lin's case, the Rockets point guard would also benefit a lot from playing against the finest basketball players in the world.
Historically, NBA players that have participated in major basketball tournaments such as the Olympics and the FIBA World Cup produced very well in the upcoming season. LeBron James, James Harden, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and Tyson Chandler played and won the gold at 2012 London Olympics, and all of them came through with better statistical season.
It may take time for Lin to realize the value of playing international hoops, but if he ever hits the floor with the Taiwanese national team, expect Linsanity to break loose in the international basketball arena.