HOUSTON -- Jeremy Lin said he failed in handling the huge expectations that were placed on him following his breakout season with the New York Knicks and hopes a lower profile in his second season with the now star-studded Houston Rockets will help him.
A year ago, Lin was the focal point when the Rockets opened the season after they signed him away from the Knicks. But he struggled in his first full season as a starting point guard, and the Rockets have traded for James Harden and signed Dwight Howard since Lin's signing. That has made the team a contender and taken some of the burden off Lin.
"Learning to manage and deal with expectations and which voices to tune out takes time," Lin said at Rockets media day Friday. "You have to fail at it to get to where you want to get to."
Lin was frequently critical of his performance last season, when he started all 82 games and averaged 13.4 points and 6.1 assists a game. He was constantly chasing his five-week run in 2012 in New York and the famed "Linsanity."
With Howard and Harden, Lin is now more focused on being the role player he ended up becoming when the Rockets made the playoffs last season.
"From a personal standpoint, there's a lot less pressure this season," Lin said. "I've had such a wide spectrum of literally no expectations to having every expectation. Now it's kind of going back down to some lower expectations."
Lin isn't the only Rocket who has a different view a year into his tenure. Center Omer Asik, who like Lin was a significant free-agent addition in 2012, was not pleased when the Rockets signed Howard. He requested to be traded, a wish the Rockets have so far declined as they plan to experiment with playing Howard and Asik together.
Over the past two months, as many as 10 Rockets players got together for workouts in Los Angeles and Aspen, Colo., but Asik was not among them. He spent the summer playing for the Turkish national team. Friday was the first day he had been with his teammates since the Howard signing.
"I have no comment on [the trade demand]. I'm just here to do my job, that's all I can say," Asik said. "I think [Howard] is the best center in the league and he's a great addition for the Houston Rockets, and we'll see how it goes. I'm a basketball player, and I'll do whatever the coaches say."