Can Jeremy Lin Be a Legitimate Building Block for Los Angeles Lakers?

The Los Angeles Lakers took a no-risk flier on the final year of Jeremy Lin’s overpriced contract this summer.

Could he be a legitimate building block for a team moving into an uncertain new era? Or will he be one more failed experiment for an organization that has stumbled badly over the past few years?

Starting the season with no wins and five losses, the Lakers need more than Kobe Bryant’s robust 27.6 points per game. One of the other things they need is a truly great point guard.

That doesn’t mean just a functional player or even a pretty good one. On a roster too defined by mediocrity, they need talent that can come within eyesight of Bryant’s orbit.

The longtime Lakers leader has now entered a two-year extension that will likely serve as his swan song. And once he’s gone, what’s left? A steady parade to the draft lottery? A lack of fire, commitment and dedication to a storied purple and gold franchise?

Now 26, Lin once seemed destined for greatness. His 35-game zenith with the New York Knicks during the 2011-12 season led to a giddy media frenzy and anointment as a basketball prodigy and cultural icon.

It also resulted in a three-year deal with the Houston Rockets worth more than $25 million. That chapter ended when Houston dealt Lin and two future draft picks to the Lakers this summer.

The Rockets are now holding down the fort with point guards Patrick Beverley and Isaiah Canaan for a combined salary of only $1.7 million. The team doesn’t seem to be hurting with a league-leading 6-0 record.

Lin has tried to live up to his New York promise and his Rockets payday with diminishing results. Perhaps a statement from his press conference upon arriving in L.A. is becoming prophetic: “I’m not trying to recreate Linsanity or be that phenomenon that happened in New York. I just want to be my...

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