Back in Houston, Lin Already Feels at Home

“We wouldn’t be getting a Christmas game if it wasn’t for Jeremy Lin,” guard Shaun Livingston said as the Rockets held media day on Monday to open their training camp. Livingston is right. Aside from Lin, the 2012-13 Rockets’ roster is rather bland as well as young. Eleven of the 20 players are rookies or second-year players. In that sense, the 24-year-old Lin, a 6-foot-3-inch point guard with all of 64 games of N.B.A. experience, fits right in. And his teammates seemed to enjoy talking, and joking, about him.

“I can’t wait until I’m watching ESPN and I see a highlight of Jeremy Lin passing me the ball and I hit a shot and they say, ‘Jeremy Lin to Jeremy Lamb,’ ” said Lamb, a rookie out of Connecticut. “Or the other way around when I pass it to him, because he’s a great shooter.”

In 35 games (25 starts) with the last season, Lin averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists a game. More than that, he became a national phenomenon, the Lin in Linsanity, which, in the end, did not last all that long because, over the summer, the Knicks did not match the Rockets’ free-agent contract offer.

So now Lin is in Houston, where he seemed at home as he talked to reporters. “I had a lot of fun last year, and I’m having a lot of fun now,” he said.

“For me, I see this as just the beginning. I’ve played only 64 games. I’m very young and learning.”

In a sense, the Rockets are learning, too, as they try to determine how best to use their new star.

“We’ve got to figure out what he does really well and get more of that, and what he doesn’t do well, we’ll have other people do that,” said Kevin McHale, the Rockets’ coach.

This is actually Lin’s second stint with the Rockets. Last December, he was in Houston’s training camp for 12 days as the N.B.A. prepared for a lockout-delayed start to the season. The Knicks then claimed him off waivers on Dec. 27.

Lin said his discussions with the Rockets this past summer, as they successfully recruited him away from the Knicks, gave him some idea of what to expect from McHale.

As to what to expect from other N.B.A. players, who may think he has not really earned the fame and fortune he has quickly built, Lin seemed unconcerned.

“It’s out of my control,” Lin said. “I’m going to play the same whether there’s a target on my back or not.”

Then there are his teammates, who do not seem jealous at all.

“Everything he got last year he never asked for,” forward Chandler Parsons said.

“The way he carries himself, I have the upmost respect for him, and the guys embrace that and respect that and want to be around it. I love that he’s in Houston.”

Shooting guard Kevin Martin added, “He’s the guy I’m looking at to relieve a lot of pressure off me.”

Lin said he thought playing with the Rockets again would be fun “because we’re talented.”

“And I’ve been playing with the guys in the off-season,” he said. “They’re definitely talented.”

New York already seems to be fading into the distance.

Knicks Make Final Preparations for N.B.A.’s Opening Game

“It should be an exciting year,” Coach said. “We’re looking forward to it. I know the players are looking forward to playing. It should be great.”

D’Antoni said the Knicks would probably use the same starting lineup they did in the two-game preseason on Sunday when they face the , who swept the Knicks out of the opening round of the playoffs last season in four games. They may, however, be without the backup point guard Mike Bibby.

Bibby, a 13-year veteran who signed with the Knicks on Dec. 11, injured his back when he collided with the Nets’ Stephen Graham in the teams’ preseason game Wednesday. Bibby sat out practice Friday, but he participated on a limited basis Saturday. He will probably be a game-time decision.

Either way, the Knicks will probably maintain the starting lineup that features Tyson Chandler at center, Amar’e Stoudemire at power forward, Carmelo Anthony at small forward, Landry Fields at shooting guard and Toney Douglas at point guard.

The lockout-abbreviated training camp has added to the difficulty in preparing for the season. D’Antoni has simplified the offense and says he plans to add layers of complexity as the season progresses. On Saturday, he put the Knicks through what appeared to be a fairly thorough practice, not sparing a moment even though it was Christmas Eve.

“Everybody’s antsy,” D’Antoni said. “I think every team is the same way. You hope they respond the right way; you worry about them physically and mentally, the way a team’s put together. A little more angst on our part, but we’re confident we can play well.”

After Sunday’s opener against the Celtics, the Knicks will , returning to the Garden to host the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 2.

The Knicks have seemed to try to temper the early expectations by reiterating that a season is a marathon, not a sprint. But coaches and players acknowledge that they will have an opportunity to make an opening statement with a strong performance.

“The atmosphere is going to be just like, if not better than, a playoff game tomorrow,” Stoudemire said. “It’s Christmas Day. It’s the first game. Prime-time game. It’s going to be incredible.”

Knicks Take Georgia Tech Guard Shumpert

In what will probably stand as his last major move, Walsh selected Iman Shumpert, a defensive-minded guard from Georgia Tech, with the 17th pick Thursday night.

Walsh is stepping down as team president on June 30, after three years of running the franchise, and after clashing with team ownership over issues of autonomy.

With no more blockbuster deals to make, no great assets to trade and a low pick in a weak draft, Walsh still filled some needs Thursday.

Shumpert, who stands 6 feet 5 inches and 212 pounds, can play both backcourt spots and some small forward. He is regarded as a superb defender and athlete, with a 42-inch vertical leap and a 6-10 wingspan. He could play alongside Chauncey Billups or back him up, adding critical depth to a talent-depleted roster. And he will bring a defensive posture to a team that ranked in the bottom third last season.

“I really like him a lot,” Walsh said.

Shumpert averaged 17.3 points, 3.5 assists and 2.7 steals as a junior and was on the all-defensive team in the Atlantic Coast Conference. He was not a prominent name, however, and his selection evoked immediate boos at the draft in Newark.

“I feel good about it, I really do,” Walsh said of taking Shumpert. “I kind of came into this league with everybody booing me when I took Chuck Person, who was rookie of the year, and Reggie Miller the next year. And I’m going out with everybody booing me, and that’s a good sign.”

Walsh laughed. He has been right more often than not in 25 years of stocking rosters in Indiana and New York. He is leaving the Knicks with an arsenal of All-Star talent, with Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Billups now anchoring the lineup.

The need now is for high-quality role players, as well as shooting, rebounding and size.

But the best shooters and big men were gone by the time the Knicks picked. Those needs will have to be addressed in free agency.

Shumpert does not need the ball to be effective, making him a solid complement to the Knicks’ three stars. Although he is considered more of a combination guard than a true point, Walsh said Shumpert has the requisite playmaking skills. The Knicks need an eventual heir to Billups, who will be 35 next season.

“I think with our team offensively, he probably will play more point than he will two guard, because Chauncey can play ‘two’ probably as good as anybody,” Walsh said. “I think he can run pick-and-roll, I think he’ll see the play, and he’ll get better at it.”

Walsh said that Shumpert is also a better shooter than his reputation suggests and shot well during his workout for the team

“His shot’s not broken,” Walsh said, adding, “He has good form.”

At one point, it appeared that forward Kawhi Leonard, a small forward from San Diego State and a projected lottery pick, might fall to the Knicks, which would have changed their plans. Leonard was taken 15th, by Indiana, and traded to San Antonio.

Walsh could have chosen a top rebounder (Kenneth Faried) or the draft’s most versatile defender (Chris Singleton), but he said Shumpert was the best choice, given the need for backcourt help. Singleton, a 6-8 small forward, would have had trouble finding playing time behind Anthony, and he is not suited to play shooting guard, Walsh said.

Although team officials had thoughts of trading up in the draft, they had few assets to use, and a reluctance to part with the few young players they had.

The Knicks did not have a second-round pick, but they bought the rights to Kentucky’s Josh Harrelson, a 6-10 forward, from the New Orleans Hornets, who took him 45th.

Walsh will become a team consultant on July 1 and hand the front-office reins to Glen Grunwald, the team’s senior vice president of basketball operations. Grunwald will serve as interim general manager until the team identifies Walsh’s heir.

The next order of business is to address the status of the scouting and front-office staff and Coach Mike D’Antoni’s assistants, all of whom have contracts expiring at the end of the month. Walsh said that he expected everyone to be retained.

The selection of Shumpert seemed to surprise ESPN’s studio analysts, who were promoting Singleton and Faried as the logical choices. Jon Barry praised Shumpert, but added, “He’s not great at one particular area.”

“Don’t expect miracles out of him,” Barry said, “but he’s a guy who can play defense. That’s what the Knicks need.”

Three years ago, Walsh returned to New York, his hometown, to fix a broken franchise. This spring, the Knicks made the playoffs for the first time in seven years and posted their first winning record in a decade. But the franchise did not pick up Walsh’s contract option, and negotiations on an extension broke down when Walsh failed to get assurances of autonomy from James L. Dolan, the Madison Square Garden chairman.

“I’m going home,” Walsh said with a mixture of glee and relief. “I loved it here, I really did.”