Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Strange and Badly Misunderstood Career of Jeremy Lin

Far removed from the bright lights of Manhattan where Jeremy Lin lit up the world just three short years ago, his epic story continues in near obscurity.  Lin, briefly the hottest global brand of them all, now toils for the Los Angeles Lakers, buried on the bench of an awful team, playing out his gargantuan contract under terrible circumstances, awaiting the next chapter of his remarkable and unique career.  He is a polarizing figure, defended by his legions of fans, and vilified by his vociferous detractors.  And because of that, the assessment of his actual contributions is more emotionally driven than fact-based, and thus badly misunderstood.

Linsanity was indeed a global phenomenon, as Lin took an undermanned and under-talented Knick team, at the time missing injured stars Carmelo Anthony and A’mare Stoudemire, instantly to unbeatable status, winning 8 of 9 games as soon as Lin entered the lineup.  They had won a mere 8 out of 21 prior to that point, despite the presence of those stars.  Lin was a sensation, scoring more points in his first five NBA starts – 136 – than anyone in over 30 years (Michael Jordan, by comparison, scored “only” 116).  On that fateful night of February 4, 2012, Lin came off the bench to lead the Knicks to a 99-92 win, scoring 25 points with 7 assists.  Named a starter, he proceeded to score 28, 23, 38, 20, 27, 10, 26, 28, 21 and 17 before the Miami Heat slowed him down by devoting practically their entire defense to stopping him.  In the midst of this run he landed on more magazine covers than any given U.S. President or supermodel, including two straight cover appearances on Sports Illustrated.  He was an overwhelming story, the near second coming of Beatlemania itself, filled with unlikely angles, including his Asian-American roots, his collegiate career at that noted hoops hotbed, Harvard University, his D-League pedigree, and the “average human” clincher:  I’m-sleeping-on-Landry-Fields’-couch-and-just-about-to-get-cut-again-therefore-on-the-brink-of-never-being-heard-from-again.

And yet, even the period known as “Linsanity” is widely misunderstood.  Most of Lin’s detractors in the blogosphere are dismissive of Lin’s “two weeks” or “9 games” of glory.  It is certainly true that Lin’s 9-game stretch represented the peak of Linsanity, and that the Knicks' fortunes cooled thereafter.  Many think it “ended” with the Heat shutdown in the 12th game of the run.

But the facts are, the Knicks slump coincided with Anthony’s return, right before that Miami game.  While Lin’s hands were no longer on the ball as often, as Anthony reclaimed his star’s prerogative for the ball, Lin excelled nonetheless for the remainder of the season.  While his production slipped from the 9-game stretch of 26.4 ppg, he compiled a very strong line of 15.0 ppg and 6.8 assists in the following 17 games, until an injury ended his season.

Thus the first of many misunderstandings about Lin.  Lin’s play was no fluke.  He managed an overall line over his 26-game Knick career in the spotlight – a third of an NBA season – with high productivity, 18.2 ppg, 45% shooting, and 7.7 assists per game.  He was still a raw talent, as evidenced by his 3.8 turnovers per game average, but no fluke.

Further evidence of the “no fluke” theory is that the NBA is not like baseball.  Baseball has a long history of minor league call-ups who set the world on fire for a few months and then flame out.  Remember “Hurricane” Bob Hazle?  Kevin Maas?  Shane Spencer?  But the NBA?  Can you name another player who soared like Lin and settled to mediocrity without an injury playing a role?  But if Lin was not a fluke, then what explains he lesser production since Linsanity?  Why did he not at least settle into what might have been reasonably expected, a solid NBA starter if not a superstar or even an All-Star?

Lin, a free agent in the summer of 2012, then received a generous offer from the Houston Rockets, for $25 million over three years, including $15 million for the final year.   The Knicks chose not to match it, with Carmelo Anthony himself leading the offense, as usual, publicly terming the contract “ridiculous.”  The Rockets, an also ran in the powerful Western Conference, brought in Lin to be the centerpiece of their offense, and perhaps capitalize on a fan base that adored former Rockets center Yao Ming, the popular Chinese center.  Lin’s marketing value was no doubt a part of the Rockets’ economic calculus.

But shortly thereafter, the Rockets had the opportunity to snag James Harden, another potential superstar, and they pounced.  Who can blame them…Harden is now a legitimate NBA MVP candidate, with transcendent skills, and even the stoutest Lin fan has to concede Harden was and is the better player, and a coup for the Rockets.

Harden needs the ball.  Nominally a shooting guard, he is really more of a combo point/shooting guard, leaning toward the point.  Unlike Melo, who received the ball in the forecourt, Harden initiated play as often as Lin, and like Melo was the usual recipient of Lin’s first pass when Lin brought the ball up.  In short, Lin quickly found himself in an ever worse situation than with Melo, a point guard in name only.

Lin adapted well to these circumstances.  He worked hard on his three-point shot and turned himself into a combo guard, much like Harden himself.  But in Lin’s second season, Rockets’ Coach Kevin McHale recognized that a better lineup would have Lin off the bench leading the second unit, while defensive star Patrick Beverly, a modest offensive threat at best who did not need the ball, would be a better fit as a backcourt partner for Harden.

Lin’s two years in Houston thus became another period of misunderstanding.   Lin’s detractors routinely point to his Houston years as a “failure,” how Lin “lost his job” to Beverly, hardly a star, and failed to reignite Linsanity when “given the opportunity.”  This ignores the circumstance of Lin being paired with another of the league’s leading “usage” players, Harden, and the impossibility of any point guard to achieve a major stat line with that arrangement.

But Lin was actually quite a good player in Houston.  He received healthy minutes (30 per game) in a three-guard rotation with Harden and Beverly over the two years, and often ended the games even when he no longer started them.  His stats in this setup were extremely solid.  For the two years combined he averaged 13.0 ppg and 5.2 assists (even while not playing a pure point), shooting 44% and a more than respectable (and far better than Linsanity days) 35% from the three-point line.  On a per-36 minute basis, this translates to 16 ppg and 6 assists.  His slashing style to the hoop continued, and he was the league’s second best “closer” to the hoop, trailing only LeBron James.

And, when called upon, he led the team.  James Harden was forced to miss 8 games over the two years, and Lin was thrust into the starting role.  And even on a team with legitimate offensive threats Dwight Howard and Chandler Parsons, Lin averaged 20 points per game with 6 assists in those 8 starts – in short, he demonstrated once again that Linsanity was no fluke and, given the chance, he could put up numbers worthy of All-Star consideration.  And he even carried the load at times when Harden was in the lineup…at times he would simply take over a game and score in bunches.  In his two years in Houston he had 20+ points 26 times and cleared 30 in three of those games, including a 38-point outburst versus the venerated Spurs.  And of course he did not “lose” his job, his coach simply recognized the reality of the pairings, and adjusted accordingly. 

But the Rockets, while a very good team, could not crack the elite of the West, and in the off-season the front office concocted a brash plan to land another superstar to replicate the Miami Heat-inspired blueprint of three superstars on one team – Harden, Howard and the target, Chris Bosh.  Lin was traded to Los Angeles with a first-round pick (a required sweetener given that the Lakers would have to take on the final year of Lin’s contract, the whole $15 million), to free up the cap space for that play, and the Rockers went after Bosh.  (And failed.  Bosh returned to the Heat.)

Lin landed in L.A. with the expectation of sharing time with the oft-injured, aging Steve Nash, with the likelihood that Nash, while nominally the starter, might be hard-pressed to make it on the floor for even 20 minutes a game.  The rest would be Lin’s.  Kobe Bryant, while a star of even higher magnitude than Melo and Harden, a true legend, was returning from serious injury and would surely be looking to offload a portion of his offensive workload on Lin.  So concerns among Lin’s fans that Kobe would simply be another usage-sucking gunner, a la Melo and Harden, were deflected.

And, as it happens, Nash was injured in preseason and Lin became the starter.  (Nash, it turns out, has yet to play this season and his career is likely over.)  But Bryant was another story.  Under the plan developed by new Lakers’ Coach Byron Scott, Bryant averaged 37 minutes a game at the outset, a curious stratagem for a 37-year old coming off Achilles heel surgery.  And far from off-loading a portion of his offense, Bryant actually upped his usage, averaging 23 shots per game.  And he was terrible, shooting a career low (by far) 37%. 

This situation was far worse than the ones with Harden or Melo.  It was a nightmare for Lin.  And the nightmare was compounded by Bryant’s surly personality and Scott’s total inability to re-shape his system to the talent available, his erratic substitution patterns, and his blindness to the most obvious ways to improve team performance.  For example, it was clear in preseason that Lin and Ed Davis were effective partners in the pick and roll, but Scott rarely played the two together in the regular season.  And his Princeton offense was ill-suited to the young runners (aside from Bryant) who populated the Lakers roster.

And then suddenly, as the Bryant-led Lakers stumbled to a 5-15 record after 20 games, Lin and Carlos Boozer were unceremoniously demoted, their alleged poor defense the culprits.  (This is certainly true for Boozer, but all sophisticated NBA stats show that Lin and his replacement, Ronnie Price, are even as defenders, and Lin of course is far superior on the offense.)

Lin’s detractors say that Lin “failed” and once again lost his job to Price, an inferior talent, a journeyman NBA guard who indeed makes Patrick Beverly look like Jerry West.  But Lin actually performed well in the starting role.  Despite working with a roster of players who shot virtually every time they received the ball – Bryant, Carlos Boozer and Nick Young – Lin averaged 12 ppg on only 9 shots per game, shooting 45% overall, a career high 36% from three-point-land, and 5 assists per game.  (On a per-36 minutes basis, this translates to the by now familiar statistics:  14 ppg and 6 assists.)

Bryant was then injured again, worn down by the pounding, and after a brief break tried to come back and play on a more occasional basis.  While he played he demonstrated far more propensity to pass, but his on-again/off-again status further disrupted the Lakers.  Price received 30 minutes a game for a stat line that barely exceeded the infamous “trillion,” the term used for a player who fails to record any stats at all for his playing time. 

Lin became the leader of the second unit, and after a few sour games, found his niche.  Lin, told to be a playmaker (rather than the score-first point guard that he is), would dutifully set up Boozer and Young on the second team.  Boozer continued to shoot every time he touched the ball, shooting over 50%, and Young did the same, with the opposite results (he is shooting a Bryant-like 37%).  Lin continued to deliver a reasonable stat line under the circumstances.

The Lakers are a terrible team, and finally Scott and company threw in the towel and started “tanking” in earnest.  The Lakers own a first round draft pick that they can only keep and use if they finish among the worst five teams in the league.  The Lakers’ perverse incentive thus caused all sorts of inversions, not the least of which is their second unit is actually far stronger than the first unit.  The fabled Los Angeles Lakers are starting – wait for it – rookie Jordan Clarkson (who mercifully replaced Price), Wayne Ellington, Robert Sacre, Ryan Kelly and Tarik Black.  These are the 7th, 9th, 10th, 12th and 13th leading scorers on the Lakers, and collectively they average 31.3 points per game, or less than Bryant did in two of his best seasons.  Considering the Lakers are missing Nash and rookie Julius Randle, and you can see that most of these players, based on scoring alone, might not have even been on the Lakers second unit on a full-strength roster.

Starting the second-team – Lin, Young, Boozer, Ed Davis and Wes Johnson -- and playing them 32 minutes per game apiece would only increase the Lakers’ chances to win, and thus undermine the odds of securing that badly needed draft pick.

Lin continues to play well in this impossible role.  Capped at 20 minutes per game, he continues to score productively – 9.2 points a game, and dish impressively – 4.2 assists per game.  Project those totals to 36 minutes and you get – of course -- 15 ppg and 7 assists.  And that is for a lousy team, playing for a lousy coach, in a lost season.

And yet the buzz continues…Lin is “overrated…a failure…not a starter…shouldn’t even be in the league.”  It is perverse thinking and simply not justified by the stats.  Byron Scott claims Lin is “inconsistent” but he is no more inconsistent than most NBA players, who routinely light it up one night and disappear the next.  Only the true superstars produce almost every night, and Lin is not that.

But Lin is a solid NBA player.  While reasonable people can agree it is difficult to judge just what he is and can be, it is hardly a stretch, and backed up by ample evidence at this point, to say that as a starter he would average in the 15 ppg range with 7-8 assists, depending on the system and his teammates.  Clearly in a running environment, with a good pick and roll center and some three-point shooters on the wings, Lin could do even better.  Stick him in a plodding offense with fewer possessions and an “Iso” offense and he will be less productive.  But 15/7 seems to be the norm around which he will vary, given 32-36 minutes.  That would make him about 15th in scoring among point guards and top ten in assists.  Perhaps not a top ten NBA point guard or an All-Star, but easily in next ten, certainly among the best 30 point guards in the league.  And if the system really works for him, and he regains his confidence, he could get up to, say, 18 and 9.

Lin will almost certainly not be traded by the February 19th deadline.  Any team that picked him up would have to pay him the pro-rated portion of his $15 million contract, about $6 million for the balance of the year.  There are not many teams with playoff hopes that do not already have a capable point guard.  Someone would have to have a crying need for a back-up point…and then be able to afford the $6 million to fill that role on a rental.

But Lin will, of course, be a free agent this summer.  This is a golden era of NBA point guards and so his options will be limited.  He may choose to sign an inexpensive one-year deal with a team that will give him a shot at being a starter and see what he can do, or be a quality back-up in a system that favors him.  Let him rebuild his reputation in a good environment and then go from there.  His saga has been so visible and prolonged that people forget he is only 26 years old, heading into his prime.

His path thus far has been unique, remarkably so.  Other guards of his age, such as Goran Dragic, Kyle Lowry and Reggie Jackson, have been nurtured in good systems and gradually have matured into quality players.  Lin’s “development” has been virtually non-existent.  Yet he thrived the most when he was simply handed the keys to the car and told to go for it. 

A team like Dallas seems ideal to me.  Rajon Rondo has not worked out and will likely leave this summer to explore free agency.  Tyson Chandler, his old pick and roll buddy with the Knicks, roams the middle, and Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons (another former teammate) are formidable on the wings.  And Monta Ellis would eat up the three-point opportunities Lin would create.   Lin might score less on a team with that kind of firepower, but he could still excel, and be the missing piece to the Mavs title aspirations.

In any event, Lin’s strange career, full of the highest of highs, the lowest of lows, incredible polarization and misunderstanding, is crying for another act, a redemptive cycle.  We shall see.

62 comments:

  1. Fair and insightful analyses supported by facts and data.

    A true joy of reading it.

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    1. You took the words right of my mouth, DGT.
      So, ditto!

      Thanks for a well crafted analysis on the "curious case" of Jeremy Lin, Mr. Gardner. I look forward to reading more of your writing. I'm not interested in baseball, but I do pay attention to the political scene in America.

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    2. Thanks a lot, Professor MrPingPong, for your emotional support. :)

      Delete
  2. must have another piece like these write up.."Next Chapter" please!

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  3. A very good read.

    The writer Tom Gardner understands Jeremy Lin's game more than most of the sport analysts/writers in the U.S.

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  4. Good piece...you said it "as it is". Thanks

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  5. Good article. Hope Lin finally ends up with a team that plays "teamball" and not "meball" and is not trying to tank. Then he can do this thing . . .

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  6. I think

    "He is a polarizing figure, defended by his legions of fans, and vilified by his vociferous detractors."

    needs more elaboration. The same dynamic can be said for Kobe Bryant, but I think it is different for Lin, because a large majority of his legions of fans identify with his ethnicity, which adds to the complexity of how he is (mis)understood.

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  7. Lin is an average player which is not a bad thing

    Reason he has detractors is because of the Lin ONLy Fans (LOF's) who project him to be a superstar and then go on to bash all the other players on the team, the coaches, the trainers, the fans of the team when Lin fails them. This bunch of idiots cry racism everytime Lin fails to put up the gaudy numbers that they expect him to. In short Lin fans live through Lin and are the reason why many turn on Lin.

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    1. Lying haters like you completely missed on Lin from the start. Why? Certainly racism had a lot to do with it. LOF's have all the credibility in the world, as they were the ones calling Lin's rise shortly before Linsanity actually occurred. They were calling out Houston for their idiocy in releasing Lin on Christmas. They knew his true skill level, and it showed with Linsanity and egg all over Morey's face. You missed on Lin, lying hater. Deal with it.

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    2. ^^ Here's one of them

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    3. Well then these detractors prove they aren't objective by getting turned off an innocent person because of his fans. Clearly not smart enough (or worse) to separate the two.

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    4. I was a big Lin fan, and still follow his news nowadays. The more news I read, the more I realize that it's not really Lin's fault , but the media love underdog/falling star stories. I'll say 99% of the Lin fans doesn't blindly support him when he play bad basketball. Only when haters starts to rant, then the Lin fans started to counterattack. And guess what, the media/blog writers loved it! because that means more ppl is reading their sh*t. Tim Tebow, RG3, Pau Gasol, they are all same kind of stories.

      When Lin started and play over 30 mins of PG, you blamed him as a tumor of the offense/defense, it's a legit argument. What about now? he didn't even start and play 20 mins and you still blame he for the losing record? give me a break. The problem of the Lakers now is consistency and bad team ball, and also the coach. This is a way better article then Swaggy P shooting bricks and ask Lin to pass more.

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    5. I completely agree with your statement. The LOF create unecessary hate against Lin. When you cry racism and bash all the other players and coaches on the team, it makes you look ignorant and biased. This was seen in Houston, where the LOF's bashed Harden and McHale day in day out. Now it's Kobe and BS. Supporting Lin is one thing, but putting him on a pedestal and blaming other people for Lin's shortcomings is another. Oh and before people can label me as a "hater", I've been a Lin fan since pre - Golden State days. I followed him while he was still balling in Harvard. To this day I still support him, but I don't go on writing ignorant posts all over the message boards that create this whole plume of negativity towards him.

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  8. Go to jeremylin.net to see idiot Lin fans calle veryone racists and attack anyone who they think is responsible for Lin not being the superstar they want him to. It started with Felton, Melo and Woodson to Beverley, Harden and McHale to Price, Kobe and Scott.

    It's always everyone else's fault that Lin fails them. They cry racism and make up lies and more lies to defend Lin's mediocrity. They go on to public social networks like Twitter and attack members of the team and their fans directly with idiot tweets from guys like Ido Amir and PFV. Pathetic bunch of fans who clearly are a disgrace to Lin who is a great person himself.

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    1. Lying haters like you completely missed on Lin from the start. Of course you would have something against jeremylin.net, one of the only sites in the world who called Lin's meteoric rise shortly before it happened. You missed. Deal with it.

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    2. This article is about Jeremy Lin. Why the obsession with his fans? You seem to know them well. Why would you constantly monitor the activities of the fan base of a player you think is mediocre? You hate them so much, yet you spend so much time reading them. It's mind boggling.

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    3. First, Ido Amir and PFV are NOT Asians, and they are huge JLin advocates! Also, why didn't you cite all the racist remarks against Asians incited by the haters on the site? While there are certainly some rotten apples (like in any other barrels), Lin fans' sentiments regarding JLin's mistreatments in the NBA are clearly not without substance. The author of this article has compelling laid down FACTS for his reasons that JLin is a real deal with potential to become even better, but yet you still have less than complimentary remarks about JLin. Is it, then, hard to understand why some Lin fans are up in arms?

      Full disclosure: I'm Asian and a proud Lin fan.

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  9. Lin can only succeed if he has the right coach (DA in NY linsanity days) and he has
    the ball in his hands most of the time. he must also shoot at least 15 times per game

    and play 32 to 35 minutes per game. His confidence is shot right
    now due to the worst coach on the planet, the ex gang member, Scott,
    and kobe saying he has no shot. Lin proved in Houston linsanity was real.
    He averaged 30 minutes per game and 20 points per game when he played 35
    minutes or more. The only way linsanity will come back again is if Lin goes
    to a team that will fulfill the above criteria. Right now the best team
    for lin is really Miami heat because the heat do not have an nba caliber
    point guard and Wade is often injured and is a shooting guard/sometimes
    point guard now but he is getting old fast and his knees will dramatically
    reduce his minutes in the next few years. So I would say Lin needs to go
    to Miami or a very very bad team like the SAC kings (SF where he was born)
    to have a chance of bringing back linsanity but his confidence needs to
    dramatically improve since Scott and kobe have destroyed it.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Any NBA player can only be successful if he's used properly. The recent example is DeMarre Carroll.

      We all know that Jeremy can score easily through driving to the basket when court spacing is done properly. With Byron Scott running the impotent version of Princeton offense and discouraging philosophy about 3 pointers, court spacing is almost non-existent. Further with Kobe running ISO most of the time, the painted area is so crowded that you should send in big men rather than guards to do the job. Yet, Jeremy has flourished in situation like this and becomes the leading shot blocking PG in the league per 48 minutes.

      http://espn.go.com/nba/statistics/player/_/stat/blocks/sort/avg48Blocks/seasontype/2/position/point-guards

      Jeremy Lin always finds ways to produce despite the inconsistent treatments that he has received. That is a fact.

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  10. This is a rare objective article that provides the in-depth analysis on Jeremy Lin's career. Most media just blindly followed the superficial events happened and jumped to conclude that Lin "failed" without even bothering to scratch the surface to dig in on the why. They made this article a jewel standing out from the dust. Such a nice read!

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    1. Couldn't agree more. This article is factual and unbiased.

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  11. thanks for the informative article! Welcome factual relief to the emotionally charged rants for/against Lin.

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  12. I like Lin not because he is a basketball super star. We all know he is not. I like Lin because he is such a decent person. Hope I have a son like him. I am not talking about basketball, but as a person.

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    1. It's the very reason that I'm a Lin fan! JLin is beyond decent, imo: he's humble, considerate, inclusive, diplomatic, a willing team player, speaks well even of this adversaries. Of course, these admirable virtues are irrelevant in the context of the NBA, if JLin were a shoddy player. But -- NO! -- JLin is a brilliantly SOLID player as evidenced by the FACTS cited the author. If, knowing all this, one still hates on JLin, then the person is a H-A-T-E-R!! All you haters out there, deal with the fact that YOU hate -- it's ugly, shameful, and cancerous.

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  13. Lin is a very good pointguard, not flashy but methodical. I think the Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heats and New Orlean Pelicans are teams that best suited Lin's style.

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    1. Denver Nuggets too with their uptempo offense.

      The greatest asset of Jeremy is his speed and his explosiveness on the court which is always underrated and neglected by many good NBA players until they were blown by or when their shots were blocked.

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  14. Well-written article. Thanks for sharing your analysis, especially on the fact that development is very important for any player in this league.

    Do you think it is possible for him to Spurs? The coach and the system and the aging Tony?

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  15. A remarkably well-written article. Clear and concise chronology of Lin's "misunderstood" experience as an NBA player.

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  16. What a pleasure to read such a well written, thoughtful, factual and insightful article about my favourite player in the NBA.

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  17. This has to be metalogic

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  18. What's most curious is how much some people have become invested in him failing. It's obvious why some people, especially Asian fans, want Lin to succeed. What's less obvious is why some people are so ecstatic to see him fail since Lin himself is a very likable guy. Most of his detractors point to his fans (aka "LOFs") as the reason that they're so happy to see him struggle, but since when does a player's fans start to overshadow the player himself?

    It's become clear to me that the Lin issue has really become a proxy battle between two camps: Lin's fans who appreciate him as a cultural pioneer, and the detractors who believe that Lin has somehow unfairly benefitted from being Asian and thus resent him.

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  19. Good read...Tom Gardner knows more than most of the sport analysts/writers

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  20. This is a fair and unbiased article about Lin, his skill and potential. Linsanity happened so fast and unexpectedly that it caught many people's imagination and excitement. It becomes a global phenomenon. What I truly don't understand is, NBA is a business trying to win fans all over the world. Lin is a cultural icon not just representing Chinese but many cultures or countries which love basketball and yet they are like the minorities who don't have an NBA player of their own. The huge Asian fan base is probably behind Lin in his meteoric rise in the NBA.

    So NBA or teams who have had Lin on their rosters don't see the potential of letting Lin shine, that they just stand by and watch coaches who are obviously unfriendly to Lin to practically demolish or destroy his chances to shine again?

    Will a total unproven rookie Jordon Clarkson who is more like a shooting guard or a journeyman Ronnie Price have a chance to turn around the Lakers? If not, why not let Lin shine? Will the Lakers get a top pick and be a contender? Probably not within 5 years. So why invest so much in something with unpredictable result and not let Lin shine for some stretch of games by letting him start and give him the players around him for p&r and 3 pt shooting? If Lin can do 20/7 in those games playing about 36 minutes per game, then you know he still has the Linsanity skill set in him. Why shut down such a unique player who has such a wide appeal in Asia for some unknown and unproven talent when they already have a talent in Lin?

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    1. If you watched the lakers or payed attention at all you would know they're not trying to turn things around this season since they only keep their first round pick if it's 1-5. Lin isnt in the Lakers plans for the future while Jordan Clarkson is. Might as well give one of our future players a chance to grow and become better by getting a solid amount of minutes. There's no way of knowing that Lin would turn their season around ( I am not a Lin hater but I highly doubt he would make that much of a difference in their over all record/turn things around for the lakers) I just noticed you said that giving Lin minutes to shine is more important than the Lakers getting to keep their draft pick and improving future talent, that's just absurd. It's about what is best for the organization, not what's best for Lin.

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    2. But Byron Scott just used Lin as the scapegoat for the losses. If you want to point out the reason for a dismal Laker record this season, Kobe Bryant should be more responsible than any other players.
      Kobe shot at a pathetic 37% and putting up over 20 shots per game. He slowed down the offense and played horrible defense. Kobe shot the Lakers at their feet.
      Jeremy however leads all Lakers in RPM this season.

      The DRPM of Kobe is -3.06 for this season.
      The DRPM of Jeremy is 0.27.
      The ORPM of Kobe is 0.92 playing 34.5 minutes per game on the average. Jeremy is 1.38 playing only 25.8 minutes.
      RPM of Jeremy Lin is 1.65 which placed him 19th among all PGs.
      RPM of Kobe is -2.14 which placed him 55th among all SGs.
      Everyone above Jeremy in RPM played more minutes than Jeremy and everyone below Kobe in RPM played less minutes than Kobe.

      If all this shackling of Jeremy Lin is best for the organization is for the team. I see nothing wrong of it but using Jeremy as the scapegoat by Byron Scott is absolutely uncalled for. We all witness how Byron Scott use Jeremy as the scapegoat for this lossing season.

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    3. By the way Kobe Bryant is ranked 303rd among 474 NBA players in RPM.
      Jeremy is ranked 89th.
      Stephen Curry 1st.
      LeBron James 2nd
      Anthony Davis 3rd
      James Harden 4th
      Kawhi Leonard 5th
      Russel Westbrook 6th
      Chris Paul 7th
      Draymond Green 8th
      Demarcus Cousin 9th
      It seems that pass the eyetest too.

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  21. Let me just say that the Lakers have a lot to lose in the Chinese market if they are seen as unfriendly to Lin by not giving him a fair chance to shine, even after Kobe is out of the season. Lakers & Kobe are fan favourites in China. But both Kobe and the coach/management are perceived now by a lot of Chinese fans to be the culprit to rob Lin of the chance to shine. Kobe is not anti-Lin like Melo. He wants Lin to succeed. But unfortunately his iso instinct and Scott's plan for him to shoot so many shots in a game take away Lin's game. Lin became just a 'servant' type of pg to bring the ball up and then dish it to Kobe (or Young) and the ball would never come back. Lin has no chance to score nor to register an assist under those types of play. And Byron Scott with the blessing of the management has done everything possible to destroy Lin's game and confidence. He would start anyone not named Lin to play pg, even when Kobe is injured or out of the season. These two combinations by Lakers will cost the Lakers its popularity with Asian fans especially the Chinese fan base. What a stupid business move!

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  22. Have any of you watched this guy play for LA? His defense is terrible, his passing is terrible, he is a turnover machine, and he isn't that great in the locker room either. If he gets the ball in his hands a lot of his stats are a lot better. Well, duh. Trouble is you don't really want to give him the ball instead of Harden, Anthony, or even Old Man Kobe. He could thrive in a role off the bench if he was a better playmaker but he hasn't shown he is all that willing or capable. He had had plenty of opportunities.

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    1. Have you watched him play? I've watched and he is ordered to pass the ball to Young or Boozer after the passing center court. They iso and chuck up the ball. Lin is not a superstar; but, what can anyone do with that situation.

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    2. Stat J.Lin 23 march Lin's season-high 29 points help Lakers beat 76ers

      J. Lin 28:49 10-16 2-2 7-8 +10 0 5 5 5 4 1 2 0 1 29

      Rly...

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  23. eye-opener. kid just have too many haters in the media that the truth kinda gets swept under the rug

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  24. very good article... I remember saying to a hoop friend of mine during the linsanity days that this was too good to be true, it was like Valkerie with Tom Cruise where the "good guys" are winning for a while but the "bad guys" rise up and leave us with a good story. Lin is a better than average player and if he was a black player putting up 10-5 from Texas, Cincinatti etc he would sail along without a problem in the world. In some sense he is the Asian Jackie Robinson(Ming was a physical giant so am discounting a little) who must pave the way. Good luck and his blog is must reading especially to young players I have known that will eventually if they get good enough be subject to the same level of analysis

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  25. Main reason people are against Lin is because of his stupid and idiotic rabid fans who cite racism, lies and more lies for his failures. You have fans of his saying that Kobe is marginalizing Lin or Lin is a better player than Kobe similar to how they thought Harden was jealous of Lin and Lin was a better player than Harden.

    News flash: Harden and especially Kobe and Melo have already achieved more in their career than Lin will ever will. They are 10 times better than Lin.

    No franchise will want Lin as its focal point unless they're tanking and want to put his dumb idiotic fans on the seats.

    Lin is a good person, a wimp, subservient, obsequios, servile and will follow orders. But his fans make it miserable for him. Don't think for a moment that reporters and coaches don't see the ugly things his fans tweet and cite directly at them. All they cry is racism like KHuang not only on jeremylin.net but Lakers Ground too

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    1. What a failures are you referring to..he was a Harvard grad undrafted free agent who has averaged double figures and made the playoffs his first 3 years. He is not as good as the players mentioned(although it would be hard to sell Carmelo's success to knick fans) but far better than the servile fanboys thought and he will continue to be a 12 p 5 asst NBA player..i.e one of the top 300 players on the planet Earth

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    2. I agree with the dumbass cries of racism along with blaming everyone else on the team. Everytime I see those posts, I feel embarrassed for asians, and I'm one myself.

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    3. This season with possibly the worst thing that has happened to Jeremy, a new system, a new coach with his antique thoughts about championship basketball that none of the finals of playoff teams have, an egomaniac ballhogger performing at pathetic low level, and a new role etc. Jeremy is still ranked 89th among 474 NBA players in RPM.
      As reference:
      Jeff Teague 81st
      Monta Ellis 82nd
      TY Lawson 87th
      Jeremy Lin 89th
      JJ Reddick is ranked 91st
      Isaiah Thomas is ranked 93rd.
      Andre Iguodala 96th
      Dwight Howard is ranked 99th
      Reggie Jackson 104th
      Brandon Jennings 102nd
      JR Smith 107th
      Giannis Antetokounmpo 114th

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    4. Fuck you. I can't stand overzealous Lin fans but the fact that you try to emasculate him with your adjectives, I take exception to that. He's a great guy.

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  26. hmm When I saw him play against Santa Clara his senior year at Harvard, I saw 3 flaws in him and it still translate to the same 3 flaws he has now. Slow lateral movement for defense(NBA PGs are too quick for him to stop), leaves his feet to make passes(gets caught in the air and has to shoot or pass before he lands), and consistent outside shot. Because of his defensive liabilities, teaming up with Harden was a double jeopardy so Beverly was the natural accompaniment since Hardens offense is unstoppable even if the opponents teams defensive strat is just to stop him. Lin can be shut down as his offense is not as superior. His turnovers are really high because he gets caught in the air a lot especially when he drives and has no where to go thus the desperate pass that ends up being stolen. Its not a campaign against Lin that is preventing him from being Linsanity, its Lin.

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    1. Have you watched Lin's game lately, or even bother to check his stat line? Of course, you are not getting what Tom Garden is saying in this article.

      Take the assertion that Lin does not have 'consistent outside shot'. Lin's 3 pt % since 2010-11 is 20%, 32%, 33/9%. 35.8%, and this year 36.9%. That 36.9% would be good enough to land him the top 10 of all point guards. Lin's has re-tooled his 3-point shot after the first year in NBA. That was documented in an article in San Jose Mercury News several years ago. He is a legit 3-point threat, especially from the baseline.

      On the 'leave his feet to make passes'. I'll challenge you to estimate the number of TOs resulted from that this season. For this season and the last, Lin has learned to take what the defense gives. In stead of driving to traffic, he could just easily make a mid-range jumper.

      As for defense, this article already said it all (Lin and Price have comparable defense stat). While Lin is not superior in defense, but his defense is much better than his critics said. Lin matches up well with some elite PG, and have trouble with some. Lin's biggest issue is with PnR with tight screen. However, that is hardly unique. Even top-flight defensive PG like Chris Paul or even Patrick Beverley often don;t fare much better either. In addition, many PG are not elite defenders themselves.

      On Harden offense is unstoppable? He is a fantastic offense player, but you must have not watched his game against GSW Klay Thompson. And last season playoff, when referees were less generous in awarding foul shots to him?

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  27. Great article with a keen understanding on the numbers behind it and what those numbers mean.

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  28. Lin has been unfairly handcuffed for most of his career, but people are starting to notice the injustice. The media amplifies his faults and he's more often on the wrong side of a bad call. A guy penetrating as much as he does should be getting more free throws. How can anyone not want him to succeed, especially when the world needs more people like him? Two highly likely reasons: he's Asian and an outspoken Christian. People have the right to their own opinions but it's obvious when someone is biased against Jeremy Lin. Bottom line, he's proven he belongs in the NBA. As of today he's averaging 11.1 pts 4.7 asts and 2.5 rebs in 25.8 minutes. Sure there are better players, but there are way more worse than him. Haters keep looking stupid.

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  29. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  30. Excellent article and analysis. But beyond stats..I think Lin also does a lot for an organization. He's a great team player, improves chemistry, plays exciting basketball (if allowed), brings in fans and marketing deals, is a pro (doesn't bad-mouth people even in bad situation), takes criticism well, well spoken, etc.

    He can get to the rid a lot and then pass it off to the open man..a lot of his passes lead to fouls, which don't get counted..same with even his misses..those get rebounded easily and put back in since he can draw many defenders. He seems draws fouls on people more than other guards? I'm not sure you can quantify his team defense in stats, but it seems solid..with him taking some charges possibly more than other pgs also..these are just my general observations.

    I feel Clarkson was given the green light and freedom while Lin was not as much, maybe besides after the all star break. Sure he was inconsistent and not his usual self, and that didn't help his case.

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    1. Are you a human or a spam bot because your sentence structure is as alien as E.T.?

      Delete
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