Posted December 10, 2013

The Fundamentals: Lin facing new challenges during his second act

Houston Rockets, Jeremy Lin, New York Knicks, Rob Mahoney, The Fundamentals
Jeremy Lin

Now in Houston, Jeremy Lin has struggled to re-create the magic of 2011-12. (Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

By Rob Mahoney

When Jeremy Lin was at the height of his fame back in February, he was billed first and foremost as a great story, his meteoric rise creating a cyclone of narrative power. As an undrafted, twice-waived Taiwanese-American putting up All-Star numbers for one of the most visible basketball teams on the planet, Lin’s career launch was prime for packaging and widespread consumption.

But in condensing Lin’s 2011-12 tale into a self-contained drama sold through headlines or products, many ignored the fact that the Knicks were merely his first act. He was quickly established as an unlikely protagonist and showed early and massive success in his nationally televised call to action. It made for good basketball and better television, but his first real NBA tour was far too saccharine (and later much too unfortunate) to be a real, complete narrative. No career is without struggles. The madness of “Linsanity” eventually faded, and this offseason, Lin made a high-profile move from New York to Houston, where he is being challenged like never before.

A capable prospect of a point guard, Lin now stands disconnected from his fairy-tale roots, as all principal characters are when the tone begins to shift in Act 2.

Lin hasn’t been horrible this season (10.3 points, 7.0 assists, 2.2 steals and a 13.8 Player Efficiency Rating in 34.3 minutes a game), but he also hasn’t yet mustered the kind of production or efficiency that made his rise in New York so staggering. Opposing defenses — through concentrated scouting and a more standard NBA schedule — have made him look entirely mortal.

That attention has revealed certain limitations in Lin’s game. His ability to function as a team’s primary playmaker was overstated by his 2011-12 performance — misrepresented not by a small sample size, but by defenders who at first underestimated and then overcompensated for his potential impact. Lin was more than capable of exploiting the lack of public familiarity with his game and equally good at attacking defenses that paid a bit too much attention to his drives and lost track of Tyson Chandler, Steve Novak and Landry Fields in the process. Yet with all of that balanced out in Houston, Lin is left to work against informed defenses that understand how to best challenge him.

Lin’s great secret is that he was able to average 19.6 points and 8.3 assists per 36 minutes a season ago without much aptitude for reading help defense. Even in his brightest moments, he still played like a summer league standout, with straight-line drives and good finishes at the rim building the foundation of his game. Lin lacked the kind of spatial creativity or elite athleticism demonstrated by the league’s best point guards. This isn’t to say that Lin’s success was some kind of mirage, but merely that it offered a less stable base for immediate growth than initially thought. He handles the ball well, can get by his defender consistently and makes an effort to attack the basket. But Lin doesn’t yet have a firm grip of how his opponents might counter his initial move, leaving him blind to an opposing big man castling across the lane or the instant checkmate often brought on by his jump passing.

And about that jump passing: Lin has the annoying habit of leaving his feet without the slightest idea of where he’s going, which is a drag on both his turnover rate and shooting percentage. Typically, this kind of move is the crutch of the athletically dominant, but Lin appears to have repurposed it to his own detriment, likely for the exact opposite reason. Nothing that Lin does is particularly explosive, and as a result, the 24-year-old point guard works toward the rim by way of some unconventional timing. He tends to lift off for layup attempts far earlier than he probably should — a move that allows him to get the best of some defenders, but also leaves him incredibly vulnerable to disciplined opponents. Essentially, Lin creates a very slim advantage by giving up his dribble and forcing himself to make a judgment call within a single-second window. In that second, Lin isn’t going through progressions; he’s forcing himself to fully analyze a situation that he seemingly failed to properly measure up beforehand.

The idea behind that move isn’t entirely wrong, but it almost completely erases Lin’s margin for error and eliminates the possibility of forcing opponents to defend anything more than basic drive-and-kick sequences. Those kinds of plays can create a quick reward for skilled players, but they forsake the offense’s position of power. The best thing that an offense can do is dictate the game in a way that forces opponents to make decision after decision after decision. The most stingy team defenses, after all, need to be torn from within by continuous stretching in uncomfortable ways. Lin hasn’t yet shown the capacity to execute that kind of persistent operation.

That limitation is only accented by the fact that Lin struggles to create any positive impact when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands — a scenario made all the more frequent by Houston’s acquisition of James Harden. An erratic shooting stroke makes Lin (who is hitting 25.8 percent from three-point range and 34.3 percent overall) an unreliable weak-side option, and yet when Harden initiates from the perimeter, the Rockets have few other options in terms of placement. And so Lin stands ready on the opposite wing, poised to hoist up a shot that the defense wants him to take or ready to counter-drive with the hope that the D doesn’t rotate in time. Despite his shooting limitations, there’s little actual cutting to speak of in Lin’s game and no contribution to the offense’s spacing through off-ball movement. Lin simply waits to be called on, as if the leather on his fingertips transforms him from witness into ballplayer.

Some of that falls on Lin, but Kevin McHale, Kelvin Sampson and the rest of the Rockets’ coaching staff aren’t excused from the blame for this kind of off-ball inactivity. Defenses are far too sophisticated for a non-shooter to take the floor without any cutting directives, and based on the way that Lin has played without the ball, it seems fair to assume that he hasn’t exactly been put in a position to succeed. Houston isn’t a bad offensive team, but merely an unimaginative (and possibly under-structured) one in need of more strategic synergy between its two primary ball-handlers.

That said, only so much can be done to account for the fact that Lin has been relatively useless away from the ball, but isn’t yet good enough to demand control of it. That makes Harden both the better high-usage ball-handler and the better weak-side option – a tilt of the backcourt that creates a tactical quandary every trip down the floor. A resolution to that particular issue is certainly within Lin’s grasp, provided that his development propels him forward in a matter befitting the lead in any successful second act. Lin’s narrative, however unique it may seem, is bound by a very traditional structure. After all, what great story is without its mid-course hardship?

GO FIGURE

A look at some of the relevant quantitative trends and tidbits emerging around the league.

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett and the Celtics rank 22nd in points allowed per possession. (Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

• As the season teeters on the edge of the “wait-and-see” precipice, it’s growing more and more appropriate to question the long-term integrity of the Celtics’ defense. Boston has never ranked lower than fifth in points allowed per possession since importing Kevin Garnett in 2007, and yet the C’s stand 22nd after surrendering 103 points to the Pistons in a 20-point loss Sunday. There’s still a lifetime to go before the playoffs, but for now the degradation of the league’s most consistent defense has cast some doubt on the Eastern Conference hierarchy. With both the Celtics and Pacers underwhelming, might the Knicks actually wind up as the second-best team in the East?

• The ability to pile up free-throw attempts is beneficial not only to a player’s individual production but also a team’s greater hope of scoring efficiency. As such, those who are able to draw fouls and create uncontested points from the free-throw line with any consistency are highly valuable — and typically among the most effective offensive players in the league. But if we look at which players are averaging the most free-throw attempts per minute this season, a few surprising names pop up. Harden, Lou Williams, Paul Pierce and Dwight Howard round out the usual suspects, but scattered throughout the top 10 are the Pacers’ Tyler Hansbrough (second), the Lakers’ Jordan Hill (fifth), the Hornets’ Jason Smith (sixth) and the Bobcats’ Ramon Sessions (seventh). It’s still hard to read too much into those standings, but the work done by those role players has been fairly impressive — particularly considering the limited touches of Hill, Smith and Hansbrough.

THOUGHTS FROM AROUND THE ASSOCIATION

1. From the mind of Scott Brooks

Sunday’s game between the Thunder and Warriors featured a defensive cross-match born of neither convention nor basketball logic — the kind of tweak that would go entirely unconsidered by most coaches and likely laughed off by the rest. For a few minutes, the Thunder’s Brooks switched Russell Westbrook off of Stephen Curry — and replaced him with Kendrick Perkins. Not only that: Brooks had Perkins pressuring Curry full-court in what was likely the most curious implementation of the one-man press that the NBA has ever seen. The Warriors scored on three of their four ensuing (non-transition) possessions, all tied in some way to the down-the-line switching that resulted from Brooks’ little gambit. Baffling though it was to see Perkins waddle-press Curry in the backcourt, I wish more regular-season games were marked by such experimentation.

2. Jerry Stackhouse, NBA regular

Brooklyn has an incredibly unreliable bench, but even that isn’t reason enough for the 38-year-old Stackhouse — who last played at a league-average level in 2007 — to get regular minutes. But Stackhouse has played 15 minutes a night for the Nets over the last five games and made the occasional shot while playing predictably lacking defense. There comes a point where age gets the better of every talented player, and I wish that moment hadn’t already come for Stackhouse. But it has, and throwing him into the fire against players far quicker than him won’t rejuvenate tired legs or undo the gradual decline of his game.

3.  James Harden’s indifference to the shot clock

Harden has always had a bit of a callousness to his game when it comes to the shot clock, but now that he has the green light of all green lights in Houston, his tendency to launch jumpers with 20 seconds or so left in a given possession has become all the more prevalent. This isn’t a value judgment, really; Harden uses those early chances to create both good opportunities and bad ones. But it’s interesting that the shot clock seems to have no real bearing on his determination of shot quality, to the point where Harden doesn’t hesitate in the slightest when taking pull-up three after pull-up three immediately after bringing the ball up the court.

Plus: This could be one of those odd intangible areas that ultimately irritates Harden’s teammates. The circumstances are quite different now than they would be if the Rockets were a playoff contender, but I wonder how Harden’s willingness to launch shots might eventually affect Houston’s chemistry. All’s well and good when those shots are producing lofty scoring totals, but can a lack of a conscience really be so endearing among teammates who made an effort to get down the court and position themselves for a full offensive possession?

4. The same Rajon Rondo

Sidestepping his bizarre assist-hunting efforts on Sunday for a moment: Rondo, despite the preseason media clamor for a more focused scoring mentality, still drives around screens without even the slightest interest in actually putting up shots. He ambles around the pick in a way that telegraphs his every intention and allows back-line defenders to get by with providing token pressure on his drive. It’s to Rondo’s credit that he’s able to keep the Celtics’ offense efficient without providing much of a threat to score, but it’s nevertheless a shame that his playmaking potential be so needlessly restrained by a lack of dribble-drive assertiveness. Perhaps Rondo should be given the benefit of the doubt because of possible lingering pain in his ankle, but even the pre-injury performances left me wholly unconvinced that he had undergone any sort of cognitive shift.

Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard is averaging 19.0 points and 6.1 assists in his first year with the Blazers. (Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

5. Damian Lillard’s grace under pressure

The Trail Blazers’ rookie point guard doesn’t simply have great instincts and impressive finishing ability — he has the kind of personality and character traits that would make him ripe for placement in an Ernest Hemingway novel. Lillard has resolve without detachment and an earnestness about his game that positions him well for late-game heroics. He’s but a handful of games into his career, but already Lillard is unflappable. He’s limited in other ways and hardly complete as a player. But to paraphrase Hemingway, Lillard plays correctly, following the ideals of honor, courage and endurance in a game that is sometimes chaotic, often stressful and always painful.

6. Raymond Felton: an exercise in volume

In New York’s last four games, Felton is averaging a whopping 18.5 field-goal attempts — more than any other Knick. The weird part: It hasn’t exactly been a bad thing. There are only five players who shoot so frequently on a per-game basis, and with Carmelo Anthony among them, and Amar’e Stoudemire set to return, we shouldn’t expect Felton to keep on that pace. But the bulk of Felton’s shooting volume this season has come at the rim (thanks to some well-executed driving) and from behind the three-point arc (by way of the Knicks’ improved ball movement). That’s a dreamy shot distribution for a player capable of scoring efficiently from both ranges, especially considering how amenable Felton has historically been to taking long two-point jumpers.

7. Joakim Noah finding comfort on the perimeter

Noah’s hitch-addled jumper was at one point a significant burden to his offensive game. It’s bad enough when bigs can’t space the floor from mid-range by way of spot-up jumpers, but Noah’s odd form let every opponent on the court know that he wasn’t a threat from that range.

That’s changed, as the Bulls’ center is converting enough of his open looks from the free-throw-line extended to actually make him an immediate threat upon catching the ball. That only adds to the impact of Noah’s tremendously helpful dribble-drives, as many opponents are now forced to hesitate: Should they yield an open shot that Noah now consistently makes, or close the gap and potentially allow him to wheel toward the rim?

As a side note: Big men who can even catch the ball on the perimeter without being completely out of sorts are underappreciated. The Noahs and Tyson Chandlers of the world who can catch a pass and reset the action without wasting precious seconds and opportunities deserve a moment’s consideration, if only because there are so many bigs who get the ball on the perimeter only to become cripplingly timid.

8. Avery Johnson does a good thing badly

Data have long supported the notion of a team’s intentionally fouling its opponent when leading by three in an end-game scenario, but Nets coach Johnson took that concept to a fairly ridiculous extreme in a nail-biter against the Celtics last Thursday. With 19 seconds remaining and Brooklyn ahead 99-95, Johnson had his team intentionally foul Paul Pierce, who has made more than 85 percent of his free throws in each of the last three seasons. Needless to say, fouling when up four is significantly different from fouling when up three; rather than prevent a potential game-tying shot, Johnson’s decision only served to extend the game and provide his opponent with more possessions through which to make up ground. Weirder yet: Johnson made the same decision again, this time having his team foul Jason Terry, a career 85 percent free-throw shooter. The Nets wound up winning the game despite Johnson’s best strategic efforts, offering further repudiation of the “do what works” philosophy.

28 comments
JZ1
JZ1

 Let's look at the following PGs. They are all comparable to Jeremy, actually Jeremy leads the group in assists, rebounds, blks, and steals. How much is JL paid this year? $5M! All guys make similar amount of money as JL does, and some of them even with much bigger contracts. However, people always write something about JL with deep analysis not meeting the expectation and having challenges now. Why not someone else in the list? By the way, I found that JL is the only one on the list who is not black. Don't know if it is by accident!

 

 Ty Lawson DEN 11  37.3  4.8  12.9  37.3   0.5  2.1  26.1   1.6  3.0  54.5   0.9  1.5  2.5   7.2  3.3  2.1  0.1  1.8  11.8     Mike Conley MEM 10  33.5  5.2  10.8  48.1   1.5  3.8  39.5   2.5  3.0  83.3   0.5  2.6  3.1   6.6  3.0  2.0  0.1  2.0  14.4     Jeremy Lin HOU 11  34.1  3.6  10.6  34.2   0.7  3.0  24.2   2.5  2.9  87.5   0.9  3.5  4.5   6.6  2.6  2.0  0.5  2.4  10.5     Darren Collison DAL 12  33.5  4.8  10.7  44.5   0.4  1.2  35.7   3.4  3.9  87.2   0.3  2.0  2.3   6.4  2.3  1.3  0.0  1.8 13.3     Jeff Teague ATL 9  27.5  5.4  10.6  51.6   0.8  1.8  43.8   1.6  1.7  93.3   0.6  2.1  2.7   6.3  3.1  1.6  0.6  1.2  13.2     Damian Lillard POR 10  37.5  6.8  15.2  44.7   2.4  6.2  38.7   3.0  3.6  83.3   0.7  2.5  3.2   6.1  3.3  1.5  0.1  1.9  19.0     Stephen Curry GS 11  36.1  6.5  15.8  40.8   2.2  6.4  34.3   3.6  4.1  88.9   0.7  3.6  4.4   5.8  3.4  1.7  0.1  3.0  18.7     A.J. Price WAS 9  30.5  3.4  10.2  33.7   1.9  5.8  32.7   0.9  1.0  88.9   0.6  2.7  3.2   5.7  1.8  0.9  0.0  1.7  9.7     Kyrie Irving CLE 10  35.2  8.2  17.7  46.3   1.8  4.6  39.1   4.7  5.7  82.5   0.5  3.2  3.7   5.6  4.1  1.1  0.3  2.9  22.9     Kemba Walker CHA 9  36.6  6.9  15.9  43.4   0.4  2.3  19.0   4.6  5.2  87.2   0.9  2.9  3.8   5.3  2.2  2.6  0.3  2.6  18.8     Jamaal Tinsley UTA 11  17.4  0.5  2.5  18.5   0.1  1.1  8.3   0.1  0.2  50.0   0.1  1.5  1.6   5.3  1.7  0.5  0.1  1.4  1.1     Mario Chalmers MIA 11  26.2  2.5  6.2  41.2   0.8  2.5  33.3   0.8  1.3  64.3   0.1  2.5  2.5   4.8  1.5  1.7  0.2  3.0  6.7  

LucyYang
LucyYang

If anyone looks at Steve Nash's stats as a 3rd year, actually Lin's number are better. So yes his narrative is just starting, he's still a work in progress as he says, he can't be Linsanity every night, that's not the point of him being in the NBA, we have folks like Lebron, Kobe, Durant to do that every night. His story is unique in its own, only time will tell how his NBA career will end up being like, I'm sure every year new things will be revealed about his game, but also about his development as a person. Regardless of how he's playing on the court, which at least from what I can tell, he's playing hard, going after every play. He apologizes to his coach after missing an important shot, practices after a game to work on his shot. Rockets might be far away from where they will eventually be, but the potential is high, lets not forget they are the youngest team in the NBA, give them some time to gel and learn through their mistakes. After all, didn't it even take veterans like Lebron, Wade and Bosh a year or two to figure out how to run that Miami offense to perfection. A season is not won or lost in one or even a few games. I have faith that Lin will figure out the best way to help his team win, he's ok not scoring a lot of points, as long as they are winning. He doesn't care about his stat line, he said himself it will be what it will be every night, and he's ok with it.

AndyB
AndyB

Does Rob Mahoney understand basketball at all? Apparently not if he is bashing Rondo who I don't even like as a Knick fan. It is the PG's duty to setup high percetage shots for his teammates. His job is not to score unless there are poorer options. No player runs an offense like Rondo. Rondo looking to score is not Rondo at his best. He can score 40 if he wants to as he proved in the playoffs. But that is not in the best interest of the Celtics offense.

 

He is the best PG in the game because he is the best passer in the game. 

 

BTW, he has also greatly increased his 10-15 foot FG percentage. Does Rob even know that?

List
List

I'm not sure what the writer is talking about here. Lin isn't a cutter on the par of someone like Tony Parker, Ray Allen, or even DeMar DeRozan, and he could certainly improve his general off-the-ball movement. But I don't buy that deficiency as the big issue with Lin.

The writer/prognisticator succeeds in overlooking one very important thing: Jeremy Lin is probably only at about 75% at this point. He refuses to talk about it, but there have been enough leaks to indicate that he has still not recovered from the chronic meniscus tear that he suffered last year. It's affecting his ability to cut, plant, and space - frankly, it's impressive that he's doing as well as he is at this point. The Rockets are hoping that he'll be able to play it out and regain confidence as he works through the mental/physical challenges.

GaryGuillermo
GaryGuillermo

New York has started out great . . . even without the big "star" who they overpaid and gave too long a contract.  I thought he would at least have a few "good" years.

melaminechinaman
melaminechinaman

Its tough to see LINcompetent faiLIN.    This is really bad news for LINcompetent and the Houston Rockets.      As the season progresses, more teams will scout and analyze his game and its gonna be tougher for LINcompetent to score points.     Yep, the NYK really made a good decision to let faiLIN go because he is not worth $25 M for 3 years.    Raymond Felton ($14.8 M for 4 years) is actually better than LINcompetent.      Yao was great but Jeremy is just LINcompetent.

BenLlanes
BenLlanes

I'd take Lin vs. steve blake or smush parker or morris anytime of day...

P0is0nedKoolA1
P0is0nedKoolA1

The WORSE thing to happen to Lin was James Harden joining the team. Lin worked best last year with the ball in his hands, creating naturally off the pick & roll or any situations that came up. He had the confidence to take the big shot and to take it to the hole to draw a foul. With Harden, if the writer is actually watching any HOU  games, Harden is constantly holding the ball & just chucking shots. Harden is basically trying to prove to the world that OKC should regret trading him. I watched a game recently where the Rockets played the Nuggets & Lin stole the ball on back to back plays including getting an "and one" to get the Rockets back in the game. However, for the rest of the game Harden just held the ball and dribbled it around till either he took a shot or  made a bail-out pass to someone. Lin is NOT a "catch & shoot" player ala Ray Allen. AGAIN, if the writer is watching games , this is what is killing Lin's game this season. He gets his shot off the dribble and the only way to get the ball from Harden is if he's double (sometimes tripled) team and has NO CHOICE but to kick it out. I feel bad for Lin cause I watched him blossom with the Knicks last year and it's clear that the kid is a leader with a high skill-set that just needs a coach with a good gameplan and the ball in his hands. In Houston, neither will happen 

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

Lin is a smart, hardworking player and he will address his deficiencies throughout the year and his career. The author hit the nail on the head about his poor off ball movement. Reggie Miller, Ray Allen it as a tool to get open shots. Allen Iverson wasn't a good shooter but used movement to exhaust/frustrate his man, cause the D to reorganize, and to get the ball on the move-which happens to be Lin's greatest strength. He's no AI, but the concept of spacing and motion still force the D to adjust where seams form...

 

Defense is his biggest liability. Once he understands how to play effective team D to cover his limited athleticism, he'll have another tool for his offensive game.

SuibianChen
SuibianChen

Stupid article. I went to Clippers vs. Bulls game, watched Kirk Hinrich play like a second grade rec league guard, Nate Robinson and Eric Bledsoe dribble the shotclock down to less than 10 every possession / jack up a bad shot / piss their teammates off, and SI posts a dork blogger's article about how bad Lin is as a point guard? Seriously? He's not Chris Paul or Derrick Rose, but he's better than a lot of other NBA point guards making more money.

JeremiahBoughton
JeremiahBoughton

????  This is what a good point guard is supposed to score.  He is not supposed to be a ball hog or primary scoring threat.  He is supposed to be the disher!!!  Your thinking is what is totally wrong with the NBA!!!!!  

dsoifn
dsoifn

well, i can't fault your description of lin's failings thus far this year, but it seems like a bit of over-analysis on a really small sample size of 10 games.  put simply, lin has had trouble finishing at the rim, isn't jump shooting very well and seems to be taking a long time in learning how to play off the ball efficiently instead of as the primary ball handler (hello, james harden).  his greatest success while with the knicks came when he was allowed to be the primary scoring option.  he took that game winning shot against toronto last year even though he was like 1 of 7 from three-point range the entire game.  if that same situation were to occur this year, he would most certainly pass the ball up to harden in the fourth quarter and he would just end up with bad-looking stats and not have the heroic final shot to cover that all up.  so IMHO, the offensive problems that lin is having are much more psychological rather than technical in nature.  not being the primary ball handler OR the primary scoring option has definitely made him think more and slow down what came so naturally during his spurt last year.  being second banana ain't easy if you're not used to it and he's got to learn to be efficient with a lot less touches.  also keep in mind, even with lin's issues, Houston is the 10th highest scoring team in the league.  Offense is not a problem and lin doesn't need to score 20 points a game for them to win, so when he hasn't had much success shooting early in the game, he tends to stop shooting and focus on contributing in other ways.

 

now talking about lin's DEFENSE, ok, there really hasn't been much development there since last year...

kyleglasscoe
kyleglasscoe

rondo is the best pure pg in the league.. hands down

jonKsEVILtwin
jonKsEVILtwin

 @LucyYang ...but they aren't winning. They've dropped 3 games under .500, so his stats are suffering and his team is as well. I think you're spot on with many of your points, he is young, he does need more time, the raw talent is there, but you're being way too dismissive of his failings. Jeremy's stats are, so far, better than Steve Nash in his 3rd year, but if you take a closer look you'd see that that isn't the entire story. First of all, he plays longer than Steve did at that time and takes more shot attempts, his shooting % is also lower, especially behind the arc, and he's turning the ball over at a higher rate. 

 

I don't think these numbers necessarily mean anything, we're only 11 games into the season, and he could go on a tear and dominate the way he did last year, but he needs to do it before he gets the credit. 

 

Basically, I don't think the comparison to Steve Nash is very fair and Jeremy Lin needs to play better, because as things stand right now, and he doesn't improve significantly, his contract in the 3rd year will cripple the financial health of the Rockets.

 

Oh and finally, nobody attacked Lin's character, so you don't need to defend it. He seems like a good guy and the writer didn't infer anything bad about him, talking about it as if it should bolster any argument against his production is useless in this discussion. 

Krackle
Krackle

 @List I'm sorry but that is a BS excuse. His injury from last year was only going to keep him out for the first round of the playoffs but he is still only 75%. You can't use that excuse every time somebody uses logic to tell why he is not performing as well as he was last year.

Marcel
Marcel

 @melaminechinaman wow melaniechinaman....either you're a racist(with the use of chinaman in your username) or you are a very un-funny person who thinks they are funny.

DirtyPantiesLover1
DirtyPantiesLover1

 @M as in Mancy the NBA has no room for limited athleticism. you easily forget michael jordan at age 38 in a wizards uniform. there is a reason why the best dunkers are black and very few whites can compete with them. i don't think i have seen a single white guy dunk as a highlight on NBA.com. there's a reason why there aren't any chinese or asians in the NFL. the human body is built off DNA. there is very little that can be controlled beyond. some are superior while others are not. that's really it. you will get exceptions to the rule and lin may be one of them and time will tell. it's like usain bolt said, his genes were acquired as a result of slave breeding for the strongest and fastest. 

Krackle
Krackle

 @SuibianChen Is there no room to criticise him. Is he completely infallible in your eyes? The truth is he is currently not playing as well as he was last year and the writer is simply giving his opinion as to why that is.

dreynolds48941
dreynolds48941

 @JeremiahBoughton But it hurts a teams offense if the defense doesn't respect the pgs ability to score.  Rondo could help his team better if he tried to score more often and passed when the defense took away that option.

DarbyGreen
DarbyGreen

 @kyleglasscoe I have trouble puuting a point guard that can't shoot, is terrified of being fouled in the final minutes of games (because he can't make free throws either), is an indifferent defender and rubs his veteren teammates the wrong way as the best point guard in the NBA. I'd put Paul, D Williams, Rose, Nash, Westbrook and Parker ahead of him. He's good, but his deficiencies are numerous.

List
List

 @kyleglasscoe Totally agree, though if Derrick Rose was healthy, he might have some competition...

LucyYang
LucyYang

 @jonKsEVILtwin I'm not trying to defend his character, I'm sure everyone can see from the way he carries himself that his character is fine, his actions speaks for itself. I'm just saying that we don't need to worry so much for him, he knows his shooting is not there yet, but he said it himself, as long as he's taking good shots, he can live with it, eventually they will fall. Even when he was playing for D'Antoni's system, he was told to just keep shooting even if he goes 0 for 10. For shooters its important not to focus so much on that the balls don't go in, you keep shooting as long as you believe they are good shots. I think the shots he's taken are good shots, but the Rockets are letting a lot of shots dwindle down to the last few seconds of shot clock, so often Harden and Lin end up taking a lot of shots with almost no time left, these are low percentage shots because you are rushing them. Because these two are the go to guys, unfortunately they will need to take more shots that are less likely to go in but they have to take them. And please don't talk about his playing as if he's never going to get better, that he'll be stuck in this slump for 3 years, no one is in a slump that long, especially after you become familiar with your team's identity and know where everyone likes the ball and other know where you like the ball. Right now Rockets are definitely going through the growing pains of being the youngest team, and that's fine. What child doesn't learn how to walk after falling many many times, that's how you learn. I think for Lin he just needs to continue to play his game, be aggressive in attacking the defense, don't hesitate when he shoots, and get better at reading defenses so he make better judgements when to drive vs pass. He's definitely not there yet, but he will. What people don't always see is his determination and will to keep getting better, he never considered himself a finished product, and we don't need to see him as one yet either after just 11 games in an 82 game season, and his first year with a new and very very young team. By the way, his 24 million salary for Rockets is spread over 3 years, so 8 million a year, so Rockets are not getting financially crippled just because of his contract, he's making the same as Asik, while Harden making about twice as much as he is, I think there is greater burden on Harden to be productive, which he has, though he also has his share of shooting struggles and turnover struggles sometimes also. Besides his shooting slump, Lin is doing pretty ok in other areas, he's a great rebounder for a point guard, he ranks like 13th in NBA in assists/game, #7 in steals. At least you can count on him to play hard in many ways even if his shots are not falling, that's a good sign of effort still.

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

 @DirtyPantiesLover1

 Uh...thank you Charles Benedict Davenport, founder of eugenics. I'll pass your sentiments to Steve Nash, Zach Randolf, Ginobili, and Larry Bird.

DarbyGreen
DarbyGreen

 @jonKsEVILtwin  @LucyYang Actually you are incorrect about the Lin contract. The Knicks would have had to pay Lin 5 mil for the first 2 years and  a balloon payment of 14 mil in the final year, the Rockets on the other hand, are paying Lin 8 mil a year for 3 years. This is called the Gilbert Arenas rule and was implemented in 2005 which allows a team to take the cap hit as either the ammount actually paid or the average of the contract if it fits under the hard cap.

jonKsEVILtwin
jonKsEVILtwin

 @LucyYang His contract doesn't pay him 8 million a year. It's a back-loaded contract, which is why the Knicks didn't resign him. He get's a reasonable amount his first 2 years and in his 3rd year his salary jumps to something like 14 million, which would have put the Knicks over the salary cap and ended up costing them something like 50 million more dollars a year on the luxury tax alone. In other words, Lin's contract would have been an albatross around the neck of the Knicks organization. But I digress...

 

If Lin can play at the level he did last year with the Knicks, then the $14.5 million he'll make in his 3rd year will be well worth it, if he can't though, then he will be a financial liability to the Rockets in the same way that Hedo Turkoglu is to the Magic. 

 

I see what you're saying about his character and rescind my previous comment, however, I didn't introduce the argument of his statistical performance, that was you. My point is, and I did point out that it was a small sample size, that at his present production, Lin is under-performing the expectation placed on him. 

 

The Rockets are a young team and Lin is probably not 100%, so I'm sure both will get better with time, but how much better? I think you're being overly optimistic and the reality is probably lower than your expectations.