Rockets Lose to Pacers Due to Poor Management of Player Minutes by McHale

I don’t have time to write much, but I was so pissed by McHale’s mismanagement of players minutes tonight to not say anything. You can call me a delusional Lin fan, I don’t care. Lin did play terribly in the first few minutes of the game and deserved to be taken out. And I was also okay with McHale benching Lin in the second quarter, but when Lin came back from half-time and did very well, helping the Rockets come to within 4 points, I thought it was a big mistake by McHale to sit Lin so early (with 4 minutes left to go in the third quarter) in the third and not bring back Lin until under 5 minutes to go in the game. McHale also benched Asik and D-Mo, just mentioning it so people don’t think I’m just fixated on Lin. Greg Smith was playing phenomenally, so I don’t blame him for benching Asik and T-Rob also provided a lot of energy. But Beverly wasn’t playing incredibly. But, again, I was fine with the second quarter benching of Lin, my problem is that when Lin came back and played really well McHale should have gone with Lin for the majority of the second half. You can call me a delusional Lin fan, but I think if McHale hadn’t benched Lin in the second half, Rockets would have won the game. They had a lot of momentum and when Lin was out, the Rockets offense looked so sluggish. It was entirely dependent on Harden and Harden wasn’t hitting anything.

Aside from McHale’s benching of Lin, he played Harden for the entire second half. That’s a huge mistake–especially on a night in which Harden struggled massively. What I would have done is Let Lin play until like the 3 or 2 minute mark of the third quarter and sit Lin then bring Lin back with 10 minutes left to go in the game. Or if I was going to sit Lin early, then I would have brought Lin back to play the entire fourth quarter and give Harden like a 4 minute rest or something in between the third and fourth quarter. I don’t know what McHale was thinking. I kept staring at the sidelines to see if Lin was getting ready to check back in in the fourth quarter and nothing. What McHale doesn’t realize is that managing Lin’s minutes that way hurts Lin’s confidence, as well. I can see Lin totally deflated on the bench and during time outs. Lin did well in the third quarter and deserved to get his minutes back. Beverly barely did anything in the second half. Ideally, I think McHale should have substituted Lin back in in the second quarter with 4 minutes left to go or something, because the bench had played the entire quarter. I think they ran out of gas. McHale doesn’t seem to understand the concept of using the bench to give you a run and letting your starters finish. I can see benching D-Mo, because he’s still not a legitimate starter, but McHale treats Lin just like a D-Mo. This is what I mean by McHale not showing Lin the respect that Lin deserves. I think a player of Lin’s caliber deserves the opportunity to play through mistakes. Lin should be treated like Parsons, at the very least, but McHale treats Lin like a scrub. As you can tell, I’m pissed at McHale at the moment. I really think Rockets would have won the game if McHale didn’t bench Lin in the fourth quarter. The offense was running smoothly when Lin was on the court and then completely disappeared when Lin wasn’t on the court and by the time McHale brought Lin back, Lin’s confidence was completely gone and all the momentum that he built up in the third quarter completely drained out of him. McHale waited ridiculously long to bring Lin back and the thing is Beverly wasn’t doing anything out there. McHale messed up tonight big time and cost the Rockets what would have been a great come from behind win. Rockets were well on their way to a come from behind win. Had Lin played in the fourth quarter, they would have won. So much more to say, but I’ll stop here. So I guess McHale is still a Lin Doubter through and through. He fixates on Lin’s mistakes so much. I don’t know why Lin’s inspired play in the third quarter wasn’t enough for McHale to trust Lin to finish the game. Lin had fresh legs in the second half, because he hardly played in the first half. If McHale wanted Beverly out there so much, then he could have brought Harden out for Lin and then sub Beverly out for Harden. That’s what I would have done. Instead, McHale decided to run Harden to the ground on a night in which Harden shot poorly from the floor. Man, so pissed at McHale right now.

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  • terry

    The best thing for Lin is to find a team that suit for him. He will end up nothing with Rocket if the Ke-ruin McHell run the coaching. Also, when at the fourth quarter, you will find few times that Lin is open but Harden just seem not noticed and ending up loss the ball. A hitting of 6 out of 24 is just a joke. Metta World Peace can beat him like a man to a baby. Hell to Ke-ruin Mchell.

  • cosmot

    McHale is a one dimensional guy and he only knows how run the plays in simple clear stationary way. He doesn’t have a sense in the multi-dynamic way that Jeremy plays. Even when Jeremy is on the court, McHale would not allow him run the play in his way. Jeremy is limited in what he can do most of the time. Jeremy is trying to adapt to McHale system but it’s a system that needs much more individual talent and power, something MaHale is more familiar with. Jeremy needs the ball so as Harden. Neither plays well without the ball. The best scenario in current situation for Lin is to play him as the 6th man, like Manu Ginóbili’s role.

  • CH

    A very disappointed game. As I said before, just don’t know what McFale was thinking. He had no logic in rotation. Don’t think McFale cares Lin’s confidence at all. He disrespected Lin since day 1 of the season. Even he praised Lin once a while, don’t think he was sincere and genuine, but felt he was obligated to praise Lin because Lin did play great. So, that’s why I say he is not sincere. It is hard to see Lin totally deflated on the bench. Sigh… Go Jeremy!!!!!

  • terry

    The team has put so much money for the Starter like Jeremy. He should be allow to play more time to build up the confidence and experience. Even when he plays bad, still can learn something from mistakes. That is the way to Make a General or Tem Leader in a team. The Benches, just like a soldier, the major role is to play when the General needs some rest. If Mhell think Beverley is much better then Jeremy, well go ahead to let Beverley to be the General and Lin be the bench. That is fine for Jeremy as long as the pay is the same. Not bad to have some easy work and good money.

  • MrPingPong

    I was at the game. I am with you, Philosopher. I am so disappointed in McHale as he was riding Harden “like freaking Secretariat”, leaving Lin on the bench.

    As luck might have it, my smart phone ran out of memory while I was video taping the game. I scrambled to insert a new disk into my phone and then the battery ran out. Any way, I will upload whatever I have to Youtube for y’all to view. Sad game!

    • MrPingPong

      OK, here is the first of several installments!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDD2K1Xq5GA

      I was so sure that Lin would just keep going after the first basket, but nooooooh… 🙁

    • MrPingPong

      I do not have the time nor the motivation to edit my videos of this Pacers game. So I just upload them as is, in piecemeal fashion. I hope y’all don’t mind.

      http://youtu.be/_nftzOKqYWM

      and

      http://youtu.be/ibPQOptaS38

      Just to make conversation here… I am giving up on McHale, not that my opinion matters. What matters is how Lin plays through all this. I am sure Lin reviews the game films and works continually to correct his mistakes and improve on his game. There must be some fundamental differences of opinions between what Lin does best and what McHale wants Lin to do in practice. I can only speculate.

      Lin sounds depressed, dejected, and god forbid, discouraged in his post game interview. The Grizz are next, Lin! Play Linsane as you know how to play!

      • standupphilosopher

        Thanks for the videos, as usual, MrPingPong. I think I’m too dejected about the game to look at them, though. Haha.

        Yeah, McHale really pissed me off in this game–just when I thought he was coming around. The way he used Lin in this game didn’t make any sense at all in terms of trying to win a game. Analysts will give McHale most of the credit when the Rockets make the playoffs, but I think that’s a HUGE mistake in perception. I don’t have time to really break this down, but basically, these Analysts underestimated the Rockets in the beginning of the seasin, because they’re full of Jeremy Lins (i.e., Jeremy Lin, Parsons, Asik, Harden) and predicted that Rockets wouldn’t make the playoffs. So once the Rockets make the playoffs, they will give the credit to McHale for whipping a bunch of Jeremy Lins into shape and getting them to play beyond their capabilities. The reality is, these Analysts highly underestimated the Rockets and the Rockets would have likely made the playoffs with any old coach. Didn’t have to be McHale. Think of it this way, if McHale was to coach another team, do you think he would have much success whereas do you think the Rockets would still make the playoffs if they were coached by another coach? The answer to that question will tell you where most of the credit should to to when the Rockets make the playoffs. Don’t get me wrong, these Jeremy Lins still need coaching, but i think any old coach would have done just as good of a job or better than McHale. But analysts won’t see this, because of their own misperceptions of the Rockets. This is very unfortunate for those who want McHale gone.

      • MrPingPong

        OK, here’s the rest of the videos, for the curious among us…
        More first quarter action:

        http://youtu.be/eO9_NkhEYw0

        A little bit of second quarter action (no Lin here):

        http://youtu.be/w5HTv6QFvqw

        Third quarter: Lin was getting things going; he played for about 8 minutes and then sat down and came back in the 4th quarter with about 4 minutes left. I ran out of battery and could not record those last 4 depressing minutes of the game. Oh well…

        http://youtu.be/PCQETbOzsws

        Yes, Philosopher, there are a lot of Jeremy Lins in this Rockets “dream” team. The basketball pundits, who never get Lin, obviously cannot get this team! It’s easier to just give credit to McHale since he is a HOFer.

        Have a great day/night wherever you are on this WEB!

  • Grover chang

    How is Lin so calm. His minutes come from the owner. His bench time comes from mchale. Since he is going to play no matter what because the owner likes him and he will be benched no matter what because mcHale does not like him, then if I was Lin I would go Linsane and run the offense as he did in new york.

  • asdf

    Hey,
    before i say anything, i want to praise you for your blog! i really enjoy your passion for jeremy and i share many of your sentiments! haha i know this is just a hobby, but my advice is to make some of your posts more concise without compromising content. you definitely have great ideas and a very thorough, analytic point of view, but i feel like the repetitiveness of some of the posts dilute what you want to say, making you sound like a typical “jeremy lin fanboy”, as they say. but overall, props! i’m glad i stumbled upon this blog the other day–haha now i check this on a regular basis.
    with that said, i want to say that i’ve pretty much given up on the rockets. i’m not really a rockets fan, but i’ve been doggedly following them all year because of my love for jlin. he is such a good guy, and it pains me to see mchale bench him. mchale should really just start beverley if he doesn’t like lin, because what he’s doing right now is just a pussy move. he doesn’t want to piss off morey and the fans, so he’s abusing his power by managing the team like this, which is really insensitive to his team, esp lin. i think you’re too nice to mchale; he’s not just a lin doubter, he’s a hater. i don’t want to blame mchale as a person though; the family tragedy he had to go through is one of the toughest situations you can have as a person, and it can really mess you up psychologically. so i think this justifies his disrespectful, negative attitude, but it doesn’t change the fact that he is unfit for coaching. i don’t see lin thriving under mchale anytime soon, which is really unfortunate. but hey, life often gives us difficult circumstances, and that doesn’t mean we can’t cheer lin on day in and day out, regardless of his stat-line. the fact is, no matter how much mchale puts jeremy down, jeremy will still have millions of people who support him whereas mchale pretty much doesn’t matter to anyone outside of houston.
    okay this got really long and irrelevant LOL but keep up this wonderful blog! i enjoy reading your thoughts ^^

    • CH

      “the fact is, no matter how much mchale puts jeremy down, jeremy will still have millions of people who support him whereas mchale pretty much doesn’t matter to anyone outside of houston.” Haa… couldn’t agree moreeee…Good Point. Welcome to the blog.

    • standupphilosopher

      Thanks, asdf! I really appreciate your comments as well as the way you think. You’re really able to see things from multiple perspectives and that’s something I really appreciate. I guess it all depends on one’s definition of “Hater”, but I still don’t see McHale as a Lin Hater. But I can totally see why someone would think that.

      Thanks for the tips, as well. With most posts on THIS blog, I don’t do much editing. It’s pretty much stream-of-consciousness writing, because I guess I don’t really take writing about sports too seriously–especially post game reactions. And THIS one post in particular is the most stream-of-consciousness and I wasn’t exactly in a very clear state of mind (haha) as I was writing. So I’m sure it’s pretty repetitive. Check out my other blogs (http://standupphilosopher.wordpress.com/ and http://wrdsndimg.blogspot.com/) in the blog roll if you want to hear my thoughts on other subjects. I edit posts on those blogs more, because I take those subjects a little more seriously, I suppose. Anyway, glad to have you on board and I look forward to future comments from you.

  • asdf

    also, harden is seriously the biggest ballhog in the nba like even kobe looks like a team player compared to him.

    • standupphilosopher

      I think Harden only hogs the ball, because he feels like he has to score the ball and on that night, he really was the only one capable (even though he couldn’t hit anything) in the fourth quarter when Lin wasn’t on the floor. The offense was so stagnant and Harden had to take it himself, because no one else was really moving much. No one really knew what to do out there. They just gave the ball to Harden and expected him to go to work. Then when Lin came back onto the floor, Lin was so deflated that he just gave Harden the ball and didn’t feel like doing anything, because he was so filled with bitterness. And when the coach doesn’t have confidence in you, the players start to buy into it and that’s another reason why Lin didn’t get the ball much after he gave it away and that’s another reason why Harden didn’t pass to Lin in the fourth quarter.

  • terry

    Ke-ruin Mchell is a Traaas…..h….. The reason why Ke-ruin put Jeremy into the 4th quarter roughly 5 minutes before the end of the game is that he knew that the Game is Finished. He intentional to put him in to show to Lin’s fan that he did give Jeremy a chance and if (a) Win: He got the credit of rotation. (b) Loss: You, Lin blew it. And he can escape the blames of Losing because of not putting Lin in the 4th quarter. Smart Assss……

    • standupphilosopher

      Yeah, I think there’s definitely some of that going on, terry. Because it really didn’t do much good in terms of helping the team win by putting Lin back in with less than 5 minutes left to go in the game after the momentum was completely gone from the team and Lin and the game was decided. When Lin got back onto the floor, I can tell that Lin was completely deflated. He didn’t really want to be on the floor at that point and he knew that he could have helped win the game had he been put in in the beginning of the fourth quarter. When he hit that 3 pointer in the fourth, he was completely pissed. I know exactly how he was feeling, because I was feeling the same thing.

  • Lau Ming

    Jeremy Lin is never going to be the premier player on any nba team. He’s a good role player though.

    • MrPingPong

      How can you be so sure of that?

  • ashley

    I don’t think I should expect Lin to score more than 10 points every game anymore, knowing that he’s not getting starter minutes. If I did, I’d be too critical. I realize that every superstar could have a cold hand at any game—Carmelo made only 10 shots out of 30 in the game against the Celtics, and Harden made only 6 out of 24 in this latest against the Pacers, which shows how much trust the coaching stuff gave him (and cost the game), and how little they had for Lin. Those stars get to play more than 35 or 40 to look good on stats, but our boy doesn’t. So scoring more than 20 in 25 mins is indeed super, but scoring 8 in 20 might not be bad, either. Who knows if Lin gets to play more and handle the ball more, how much better might his stats be? All this time, I’ve been trying to reason out his ups and downs and McHale’s use of him, but at the end I could only come to terms with this tough reality and learn to be a truly understanding fan of JLin. Just hope he doesn’t get too discouraged and always tries to play his best! Well, since Lin has been scoring 4, 6, and 8 in these past three games, he might get a 10 next!

    • standupphilosopher

      McHale’s coaching of Lin and his usage of Lin definitely has an impact on Lin’s stats. For example, during Linsanity, Lin would go struggle for a quarter or two and still ended up doing well, because the coach stuck with him throughout the game. It’s sort of like the law of averages. If you’re a good player, you’re going to be good on average even though you might mess up here and there. McHale doesn’t have the belief in Lin to understand that Lin is a good player on average so if McHale sticks with Lin consistently, it will pay off in the end. I hope Morey has a better understanding of this than McHale. But it’s still for naught if McHale stays as Lin’s coach, because the GM really doesn’t have too much say in how a coach runs the team. All the GM can really do is hire and fire personnel and trust them to do their jobs.

      • MrPingPong

        Ah, the law of large number, something that McHale seems not too keen on.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_large_numbers
        McHale seems very afraid of being swept away by Linsanity. I have the impression that he is doing everything to prove that Linsanity was a fluke. Poor fellow.

  • The reality here is that Lin needs to be with a coach that can trust him.

  • teko

    Some stats as off 3/28/2013:
    http://espn.go.com/nba/team/stats/_/name/hou/houston-rockets

    Harden: 38.5 min / game
    Lin: 32 min/game

    This will give us the true turnover RATIO (TO/min):

    Harden: 3.7/38.5 = 0.0961
    Lin: 2.9/32 = 0.0906

    That is, in every 100 minute play time:

    Harden TO 9.61 times
    Lin TO 9.06 times

    Harden is obviously more TO-prone than Lin is.

    ————————————

    We can calculate the assist RATIO in the same way by checking the “APG(assist per game)”, which is Harden 5.9, Lin 6.0:

    Harden: 5.9/38.5 = 0.153
    Lin: 6.0/32 = 0.188

    That is, in every 100min play time:

    Harden assists 15.3 times, Lin assists 18.8 times.

    ————————————

    Another indication is the Assist/TO ratio:

    Harden: 1.6
    Lin: 2.1

    That is, in terms of “assisting the teammates to score” vs “turning the ball over”, Harden is:

    (2.1-1.6) / 2.1 = 0.238 (23.8%)

    worse than Lin.

    ————————————

    The data also gives us the FG% (Field goal %): Harden 0.445, Lin:0.444.

    That tells us that if Lin shoots (or is given chances to shoots) as many as Harden did, Lin will have the same scores as Harden has.

    So the picture is clear: Lin has the same scoring capability as Harden has, with more assists and less turnovers.

    Unfortunately, McHale doesn’t seem to see the stat.

    • standupphilosopher

      Thanks for breaking down the stats, teko. Very interesting stuff.

      • BC

        I like the stats you posted and I am a huge Lin fan but I don’t think it’s fair to project the shooting % the way you did. It stands to reason that if you are only taking 5 shots per game, then you will choose the 5 best moments to take that shot. If you are taking 20 shots per game as opposed to 5, more likely than not, you are taking more lower quality shots, reducing your overall shooting percentage. I think Lin has the potential to be a great player and is seriously being misused in Houston. This last game against the Pacers was infuriating considering how well Lin did in the 3rd quarter only to be benched after a single turnover. However, it also bothers me how singleminded some Lin fans can be and unfair they can be towards Harden (not saying this about you in particular because you did bring in some cold hard stats). If you judge Harden fairly, there is no denying that he is an incredible player. I also don’t think it’s fair to call him selfish considering the fact that he is actually quite a good passer of the ball. Again, I love Lin and he is the only reason I religiously watch the Rockets, but when it comes down to it, Harden is a better shooter, driver, and he is a good distributor. On offense, the only thing I think that Lin has the edge over Harden is on vision and ball distribution, but that is a slight edge. On defense, Lin is lights out better than Harden. This is not to say that I don’t think Lin has a place on the team because the Rockets are sometimes at their most effective when both Harden and Lin are attacking. There are many times when one of them attacks the basket, is unable to find an opening, the ball swings around to the other and they get an easy bucket / assist. Ultimately, I would like to see either McHale gone (although I give him props where props are due for taking such a young team that has not had much time playing together and putting them in playoff position) or Lin on a team paired with solid bigs where he can be the primary ballhandler.

      • standupphilosopher

        Man, BC, you and I really think alike! reading what you wrote here is like reading my own mind. I share your sentiments, exactly. I was just way too lazy to say all of the things you said in a comment, because I’ve said these things throughout my blog and in my YouTube videos. I’m not sure if I’ve seen your comments before, but in any case, I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the future.

      • BC

        Thanks standup! I found your site after seeing your YouTube video about McHale being a “Lin doubter”. (Someone posted it on ClutchFans.) Since then I have been following your blog posts and enjoy reading your commentary. Keep up the good work!

      • teko

        Thx for the comment, BC.

        I simply presented the FACTs. I hear you said, “If you are taking 20 shots per game as opposed to 5, more likely than not, you are taking more lower quality shots, reducing your overall shooting percentage.”

        That’s one way of interpretation (which I don’t agree, be an interpretation still) that is irrelevant to the facts — which is the outcome of whatever reason behind.

        I am no Harden-hater. But something is wrong out there when a player is shooting at 25% but still keeps taking that many shots. The behavior of “taking more lower quality shots” is damaging especially with FG% this low. Either Harden doesn’t know when to stop, or the coaching staff doesn’t want him to stop. We have no knowledge of that. But again, the reason behind doesn’t change the fact.

        Harden’s FG% in March (39%) is 14% lower than his in last month (52%), and 5% lower than season average (44%). Rockets need to find a solution to this. “Keep shooting until he comes back” night not be a good one.

      • standupphilosopher

        This is what I like to see, discussions, without personal attacks and such. You guys are awesome! teko, I think McHale definitely over uses Harden and way under-uses Lin. Last night’s game was just one of many examples. McHale doesn’t recognize that he has another great option in Lin. If he plays Lin the way he should, Rockets have 5 weapons on the floor. When he under-utilizes Lin, everyone stands around watching Harden and Rockets become only a one-man weapon. This is one big way that McHale has been hurting the Rockets all season. It’s always hard to prove a “what if”, but I think Rockets would be an even better team if Lin is played the way Lin is supposed to be played.

      • BC

        One other thing that I want to add about last night’s game. The Rockets were clearly in a funk and needed an offensive spark. Harden and Parsons were not getting it done. In some cases, the shots may just not be falling. In these cases, it is not unlikely for a player to come out of his funk and start hitting his shots. It’s like flipping a coin, at any given point you are just as likely to get 10 tails in a row as 10 heads. However, if you watch last night’s game it was clear that Harden was being shut down by good defense. In order for him to come out of his funk, he needs to figure out a new way to score. This is much less likely to happen in the course of a game. (Add to that the fact that Harden was also terrible in their last outing against Indiana and you have to think that they have figured him out in some way.)

        Now, we all know McHale thinks that Lin is a high-risk, high-reward “homerun hitter” because he has said so at least twice. Regardless of whether this is true or not, when do you want to be playing a high-risk, high-reward player? When the status quo will result in a loss! (Say there is a 50% chance that putting him in the game generates +50 points and a 50% chance that he generates -50 points. Then you have a 50% chance of winning the game if you play him and a 0% chance of winning the game if you don’t.)

        I think anyone watching the game can see that the Rockets needed some kind of offensive spark without which they were definitely going to lose the game. Lin has shown time and time again that he can generate that spark, and McHale’s “homerun hitter” remarks suggest that he also understands this. At the VERY least, Lin is the among the top 3 offensive players on the Rockets. On a night where your other top 2 players are not getting it done, why oh why would you bench the third!?

    • BC

      Teko,

      Thanks for the comment. I agree that my explanation is intuitive and not quantitative. However, your assumption that we can project Lin’s shooting % as the # of shots increase is equally qualitative. Personally, I think that my explanation is more plausible, but we would have to do some serious data analysis to truly answer that question.

      • BC

        I suppose one fact that supports your argument as opposed to mine, in the case of Lin, is the fact that he was shooting at a high clip despite taking a large # of shots during Linsanity. So we know that he CAN shoot at high volume and high percentage over an some period of time. Whether or not that would be true with the setup in Houston is another question. However, in general, I think that it is unlikely that players can maintain their shooting % while upping the # of shots. For example, do we want to see Delfino upping his # of shots? It is clear he is a good spot up shooter so whenever he is open he should shoot, as he does, but we don’t want him trying to find more opportunities to take his shot, which he also sometimes does to the detriment of the team.

      • teko

        BC, your rebuttal against your own doubt is better than what I can do … 🙂

        But after that rebuttal you still maintain the doubt that is already rebutted by yourself. That’s strange. I guess that’s called “denial” ?

        Here are some more stats on the FG%:

        Harden:Career:44.4%, season:44.5%
        Lin   :Career:44.1%, season:44.4%

        This stat tells us that both are equally good player shooting at exactly the same % over entire course of their careers.

        http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/3992/james-harden
        http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/4299/jeremy-lin

        Now we know Harden is having a hard time lately. What we need to ask is not if Lin can maintain his percentage, but (1) how long before Harden is able to get back and (2) what should Rockets do before then.

        • BC

          Lol, I don’t think I was contradicting myself. Let me resummarize:
          1) You say that my claim that shooting at a higher volume may decrease shooting percentage is “irrelevant to the facts”. However, your extrapolation that Lin will continue shooting at the same percentage if he increases volume is also an assumption for which you did not provide evidence for. Further, I have a reasonable explanation for why we should not automatically assume that the shooting percentage will remain the same as we increase shot volume.

          2) I thought a little bit more about it and helped you out by coming up with some evidence that supports your extrapolation. Your welcome :).

          3) However, that evidence is not definitive because the context is completely different. Houston today is a different team from NY last year. Some argue that defenses did not have enough information about Lin last year to guard him effectively. He is on the scouting report now. Etc.

          4) Side comment that although this may not be the case with Lin, IN GENERAL, I still think that shooting percentage will drop as volume increases. I use Delfino as an example.

          Stats are undeniable but we have to be careful when interpreting them. It is a fact Lin has been shooting at 44%. It is not a fact that “Lin will score as much as Harden if he shoots as much as Harden”.

      • BC

        I can talk all day about the usage of statistics :P. I am actually a PhD student and my research is on data analysis and modeling. There are those that claim that statistics are useless because you can always find stats that support any argument. It is my opinion that stats need to be interpreted in the context of a model. So for example, you have a model of scoring and shot volume. You assume that points are a linear function of the number of shots. You have the slope of this function as a free parameter which you estimate using data (shot percentage). Now, you use this model to predict the # of points as we vary shot volume. The nice thing about laying out a model like this is we can clearly see the assumptions involved. The assumption you make is that points are a linear function of the number of shots. The fact is the past shot percentage, which is used to estimate the slope of your linear function. Now, since the assumption are laid so nicely and clearly we can again use data to analyze the assumption.

      • MrPingPong

        Speaking of linear model, here is a simple model of the effective score (ES) in terms of the FG%, Field Goals Attempted (FGA), 3P% and 3 Pointers Attempted (3PA):

        ES = 2 * FG% * FGA + 3 * 3P% * 3PA

        For Lin, that would be:

        ES = 2 * 0.444 * FGA + 3 * 0.333 * 3PA

        According to this model, Lin should be jacking up 3 pointers all game long to optimize the score.

      • teko

        MrPingPong:

        ####
        a simple model of the effective score (ES) in terms of the FG%, Field Goals Attempted (FGA), 3P% and 3 Pointers Attempted (3PA):

        ES = 2 * FG% * FGA + 3 * 3P% * 3PA
        ####

        Isn’t FGA including 3-pointers ?

        • MrPingPong

          You are right, teko. There are stats for FG% inside the 3 ptr boundary, but I could not locate it. It would be nice if someone has it. The model is rather simplistic and can be solved by a simple linear programming tool.

      • teko

        Mr.PingPong ###
        ES = 2 * FG% * FGA + 3 * 3P% * 3PA
        There are stats for FG% inside the 3 ptr boundary, but I could not locate it.
        ###

        FGA = 2PA (2-pointer attempts) + 3PA(3-pointer attempts)

        Both FGA and 3PA is available, so we can get 2PA, too:

        2PA = FGA – 3PA

        FGM (goals made) = 2PM + 3PM

        2PM = FGM – 3PM

        So we have 2-pointer efficiency (FG2%) :

        = 2PM/2PA
        = ( FGM-3PM) / 2 PA
        = ( FGM-3PM ) / ( FGA-3PA )

        • MrPingPong

          Thanks teco. You do look at the stats, don’t you! 🙂

          Among the 2 PAs for Lin are his drives to the basket that breaks down the defense and creates scoring opportunities for his teammates. This is a crucial part of Lin’s game and the team’s success. The effective score formula that I presented is to simplistic to model the effectiveness of a point guard’s shot selection. A good model should incorporate the effective scores of all the players in the team, in my opinion. Just wondering how the stats experts would model this aspect of the game.

          Any thought on this?

  • standupphilosopher

    Thanks for all the comments. Some new faces, which is always great to see. I won’t be able to reply to everyone, but keep the comments coming and feel free to use this comments section as a place to vent, share info and discuss. Thanks!

    • MrPingPong

      Hey, Philosopher, you are getting more traction with your Lin Youtube Channel. Congrats! I see that you are putting a lot of effort in responding to the comments on this blog, and I appreciate that. I also appreciate all the thoughtful comments by the readers of this blog. I read them all!

      • ashley

        I was surprised at the sudden surge of posts here, especially after this game, though I know more people are reaching this blog through Mr. Philosopher’s Youtube videos. Well, I’m glad to see analyses with stats for references, which require more basketball expertise than is needed for my pure venting.
        Anyway, as you say, Lin was deflated in that last four minutes and just deferred to Harden. But he had done wonders before in less than 4 minutes. I think he must have been somehow upset by the coach’s rotation. I hope from this game on, he’ll just play Linsane in any time he gets on the floor, and never get so depressed again. I think if he does well, he’ll definitely feel so much better no matter if the team wins or loses, and so will we!

  • teko

    Some monthly stat between Harden and Lin :

    ----------------------------
         min/game      FG%
       Harden  Lin   Harden Lin
    ----------------------------
    11  38.4  34.3   41.2  37.3 
    12  37.5  31.1   46.3  48.9
     1  38.5  33.4   42.9  42.2
     2  39.5  32.2   52.9  43.8
     3  38.5  28.3   39.2  50.0
    ----------------------------

    Note that Lin’s playing time is down to 28.3 min per game in March, and Harden’s FG% in March is the worst of his in this season. A game-by-game stat shows that, in some games in March, Lin was allowed to play only 20 min per game:

    http://espn.go.com/nba/player/gamelog/_/id/4299/jeremy-lin

    even when his FG% is >= 50%

    • ashley

      It’s nice to learn that as far as shooting percentage is concerned, JLin is on a par with Harden, so theoretically speaking, given the same time, Lin could be as productive. However, it seems that Harden is better at drawing fouls and getting to the free-throw line. So he’s likely to end up with more points. On the other hand, some have pointed out that Harden also lost a lot of points due to his poor defense, which is hard to be proven statisically though. I agree that when a player has a cold hand, he shouldn’t be jacking up shots because that makes him a ballhog stagnating the team’s offence. That is something Lin would never do. As I recall, when Lin made more shot attempts (more than 15 or 20), his FG% was always good enough and the team won.

    • teko

      “when a player has a cold hand, he shouldn’t be jacking up shots because that makes him a ballhog stagnating the team’s offence. That is something Lin would never do.”

      Yes I think Lin is better in this regard — i.e, knowing today is not my day.

  • emz

    To be honest, I don’t want Lin to be played like Parsons and Harden because their minutes are insane. I kind of hold my breath every time and hope that neither of them gets hurt.

    And since I’m here in the vein of honesty, I think that whenever people use a term like McFail it weakens their argument because it’s a personal attack. Just as using terms like bitch, fag, and chink makes me angry and disregard an argument, same as with with McFail. It’s unnecessary and adds nothing to the argument except to make yourself feel better and for the person you’re trying to make the argument against disregard the argument that much more.

    I hope that failure teaches McHale, moving forward. Either that or Morey fixes it by getting something done.

    • MrPingPong

      Hey, EMZ! Long time no see!
      I agree with you that name calling is rather counter productive and weakens one’s argument. Whenever I get upset at McHale, I just call him KM (as in KIM). 🙂
      As I said in an earlier post, I have given up on McHale. He is not gonna learn anything because he sees that the failure is on his players and not on him. There is a saying in Texas that goes as follows: It ain’t what you don’t know that kills you, but it is what you think you know that ain’t so! 🙂

    • standupphilosopher

      Good to see you hear again, emz! We’ve missed your insights. Yeah, I think McHale plays Harden and Parsons way too much. Not sure why McHale doesn’t trust Anderson to spell Harden. Anderson has proven himself every time he’s been on the floor. I don’t know what more McHale needs to see. I think it has more to do with McHale just not trusting anyone on the team, except Harden, Parsons and Delfino. I’m also concerned that Parsons and Harden might get hurt or get too worn out when the post-season comes.

      Yeah, I hear you on the whole “McFail” name calling.

      I think the only way Morey can fix the problem is by firing McHale, but I don’t see that happening. GMs don’t have much say in the coaching–especially if your coach is McHale. McHale doesn’t strike me as the type of guy who takes orders well. So the only thing a GM can really do is threaten the coach with termination and hope the coach listens.

  • lin fan

    I created a facebook https://www.facebook.com/FireCoachKevinMchale, please like and post anything you find.

  • teko

    (Philosopher, pls delete my previous post. Thanks. Shouldn’t have used the <<< symbol)

    @ BC:

    ######
    BC:
    So we know that he CAN shoot at high volume and high percentage over an some period of time. Whether or not that would be true with the setup in Houston is another question.

    However, that evidence is not definitive because the context is completely different. Houston today is a different team from NY last year.
    ######

    Lin's record (ie., exact same FG% in Houston as in NY) has already proved he can perform at least as efficient in Houston. That is, a FACT. We should stop hanging aroud the thought of "Houston is different" and look at what the records show us objectively.

    ######
    BC:
    However, in general, I think that it is unlikely that players can maintain their shooting % while upping the # of shots. For example, do we want to see Delfino upping his # of shots?

    although this may not be the case with Lin, IN GENERAL, I still think that shooting percentage will drop as volume increases. I use Delfino as an example.
    ######

    Not a fair comparison. Delfino shoots at 40.2% career and 40.9% this season, both lower than Lin. A more efficient player is more consistent in any circumstance and thus less subject to external factors (like shooting chances). We can't take a less efficient player as an example and argue that the more efficient player will behave the same way.

    Beside, you know deep down that Lin "may not" fit into your line of argument, didn't you ?

    But then why did you even raise that point in the first place when our subject is Lin ?

    • teko

      BC,

      I’m working on some data crunching and, right now, it seems that your theory (shooting more will decrease FG%) is actually working on Harden, but not on Lin. Will show the graphs and details later.

      • BC

        Teko,

        I was mostly taking issue with your assumption that FG% will remain constant as shot volume increases. Clearly, at some point you are going to get diminishing returns. The question is what is that point?

        Personally, I agree with you that Lin has not reached that point yet and would indeed maintain his efficiency for the most part if he increases his shot volume to some extent. I also think that Lin should be playing more and be given more opportunities to score ESPECIALLY when the defense is taking away from Harden like we saw against the Pacers (see my post that begins, “One other thing that I want to add about last night’s game…”).

        However, I do not think that Lin should be shooting at the same volume as Harden. In general, I think that Harden is a better offensive player than Lin. Both have an ability to get difficult shots to fall at the rim, but Harden can also make difficult shots at range more effectively. Additionally, he has an uncanny ability to draw fouls and he has the size to finish at a very high rate when taking contact. As I mentioned previously, Lin has SLIGHT edge with ball distribution and vision (and is lights out better than Harden on defense). One of the main problems for Lin with the Rockets is that Harden and Lin have such similar skill sets, but Harden is generally better than Lin on offense. Both need the ball to be at their most effective. All things equal, though, you want the ball in Harden’s hands over Lin’s during crunch time.

        So in addition to the question of whether Lin should be shooting more, you also have to ask whether Lin shooting more will detract from Harden and as a result the team. This is a really difficult question to answer. I think that at the moment, McHale is seriously mismanaging Lin to the detriment of the entire team. Harden is being overused and we can see the effects of that on his performance, which as you mentioned has dropped recently. I truly believe Lin has the ability to shoulder some of that burden for Harden and allow him to perform at his best. The 4th quarter benchings against the Mavs and Pacers were completely misguided and I simply cannot see how they make sense in any way. Lin clearly had the upperhand against Collison, and was doing great in the 3rd quarter against the Pacers before being benched. (Again, see my rant that begins “One other thing that I want to add about last night’s game…” for more about this.)

      • BC

        I look forward to seeing your charts :).

      • teko

        BC, I understand your points and agree with you mostly.

        Considering efficiency, maybe a graph of FG% vs FGA would be valid. No time on that now.

      • standupphilosopher

        Man, some great discussions between teko and BC. I’m loving it! That’s what I was hoping my blog would be about: a forum for intelligent, open-minded exchange of information and thoughts. It’s only when we’re completely open to a perspective that’s different than ours (if it’s carefully considered and thought out) that we will ever learn anything new. I think it’s one of the keys to being an enlightened, if you will, being.

  • Teko, you are killing on in here!!! I love your bball/stats knowledge!! Please keep commenting!

    I’ve missed your site philosopher!!

    • teko

      thanks, carywasbington25. Thanks to Philisopher for maintaining a good site here, too.

    • standupphilosopher

      Good to see you, again carywashington25. Been wondering where you’ve been. Thanks, teko, for all the great information and hard work you’ve put into your comments!

  • MrPingPong

    Good morning/evening Lin fans!
    I only watched a little bit of the Grizz game, but was able to watch the whole (“Toe nail”) Clippers game.
    What I read about the Grizz game was so depressing. But the Clippers game was so uplifting. Lin played his heart out, sacrifing his body on both ends of the court, and seemed to be limping a little bit when he walked to the bench in the final minutes of the game. Of course, McHale gets all the credit for being a genius, and Lin is just so so, according to the basketball pundits. I know I am speaking to the choir here, but it would be nice if Lin gets a little bit more love from the pundits. I would have given the game to Lin instead of Asik.
    I’m calling it here, based on nothing but a “delusional” belief in Lin: Lin will perform magic on the Magic next!

    • standupphilosopher

      Hey MrPingPong. I missed both the Grizzlies and the Clippers games. Glad to hear Lin did well against the Clippers. Clippers seem to be in a bit of a rut, lately. I think they would be the best match up for the Rockets, since it looks like the Grizzlies are no longer a good match up for the Rockets. So I hope Clippers somehow can get the 3rd seed and Rockets end up with the 6th seed.

      I wonder if Lin has been playing on the borderline of being just hurt and injured since the Pacers game when he turned his ankle early in the game. Maybe that’s why McHale has been benching him. Just a thought.

      • MrPingPong

        Yeah, Philosopher, I think Lin has been playing hurt too. It’s just that he can still manage it. So it may be a blessing in disguise that McHale did not play Lin as much. I always try to look for positive light here.

    • standupphilosopher

      Just read some of the post game summaries for the Clippers game. Man, it’s a little infuriating to see McHale getting credit for the game, when that game should be reasons to question McHale’s understanding of his players int he first place. I’ve been screaming over and over in this blog that McHale needs to trust Anderson to spell Harden. Anderson started in place of McHale and did a decent job. If McHale decided to start Anderson in this game, why hasn’t given Anderson any significant minutes even though Anderson has shown that he’s more than capable to spell Harden. Instead, McHale has been running Harden to the ground for no reason and now Harden’s injured. Also, Garcia hasn’t seen any minutes in the last four games, even though I’ve been screaming on this blog that Garcia is a better all around player than Delfino. Yet, Delfino can do no wrong in McHale’s eyes. McHale trusts Delfino too much and his over-reliance on Delfino has also hurt us all season, because Delfino’s been taking away minutes from other deserving players. Not saying Delfino is bad, but Delfino should just be used as an offensive spark off the bench. McHale uses Delfino like a starter. That’s been a big mistake in my eyes. Anyway, this Clippers game should make the pundits question McHale’s usage of his players, which is McHale’s biggest weakness as a coach in my eyes and that HUGE. Because that’s really the biggest way a coach can influence the game. McHale over uses certain players and then under uses others. There’s no balance. Morey’s gotta be smart enough to recognize that.

      • MrPingPong

        I think you meant “Anderson started in place of Harden”, Philosopher.
        Like you’ve said, Philosopher, there are lots of Jeremy Lins in this Rockets (deam) team. James Anderson is another one of them.

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