Kobe Bryant Knows that Jeremy Lin has been McHaled

“McHaled” is a term coined by @drbrucehirsch on Twitter. I use it as a shorthand to describe a broad range of “ailments” so I hesitate to define it. I think it’s one of those terms that you basically get what it means if you’re a Jeremy Lin fan. In this particular context, I’m using it to mean that Kobe Bryant knows that Lin has developed a habit of deferring to others and being fearful of making mistakes.

Here’s an excerpt from an after practice interview of Kobe on November 6th, starting at the 1:57 minute mark:

Interviewer: You mentioned the other week that you wanted Lin to be aggressive and play his game. To make his stand. Have you seen improvement in that area?

Kobe: He’s getting there. As I said, these are habits that are tough to break. Because when you’re used to playing a certain way and looking over your shoulder all the time. It’s tough to get comfortable and say, “Okay. I don’t have to worry about that here.”

Kobe has said something similar to this a number of times in previous interviews, basically calling out Lin’s past teammates and coaches for not allowing Lin to play Lin’s game. I think it’s awesome that Kobe keeps doing this.

I wanted to highlight this one in particular, because Kobe used the term “habit”, which I thought was particularly perceptive and is something that I’ve pointed out about Lin in my previous posts. After being forced to play a certain way by Woodson and then to an even greater extent by McHale, you can’t help but develop a habit of playing that way. I think it’s awesome that Kobe recognizes this and I know it’s because Lin has been confiding in Kobe about all the shit he had to go through in Houston. Lin would never publicly call anyone out, but we all know how Lin really feels about his time in Houston, even though Lin would always try to spin it in a positive way as to not make anyone look bad. It’s just great to know that Kobe understands all of this, because that means that Kobe will be patient with Lin. I just hope that coach Scott also gets it. We’ll see.

The Lakers finally have had a lot of much needed practice time and I think they’re in a good place now. Scott said a lot of good things in his latest practice interview about how he wants guys to not defer to Kobe. So we’ll see how it all translates on the court–especially in the 4th quarter.

I think the time off has really allowed Lin to take a step back to deal with having been McHaled. He hasn’t really had any time off since the first game versus the Rockets to really do much about it. So that’s why I didn’t expect Lin to really turn things around in a big way–even after his excellent performance in the Clippers game. But I think now Lin is ready to play his game again. So I do expect Lin to play his game on Sunday when they face the Hornets and I do expect the Lakers to finally get their first win.

I’m sure Lin will still have games where he falls back to playing the way he did in Houston, but I expect that to be fewer and farther between. I think with all of the encouragement from Kobe, Lin is ready to get back to playing the way he knows how. The key now is for Lin to get screens and for Lin’s teammates to give the ball back to him. I think now if Lin isn’t able to play his game, it likely won’t be because of Lin being McHaled. It will be because Scott is not drawing up plays to make Lin effective or Lin’s teammates are still not willing to keep the ball moving, because they’re way too happy to settle for mid-range jumpers. So we’ll see.

My biggest concern about the Lakers offensively is that they are way too happy with settling for jumpers, since a lot of the guys on the team love shooting mid-range jumpers. And I don’t think it helps that Scott keeps telling guys to take the shot if they see it. So I think that’s why there are so many possessions where it’s just one pass followed by a mid-range jumper. I don’t see this changing, unless they make Lin the focus of their offense. And if this doesn’t change, the Lakers are going to continue to suffer offensively.

What Scott should tell his guys is to let the ball find the best shot. I think a big mistake that Kobe makes is that he’s always either trying to score or make big plays, because he thinks that’s what he needs to do as the best player on the team. Because of this, he puts up highly contested shots if he doesn’t see anyone he can pass the ball to that is in position to score. I sent a bunch of tweets to Kobe about this the other day. Kobe would help his team so much more if he would just get rid of the ball to any of his teammates in a lot of instances in which he’s double-teamed and then let his teammates find the one who’s in the best position to score. If Kobe makes a habit of doing this, and if Scott tells his players to let the ball find the best shot, then the Lakers would have excellent ball movement and their field goal percentage would increase significantly. To me, this is the key to their offense.

Other key things that I would incorporate if I was a coach is the give-and-go and the “give back”. The give-and-go is so rarely used in the NBA, but every time it is used, it leads to easy buckets. I have no idea why coaches don’t use this more. It’s so simple to run and surprises the defense every time, because defenders don’t expect the guy who passed the ball to get the ball back immediately. The broad term I’m using to describe this is the “give back”. In basketball, you rarely see a player pass the ball and then get it right back. In the Lakers’s case, players rarely touch the ball more than once per possession. And I think this is a huge mistake, because the defense can just key in on the guy with the ball. This is why the Lakers have been shooting so poorly.

The Lakers need to make a point of giving the ball back to Lin after he gives the ball up. I see so many situations where Lin is completely wide open or has wide-open driving lanes right after Lin passes the ball–especially when he passes the ball to Kobe. Lin is the guy who can really take full advantage of the “give back” play, because he has such a quick first step. There has only been one play I have seen so far when Lin gave the ball up to Kobe and Kobe got it right back to him. I discussed this play in a previous post. But I have no confidence that the Lakers have figured this out, unfortunately. If they did, then Lin would be deadly and the Lakers would win more games.

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  • MrPingPong

    Hello Lin fans/non-fans, just making conversation here…

    ‘Been on the road for the past few days and just got back in time for the game against the Honey Bees tonight. There’s a rumor that Lin has a sore right foot and is probable for tonight. I hope it’s not true. In my delusional opinion, Lin will match up against Kemba plenty well! Per Dr. Teng, Kobe is not gonna change his spots, and so, it’s up to our man Lin to adapt and change and earn a few spots of his own! Nah, we don’t want Lin to play like Kobe, do we?

    Anyway, expectations are low for the lowly Lakers, which is fine by me. The last time I check, Michael Jordan is not playing, so Lakers win by 3! (Yep, just a number I read from my Ouija board).

    Enjoy watching JL17 and the Lakers beat the Bees tonight, folks!

    Letzzz Gooo JL17! 🙂

    • Dr. Gary Teng

      Dear Professor MrPingPong,

      Now you see me, now you don’t.

      I am resting comfortably on the muddy beach at the Beverly Hill Rehab Clinic with a giant Rustic Nail (Drambuie + Jonnie Walker) stuck in my hand, nursing my severe episode of acute manic-depression suffered after watching that excruciating Lakers vs. Suns game last Tuesday.

      To alleviate my post-game anger and anxiety, I took a whole (family size) bottle of Valium to help me make it through the night. Not to my wildest dream, I slept 48 hours nonstop.

      I (almost) woke up dead. 🙂

      BS aside, in tonight’s game Kobe did seem to be able to keep his animal instinct in check somewhat and let Lin be the playmaker. That is The major reason Lakers finally scored a long-overdue win of the new NBA season. To paraphrase Neil Armstrong famous quote — That’s one small step for Kobe, but one giant leap for the Lakers.

      Anyway, there are uncorked champagnes and chopped cigars scattered all over my living room. So I am not in a hurry to put a new bottle of Dom Perignon Rose in the ice chest yet.

      It never rains in southern California, But I see some lightening in the far-away sky.

      • MrPingPong

        Dr. (Rustic Nail) Teng: may I change your paraphrase to “One small spot for Kobe, one giant leap for our beloved Lakers”?

        🙂

        • Dr. Gary Teng

          That is one damn good paraphrase of my gobbledygook. I really like it.

          Misery loves company. Although my acute manic-depression is temporarily under control, I am right now suffering nasty gangrene contracted from that Rusty Nail. 🙁

  • MrPingPong

    Well, I was off by only 12 points. Nobody’s perfect! 🙂
    LIN!

    • This game went pretty much how I expected from Lin and Lakers. I predicted that Lakers will get their first win and that Lin will play his game, due to getting plenty of time to practice finally. We’ll see if they can keep it up. So not surprised they got an easy win tonight. Lets see how they do against the Grizzlies.

      I sent a bunch of tweets to Kobe a few days ago, specifically telling him to find Lin when he’s in trouble and not try to force shots or make plays all the time. And Kobe did the best job of that he has done all season. He looked to pass it to Lin when he was double-teamed and such and it worked out well. Lin got open threes and got open lanes to drive through when Kobe did that. It worked out as i pointed out to Kobe in my tweets.

      • MrPingPong

        The Grizz plays grind out basketball, which will fit Lin and the Lakers just fine!
        🙂
        No problemo, JL17!

  • MrPingPong

    Hello Lin fans/non-fans, just making conversation here…

    Let’s forget the Grizz game and move on to the Pels game tonight. I scanned various Lakers fans sites and found the preview at Lakersnation.com quite fair and astute. I know it’s a tough back-to-back, but I always try to look for positive signs here. Let’s see…

    Hill vs Asik at C: I think Hill has become Lin’s midrange Steve Novak of some sort. I chuckled each time Hill got the ball from Lin and made his wide open shot. I think Hill will do fine against Asik, shooting from midrange.

    Booz vs AD at PF: are you kidding me? It should be ED vs AD instead. My theory as to why ED does not get to start is that ED got “Linsanitized”. By that I mean, BS has applied his Linlogic mind game to ED, reasoning that since ED does so well both offensively and defensively, he needs to come off the bench to help the bench! As a result, ED does not get to practice with Lin anymore, and the PnR chemistry between ED and Lin during preseason is diluted and perhaps gone. 🙁

    Johnson vs Evans at SF: I don’t know anything about Evans, but his numbers look ok after six games. There is a wild swing in the last two games though: he shot 7-16 in the win against the Spurs, but only 2-14 in the loss against the Cavs. I’d say it’s a toss up between these two guys.

    Kobe vs Gordon: no contest here. Now that Kobe has broken the missed shots record, he has nothing else to prove to the NBA world. Those guys at ESPN are “idiots” alright.

    Lin vs Holiday: Holiday is slowly coming back from his tibia injury last year. Lin will contain him and run circle around him, for sure.

    So there you have it, the Pels has a superior front court but our beloved Lakers has the fantastic duo, Kobe and Lin, in the back court! My fantasy: Lakers wins by 1 with ED getting a laser pass from Lin at the basket and dunking over AD at the buzzer!

    🙂

    Letzzz Gooo, JL17!

    • Thanks for the game preview, MrPingPong!

      AD is scary good. Lin’s gonna have to be careful driving into the lane tonight. Gonna have to vary his game and shoot some short jumpers.

  • MrPingPong

    A mark of Lintelligence is the ability to adapt. Lin will adapt. He needs help from Kobe though. They must work in tandem attacking the basket using their quickness to get Asik in foul trouble, eliminating one variable from the equation. AD alone will be less effective. Of course I’m delusional! 🙂

  • I just don’t get it. Can no one set a decent pick for JLin? That’s his bread and butter. Without that, all I see him do is pass the ball to Kobe. And then we have what we saw tonight. Can Ed Davis be in the game with JLin? Why did JLin have so few shot attempts (the attempts went up during garbage time)? JLin needs at least 15 shots. Plus he’s the only decent 3 point shooter.

    But of course the D is absolutely horrific. So many fast break points given up.

    My god this is so frustrating to watch.

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