Although the IDEA of Price starting over Lin should be SHOCKING, the news that came out that BS (an apt abbreviation for Byron Scott) will start Price over Lin came as no surprise at all to Lin fans, after how Lin has been treated so far by BS, as well as how Lin has been treated by McHale and Woodson.
You can talk about fit all you want, but if Price was on ANY team, Price would not start under ANY circumstance. Hell, price has no business of playing the minutes that he has been playing thus far as a back up Point Guard. Price currently averages 20.7 minutes. Price’s career average is around 12 minutes, which is equivalent to his average last season. People are going to make thee same tired arguments about fit, defense, etc.but these arguments are misguided and disturbing, which I outline in a previous blog before the season even started.
Before, the argument for relegating Lin to the bench was that they needed scoring with Nick Young out. Well, now Nick Young is back, so there goes that argument. Then, of course, you get the usual defense reasons for benching Lin, which is completely misguided, because Lin is actually an underrated defense. Here’s an article that goes into it. And even if you blind yourself to the truth of Lin’s defense, his defense is not so bad that it would warrant starting a PG of Price’s caliber. When it comes to benching Lin, if it’s not this reason it’s another reason. People just make up whatever seems plausible either because they’ve been misguided or because of their own biases (conscious or unconscious) of Jeremy Lin.
I mean, if we’re talking fit, then Lin doesn’t fit much better with Nick Young than he does with Kobe. Sure, it MIGHT be a little better but is that worth decreasing Lin’s minutes even more in favor of increasing Price’s minutes by making Price the starter? The bottom line is that starting is important. There are only a few instances in which the back up plays more minutes and closes out games. I go into this in more detail in a post I wrote before the season even started here.
Also, if we’re really serious about fit, then why has BS made a concerted effort to avoid putting Lin and Davis together at all costs, even though they have clear chemistry together? Also if Lin and Kobe don’t mesh, then why has BS made a concerted effort to play Lin and Kobe nearly 100% of the time together (I actually think it’s exactly 100%, but just said “nearly” just to be on the safe side), rather than at least try to stagger their minutes a little. And BS could have very easily staggered Kobe’s and Lin’s minutes and it would have made total sense in the flow of the game. But has been doing the thing that actually makes no sense and going against the natural flow of the game in order to purposely pair Kobe with Lin 100% of the time. Let me illustrate this for you so you can see what I’m talking about.
BS takes Lin out in the 1st and 3rd quarters consistently around the 3 to 4 minute mark. Then he checks Lin back in in the 2nd and 4th quarters around the 6 minute mark. BS plays Kobe nearly the ENTIRE 1st and 3rd quarters and checks Kobe back often BEFORE he checks Lin back in. From a pure player rest standpoint, this makes absolutely no sense. Why is Lin resting 9 minutes between quarters? There’s no need for that. At the most Lin should be resting 6 minutes between quarters. So if BS would just manage Lin’s minutes appropriately and not sit Lin out an unnecessarily long period of time, then Lin would have 6 minutes per game playing without Kobe. In other words, if BS was SO CONCERNED about Kobe and Lin not meshing and that’s why Lin is being relegated to the bench, then his management of Lin’s and Kobe’s minutes did not communicate that. In fact, BS went out of his way to pair Lin and Kobe together at all cost. Even at the cost of simple logic.
So, again, all of these arguments about fit are misguided if you look beyond the surface. Unfortunately, a lot of people only see the surface of things. If we’re trying to win games, then the Lakers are doing the opposite of what is needed by relegating Lin to the bench. The BIGGEST and MOST OVERLOOKED mistake the Lakers have actually been making is their mismanagement of Lin’s minutes and usage. If they simply increase Lin’s minutes and usage, the Lakers would win a ton MORE games.
So Price starting over Lin is either about this disturbing effort to relegate Lin to the bench, due to a bias against Lin (which the media keeps pretending doesn’t exist). Or there may be another conspiracy, which I go into here.
The gist of the conspiracy idea is that the Lakers want to keep Lin as their back up PG of the future, primarily because of Lin’s marketability. I didn’t buy into this conspiracy theory until Lin’s very odd benching in the 4th vs. the Celtics, in which Lin was 5 of 8 from the field with 14 points in 19 minutes, I’m finally buying into the conspiracy theory that I’ve been resisting. That benching vs. Celtics didn’t jive with how BS has been managing Lin’s minutes all season. The only other explanation for the odd benching (aside from this conspiracy theory) is that BS was testing out starting lineups.
Of course, the Lakers wouldn’t be playing these games if they were actually looking to win. But they’re not. The Lakers are looking to tank. This might not have been the plan until maybe the Timberwolves game. That’s when some crazy things started happening, like benching Lin in the 4th even though Lin was the best Lakers of the night. Basically, what the Lakers org cares about this season are the following:
- Kobe gets his stats and finishes off his career strong (that’s why they keep Kobe in there during garbage time if Kobe hasn’t achieved good stats).
- Lakers lose enough so they get the #5 pick, but not too much so that they lose the pick to Phoenix.
- Keeping Lin in check so Lin does poorly and won’t get attractive offers from other teams and they can retain Lin as their back up PG of the future. Also, they don’t want Lin ruining their tank plans by playing to win.
The Lakers also want to seem like they’re trying to do things to win so as to still keep fans interested and not incite fans who are against tanking. So they’ll make lineup changes and pretend to be upset and such. But these lineup changes are all part of their strategy to lose, showcase Kobe, and undermine Lin so they can keep Lin.
Anyway, the conspiracy theory goes something like this. Unlike other NBA owners, the Lakers is the Buss’s primary source of income. In other words, making money is especially important to the Lakers’s owners. So the Lakers really want to keep Lin, because Lin is a big marketing asset—especially after Kobe retires. They don’t see Lin as a starter, though, so they’re trying to do whatever they can in their power to make it so that other teams only see Lin as a back up. That way when free agency rolls around, Lin will only be getting offers to be the back up PG for other teams. And the Lakers hope that after considering everything, Lin decides that he’d rather be a back up for the Lakers than for other teams, since Lin enjoys residing in LA and Lin likes the LA fan base.
I think the Lakers’s strategy is going to work, because it’s going to be very hard to shine with less than 20 minutes per game. I don’t care how great you are. Getting less than 20 minutes a game is going to make a player inconsistent. Minutes are the most important thing to a player’s game. So it’s going to be very tough for Lin, going forward, to really showcase what he can do and other GMs will be laughed at if they give Lin an attractive offer (not just for money but for Lin to be their starter, which is way more important than the money).
But I’m counting on the fact that Lin will feel so disrespected by the Lakers for starting Price over him (anyone in Lin’s position would feel disrespected) that he will chose to leave no matter what.
I encourage Jeremy Lin fans to spread the word about this, so that word gets out to other NBA owners/GMs/coaches about what the Lakers are doing so Lin may still get attractive offers in the off season. If you have Twitter, tweet owners/GMs/coaches/media/etc. to spread the word! Not to be self-promoting, but since these arguments are pretty complicated to make under Twitter’s 140 character limit, I would encourage you to share my articles via social media. This one that I’m writing here is probably the most comprehensive, because it touches on the bias, as well as the conspiracy theory, since we don’t know which it is still. But it is definitely one of these two things. People who try to explain Lin’s benching by giving basketball reasons may mean well, but they’re misguided, as I’ve pointed out here and in previous posts.