Twenty games after joining Charlotte Hornets, Jeremy Lin and other teammates for some moment performed like a little brother of Golden state warriors who tried to copy their brothers’ playing style, dynamic Mike D’Antoni’s offense system. Pistons were confused and did not act like their anticipated such change in Hornet’s “cold-tuned-down Walker” offense. Instead of fending off cutting and penetration, they spend more energy try to stop Hornets’ offense from beyond the arc. Walker was reported sick and maybe that was the reason Jeremy Lin was brought on the court earlier this time in first quarter. Jeremy Lin was allowed to run the offense more frequent this time, though far from what many of Lin fans wished for. Lin ended up playing more than 26 minutes and Hornet beat Piston by 20. The versatility of Lin on both end of the court was just a small showcase of what Lin is capable of. However, Walker checked in the 4th quarter after Hornets established 20 points lead. This was quite unusual act by any coach who was fully aware of the fact that your franchise player was sick. On a side note, Reggie Jackson, the Piston’s starting PG (90 mil. dollar) was held at 2/9, guarded by Lin most of the time.
Déjà Vu? There were numerous games in which when a ball dominant player played less minutes and was either told to have someone taking over ball handling job or did not have enough energy to assume ball handlers’ job most of the time, if Lin was that player who were given green light to run the offense. The end results often were blow-out game against other teams. There were many instances like this when Lin was with Rockets, or Lakers, one of the most recent memorable one was when Kobe turned himself down and somehow ended up with the same score as Jeremy Lin against Charlotte Hornets.
Lin being a consultant to the team.
We generally understand who consultants are and what their work involves. Consultants work on specialized task, teach and guide employees who do not possess such skills and knowledge and once they are done with their work, they are let go in most cases. Teams, like Lakers, used Lin as if he was a consultant last year. Byron Scott, in fact, understands where Lin excels. However, he and Lakers’ FO do not have long term plan for acquiring Lin as their key player. Their plan for Lin, like hiring a consultant, is a short one. The general purpose of acquiring him, besides lottery pick, was to help grow young players who they decided to invest in. J. Clarkson is just one of the example. Clarkson initially did not see floor minute but later in the season, then towards the end of last season, he became the designated PG in most games. Clarkson was first known to be score first guard type and Lakers franchise needed him to grown into a guard who can pass. So we witnessed his assist and playing style changed towards what Lakers projected, of course with Nash’s guide and Lin’s live lesson, it should have helped.
Linsanity – the term coined by biased cause
Linsanity, it is a fundamentally incorrect term bound with Lin’s “amazing” story with New York Nicks. Why it was amazing? Why it should be amazing? Why Lin’s performance was insane? It was simple. Most American public media, NBA, colleague basketball team, scout and general public have been stereotyping against Asian. If you dig deeper, in fact, Lin since high school had proven himself as a great basketball player but most people in the circle just choose to ignore, a.ka. igorant.
It is as simple as that “People just aren’t used to seeing Asians do certain things,” Jeremy said.
The adverse effect of Linsanity on Lin.
Like any performance competition, if a participant came out very strong in his/her first performance, people tend to expect they do that on a regular basis and even get better as time goes on. Nevertheless, people forgot the fact that one’s performance depends on not only one’s ability but also many other factors, equal chance of performing, environment, team composition, playing style, just to name a few. Since Lin’s ride with Rockets, his chance of performing decreased by a ton. So expecting he keeping on his stats like he was with Nicks is just plain naïve.
This might explain why Lin personally expressed that he wanted to get away from Linsanity during that time. Linsanity became a so heavy that affected his game greatly despite awful coaching by McFail.
Confirmation bias playing at its best.
When Lin no longer had the right to run offense in most of the games, his stats declined, Lin haters and doubters including many sports media were so zealous and decided to celebrate their reclaimed self-esteem and pride. There were countless article stating or indicating Linsanity, in this case, Lin, was a fluke. He was just lucky enough to have such run in two weeks. To them, Linsanity was an anomaly, an accident, a nightmare that they wish it did not even happen. Ya, Lin was labeled inconsistent, weak on defense, indecisive, by many, while they forget coach’s horrendous treatments including Lin’s minutes, role assignment, marginalization.
In spite of all these brain-washing activities in hope to turn people’s perception against Lin through out three years, Jeremy prevailed and had been working on improving his game, fixing his weakness and refining his strength.
Ironically, there were many cases, from various sources, in which same kind of folks who claim it was a small sample size to judge Lin’s basketball skill now choose to ignore stats.
Linsanity is a norm
What happened three years back in New York was just a crack on a shield of darkness, a broken colored glasses which allowed us to see what Lin as a basketball player truly is capable of. Time and time again, we’ve seen it in many games when he was given free pass to run the team, be the floor general, be the “PG”, his team’s winning ratio far exceeded expectation. Day light is always out side of the windows, but if you choose to put curtain on forever, you will never realize it is there.
Uniqueness of Lin’s basketball game
Lin is best known for his first step quickness, ability to finish at the rim, excellent court vision and greater passer. These traits on Lin were just like a tip of the ice berg. It is easy to judge a player by simply looking up his so-called main stats. points per game, assist per game etc. In reality, basketball game is far more than these number. In order to make an impact in the game as a player, one can do a lot of other things that affect the final outcome of the game. Lin nowadays is an upgraded version over the days of New York Nicks. He’s up his defensive game and turned himself into a defensive specialist, he is stronger physically, he learned to control the tempo, his ball handling and FG% have been steadily improving into elite level. His understanding of basketball game has grown huge. Most importantly, he possesses skill that is rarely found in many great basketball players in history. It is when he is the designated floor general; he can take his team into the next level. He could make scrub players play like decent players, he could make second class team play like first, sometime like an all star, as we have seen enough through these years. Moreover, He could even make first class team play like super class team, in theory. As long as his coach, his teammates trust him and respect his game. In addition to that, why many Lin fans find his game is so fun, exciting to watch? Part of it may be due to many of his play is fast paces, but out side of the box, there is one more trait in his game, that is creativity. He is so creative in a way that he had revolutionized pro basketball. Many of us could not imagine how could he thought of such a play for him and his teammates. He is already in a one of the kind special player state that still leave many of us scratching our heads. Call it magic or whatever, he is not only player maker but also inventor. Ironically, this is where shallow statistic usually fail to realize such decisive contribution to team’s Win/Loss ratio. Many may wonder why he is capable of doing that? In other words, like others mentioned, high basketball IQ, or player with a brain of a coach. For instance, we have seen in some incidents he took over McFail’s coach job by doing white boarding and drew play in the critical moments. On top of that, today’s Lin is way beyond personal stats, he can care much less about his stats, because not only stats are just a small part of a game, he can affect game and turn the tide against opposing team by many other way unseen by stats. Probably for him, the only stat that matters to him is “Win the game now.”
Make him fit or you pass it, a crossroad challenge to Hornet
It appeared Hornets stole Lin this season was simply using him as a consultant in order to help grow young players, improve outside shooting threat, and perhaps put some pressure onto Walker in hope that he improves his “PG skills.” It seemed successful so far, but what may have surprised Hornets FO were the facts that besides his stellar defensive effort since the beginning of this season, whenever Lin involved more and given more chance to run the offense, Hornets were playing as if they are close cousin of Golden State Warriors. The answer to that is just that simple, use Lin the right way as much as you possibly can, Mike D’Antoni’s style.
Jeremy Lin has made himself all around basketball player as many of us witnessed. On pretty much all counts, He is clearly the best and most efficient combo guard on Hornets roaster, regardless of his pay grade. Don’t forget that his unique ability to upgrade Hornet’s game. Apparently, coach Clifford’s usage of Lin has been quite small and consider Lin was used mainly for defensive purpose, in which case his full offensive talent has not been explored by Clifford, and Hornet is now a top 5 team in Eastern Conference. Imagine where Hornets may be if Lin is unleashed. Hornets are at the crossroad in deciding whether or not to change its long terms strategy to start embracing and making Jeremy as part of their long term picture.