Jeremy Lin fans call Lin “Mr. 4th Quarter”. There’s a very clear reason for this. I suspect that if you calculate Jeremy Lin’s field goal percentage in overtime and with 4 minutes or less in the game when his team is +/- 8 points, then you will realize that Lin ranks as one of the highest if not the highest on this stat. This is one of the reasons Jeremy Lin is a star-caliber player, because he wants the ball in his hands when the game is on the line and he’s got ice in his veins. Remember all the game winners during Linsanity (the ONLY time in Jeremy Lin’s NBA career in which he’s utilized properly consistently)?
It’s almost comical how this was clearly illustrated in the last three Hornets games. Let’s see, Jeremy Lin was utilized properly in the Cavs game, of course due to an injury to the starting point guard, since that’s the ONLY way Jeremy Lin gets used properly is out of desperation. It’s no coincidence that it was due to lots of injuries and a desperate coach that Linsanity was born, but I digress. Getting back to the comedy of Lin’s life as an NBA player. So in the Cavs game, Lin got his first start in Charlotte as a PG and took over the game in crunch time to seal the victory over the Cavs. In the next game against the Heat (a much worse team than the Cavs), Lin only got to play 16 minutes w/o handling the ball much and sat out most of the 4th quarter and the Hornets “star players” (Walker and Batum) ended up turning the ball over during crunch time, while Lin sat on the bench, and the Hornets ended up losing a winnable game. In last night’s game against the Wizards, Jeremy Lin ended up making back-to-back baskets in crunch time and Hornets pulled out a close win. Here’s a great summary from Greg at Sportige in his write up about yesterday’s game: “…what did Lin do after a rough game in which he scored just two points on 1-of-3 from the field up to that point? First was his penetration and score to put the Hornets up by three points following a Kemba Walker miss (he missed again on the following possession nearly losing the lead for the Hornets), easily carving up the lane for the basket. His second and probably biggest contribution was his three pointer from the corner, as Nicolas Batum drew a lazy double team and Lin didn’t wait for the defense to realize he was wide open to hit it with 29 seconds left in the game, giving the Hornets a 104-100 lead…”
As a Jeremy Lin fan, I feel like I’m surrounded by climate change deniers or something. There’s clear evidence that whenever Jeremy Lin is utilized properly (i.e., has the ball in his hands), his team has a significantly higher chance of winning games, but people refuse to look at the data and continue to believe whatever they want to believe. I suspect that if you calculated Jeremy Lin’s winning percentage whenever he plays 32+ minutes a game with a high usage rate, you’ll realize that Lin has one of the highest winning percentages in the league. I’d do these calculations myself if I was adept at number crunching. I know it sounds hypocritical for me to say people need to look at the data and I’m not providing any data. I’ve been following Lin’s game very closely ever since Linsanity (except during half of his season with the Lakers), so I have a very good idea of what the data would suggest, Thus, I’m confident that these numbers would back me up. If I wasn’t confident, I wouldn’t bring up these numbers and suggest that people, who are more adept with number crunching, calculate them.
Jeremy Lin needs the ball in his hands period. But this is especially true during the 4th quarter and when the game is on the line. Time and time again, Lin wills a win during crunch time. Sure, he won’t do it ALL the time, because no one does, and he’ll make mistakes, but he’ll do it a significantly higher percentage than most. Somehow, Jeremy Lin finds a way to win in crunch time. It’s in his DNA and it is one of the things that make him a star-caliber player.
Everyone remembers Lin’s game winner vs. the Raptors on Valentines day during Linsanity. But what most people forget is that Lin was having a very rough night up until the 4th quarter. Here’s a reminder for those who may have forgotten:
What most forget is that even during Linsanity, Lin wasn’t consistent for all four quarters of each of those games. Lin would have rough starts but, because he is treated like a star player and given the minutes, usage rate and trust of a good starting PG, he ends up with star stats and wins games. Another example during LInsanity is a game versus the Sixers. In that game, Lin also struggled throughout most of it, but ended up scoring something like 16 in the 4th with something like 8 straight points in crunch time to win the game. In fact, a lot of star players have games where they would struggle early on in the game only to turn it up in the second half and that’s one of the reasons star players have consistently good stats. Jeremy Lin has the makings of being a star, he just needs the minutes, usage rate and trust worthy of a starting PG.
I’m always reminded of something very wise that Jeremy LIn’s coach at Harvard, Tommy Amaker, said. He said that the problem with Jeremy Lin’s success in the NBA is that Lin needs to be the leader on the floor in order to be effective. But most in the NBA won’t give him this role, so that’s going to be a huge obstacle for Lin in the NBA. Well, that statement has been very prophetic for Jeremy Lin’s time in the NBA so far.