So, the Hornets played game 1 vs. Heat. No surprise, Clifford was ill-prepared and refused to make in-game adjustments. Heat are a totally different team without Bosh. Much faster and they move the ball better. This is not a knock on Bosh. Just a matter of fit. Just one of those strange things, because Bosh is a player that actually helps his team win games. But with the team that the Heat currently have appear to be better without Bosh. Or maybe they need to change the makeup of the team if they want to be better with Bosh. Hard to say. Regardless, Bosh not playing hurt the Hornets and Cliff totally got schooled by Spoelstra. Before the playoffs started, I did prefer the Heat to the Hawks, but I didn’t think about how the Heat would be without Bosh. I also should have given more weight to Spoelstra, who’s a very intelligent, strategic coach with a lot of playoff experience. Right now, the Heat are playing like what I was afraid the Hawks would look like.
Hornets, of course, continue to blindly start Kemba Walker, even though Walker hasn’t had much success beating tough teams in his entire career. Yet, in Jeremy Lin’s first season with the Hornets, he managed to lead the Hornets in wins against the toughest opponents, such as the Spurs, Cavs, Raptors, and Celtics. Also, Walker is a bit of a defensive liability, especially against the taller/bigger Dragic. Of course, there’s no way Lin is starting over Walker, due to politics, so Hornets got blown out by over 30 points. What Hornets need to realize is that Walker is an under-sized shooting guard. This is why he needs so much help from Batum to run the offense. Hornets are never going to wake up to this simple fact. Oh well. Just another team I hopefully won’t have to pay any attention to next season. Although I do like a lot of the Hornets players, fan base and media. But I like Lin more and Lin’s future is not with the Hornets. So, see ya Hornets!
If Hornets want a chance at winning, they need to at least use Lin as a combo guard when Kemba is on the floor with Lin and as the sole PG otherwise. They also need to move the ball, which they didn’t at all. Lin lead the team with 3 assists, playing 24.5 minutes barely handling the ball. At this point, I’m way more excited about Lin’s off-season than the playoffs.
Today, we had some sudden and exciting news. It is reported that Kenny Atkinson will join the Brooklyn Nets as head coach. It seems that every headline I see on the story includes Jeremy Lin. Sure, Lin’s name is linked with the story of Atkinson joining the Nets as click bate, but I also think the NYC media wants to encourage the Nets to bring Lin back to NYC. It’s also their way of saying, “fuck you” to James Dolan. The NYC has continued to be positive towards Lin since Linsanity, so I have no doubt that they really want Lin to return.
As all Lin fans know, Kenny Atkinson was an assistant coach specializing in player development when Lin was with Knicks during Linsanity. Atkinson worked with Lin very closely and even went to California in the off-season to train Lin when Lin was a restricted free agent with the Knicks. Starting at the 45 second mark of this video, you can see Atkinson in the orange long-sleeve T-shirt.
I know a lot of Lin fans are attached to MDA, but I think Lin is probably closer to Atkinson than MDA. This is just a hunch on my part, though. As my most dedicated readers will know, I’m not a big MDA fan. He did pioneer the type of offensive scheme (“Seven Seconds or Less”) that the Warriors have perfected. I’ll give him that. Beyond that, if I wasn’t a Lin fan, I wouldn’t want MDA coaching any team. Like most typical coaches, he forces his players into fitting his system, rather than catering his schemes to bring out each players’ strengths. He’s a poor manager of players’ minutes, overusing only a few players and running them to death and barely using other players. His reputation is that he’s a smart X’s and O’s guy. Maybe so, but I think MDA’s offensive scheme basically amounts to finding a great PG and just letting him do his thing. Now, I have no problem with that, all I’m saying is that more credit should be given to his great PG than to himself and his X’s and O’s. I don’t think he has the ability to communicate with all of his players. I don’t see him as being very inspirational and I don’t think he has the ability to motivate his players and get the best out of them. I know Lin fans may argue otherwise,but MDA didn’t inspire Lin to be great. All he did was trust in Lin and gave Lin minutes and freedom to run the offense. Lin is great on his own.
MDA also ran Lin to the ground and overused Lin at PG. I know, Lin fans will kill me for saying that. But during Linsanity, I wanted Lin to run off screens without the ball, but MDA kept doing the same damn thing with Lin over and over. That lack of variation is what allowed LeBron and the Heat to trap Lin during Linsanity. But I don’t want to get off-track. As much as I’m not thrilled with MDA as a head coach, he’s still like the only coach that really believes in Lin. So, as a Lin fan, I’d be thrilled for MDA and Lin to re-unite. I wrote a previous article expressing excitement for Lin possibly joining the Sixers and re-uniting with MDA, but I’m even more excited about the potential of Lin joining the Nets and re-uniting with Atkinson. The Sixers may have more potential longer-term than Nets due to their young talent, picks and cap space, but I’m also a bit concerned about the front office politics and the immaturity of some of the young players. Things could get pretty messy from a politics standpoint if MDA sticks around as the assistant head coach for the Sixers. It’ll be tough for Brown, the Sixers current head coach, to run a team when he is continuing to look over his shoulder fearful of his imminent firing. Things could get a little messy is all I’m saying.
While the Nets lack picks and really young talent, I’m confident in Nets’s GM, Sean Marks, simply because he’s a Spurs product (a former assistant GM for the Spurs). I think he’ll find a way to get the pieces that will make the Nets a playoff contender. It ain’t gonna be easy though and could take some time, but it looks like the Nets are starting to head in the right direction with their hire of Marks and Atkinson, as this article from the Washington Post points out. Marks also appears to be just the type of GM to really understand and appreciate Lin’s talents, since he doesn’t appear to be the usual superstar-fucker GM. Furthermore, Atkinson is apparently beloved by a lot of players, so that could lure some key players to the Nets. For example, Al Horford, a star for the Hawks, is very close to Atkinson (who is currently the top assistant coach for the Hawks) and becomes a free agent this summer. I doubt that Horford would jump ship for the lowly Nets, though. But you never know.
Of course, you know me, being a crazy Lin fan, I think Lin can make pretty much any team a playoff contender as long as he’s given big minutes and the freedom to run the offense. Lin doesn’t need much. All he needs is to be surrounded by a bunch of unselfish players with some athletic ability. Lin proved that he can turn a mediocre team into a playoff team during Linsanity. Lin is a much more polished, skilled and mature player now than he was during Linsanity. That’s all I’m saying. It would also be great if the Nets can get some depth. That would be the other key to being a playoff contender. I’m not so concerned about getting star players to join Nets as I am getting solid unselfish players.
Again, being a crazy Lin fan, I see Lin as being THE star that the Nets should build around. they just need a season of Lin running the show to be convinced of this. Lin is a completely different player when he is given the freedom to run the offense. As Lin’s coach at Harvard, Tommy Amaker said, the biggest obstacle for Lin in the NBA is that Lin needs to lead to be successful, but Lin won’t be allowed to lead in the NBA. I’m paraphrasing, of course. When Lin is THE man, he puts up superstar stats and wins games (averaging 23 points, 8 assists and has a 74% win rate).
I say it time and time again, but the ONLY time Lin has gotten big minutes and freedom to run the show consistently is during Linsanity. Ever since then, all Lin has received is limited/inconsistent minutes and usage. As an indication of Lin’s greatness, Lin managed to average 13.4 points playing next to one of the most toxic ball-hoggers of all time, James Harden. Back then people called Lin trash, but then Ty Lawson came to Houston and only averaged 5.8 points next to Harden. Yet, people STILL don’t give Lin recognition for what Lin has accomplished with limited/inconsistent minutes and usage.
I’m not very familiar with the Nets. They do have Brook Lopez, so there’s that. Thaddeus Young also ain’t bad, but definitely not anywhere near as good as he used to be. I don’t know the story with Jarrett Jack. If Nets get Lin, will they trade Jack? Is Jack willing to back up Lin? So there is some uncertainty there. I know Jack is injured right now, but don’t know the status of his injury. Bogdanovic has had some really good games, showing some promise. If you’re a Nets fan, I would love to get some input as I don’t know much about the Nets.
The main reason I’m excited about Lin joining Nets is to re-unite with a coach that I know believes in him. That’s first and foremost. Also, Lopez as a PnR partner is better than what Lin has ever had (D-Coward doesn’t count, since Lin wasn’t the ball-handler for the Rox and Coward doesn’t like doing PnRs anyway). I also think Lin returning to NYC with a former assistant coach for the Knicks during Linsanity makes for a very compelling story. If I am the Nets owner, I’d be chomping at the bit to make this happen, purely for marketing reasons. The Knicks are vulnerable now, Nets have a real chance to take over NYC with Linsanity 2.0! Could you imagine the media storm if Linsanity 2.0 takes place with the Nets? Knicks fans would be lining up in front of Dolan’s door with pitch forks and torches. Dolan would have an ulcer. It would be the perfect story for Linsanity 2.0. You know how much I love a great story. It’s what drew me to Jeremy Lin in the first place.