Let’s Just All Calm Down Lin and Nets Fans

What happened to just sitting back and enjoying the games? Ha ha. I see too many Lin and Nets fans panicking way too early. There are so many new elements with the Nets. New management, coach, players, systems, etc. And preseason is the time to test everything out. It’s unwise to scrutinize preseason games–especially for this new look Nets team.

I see some Lin fans panicking, because they don’t see Lin handling the ball as much as he should be in Atkinson’s motion offense. And, because of all the stuff Lin fans have been through, they’re once again worried that Lin may be forced to fit into a system and not be allowed to play his game. While I understand the concern, I do think it’s way too early to panic.

Atkinson has said in interviews that he wants to establish the motion offense, even though he understands the importance of the PnR. My interpretation of this is that right now Atkinson really wants to focus on getting everyone comfortable with his motion offense system and really take advantage of preseason to practice it and get it down as much as possible. The motion offense will be Atkinson’s main system. Yes, in the motion system, Lin will be playing off the ball more. But unlike in Lin’s previous teams, Lin will get the ball back after he gives it up, because Lin’s teammates know that Lin is the main guy. So I think Lin fans get a little too carried away with their concern about Lin not being utilized properly in the motion offense. Lin playing off the ball with the Nets is not gong to be what it was like in the past.

I actually like the motion offense, because it gets everyone involved. And when everyone gets involved, that’s when you see team ball, because no one feels neglected. My main concern is that the Nets won’t incorporate enough PnRs and it’ll be too motion offense heavy. And I think this is the concern that a lot of Lin fans have, as well. But I think right now it’s way too early to really be worried about this, because I do believe that once the regular season gets under way there will be a much better mix of PnRs with motion offense. I’m also sure that Lin will handle the ball more in the regular season than he has been in preseason. Again, Atkinson’s main goal on offense right now is to really get everyone comfortable with his motion offense. I think he already knows what Lin can do in the PnR so he doesn’t want to do too much PnR in preseason, because he knows what to expect from that and it involves fewer players. Also, since the other big purpose of preseason is to evaluate players, the motion offense really allows you to do just that.

From Atkinson’s interview I linked to above, it’s clear to me that Atkinson understands the importance of the PnR and he understands the importance of Lin handling the ball. For example, he says that in critical times, they’ll run specific plays for Lin and Brook. Don’t get me wrong, Atkinson still does favor motion offense over PnRs, but once the regular season gets under way I expect that we’ll see a better balance of motion offense and PnRs.

The other thing that makes me not very worried at all this season is that I think Atkinson will be a more flexible coach. He’ll adapt his system as he has a better feel for his players and their skill sets. This will take time to figure out, so don’t expect him to keep changing the offense all the time. But I do see him as being a flexible coach. Also, Lin has an open dialogue with Atkinson so I think Lin will be able to express his frustrations more freely with Atkinson and I think Atkinson will listen. I don’t expect things to look exactly the way I want them to even once regular season starts, but I’m not worried because I know things will eventually work itself out as the season wears on.

The kind of funny phenomenon I’ve seen with Nets fans is that even though pretty much all of them expect the Nets to be pretty horrible, winning 20 games or so, they complain when the Nets look as horrible as they expect them to be. The human mind is a funny thing, man. I even saw these Nets fans complain about Nets not winning the close game against the Celtics when they played at Barclays Center. I mean this is supposed to be a 20-game win team that competed hard and almost beat a team that will likely be in the top 3 in the East and people are complaining?! I don’t get it. It’s like people expect the Nets to be horrible and complain when they’re not playing at the very highest level. Also, you can’t draw any conclusion about how the Nets played down the stretch in that close game, because Lin and other main players weren’t even in the game. Yet, I see a lot of Nets fans commenting that it’s going to be a long season when the Nets’s second unit looked bad down the stretch in that close game. I mean, what do you expect the Nets’s second unit to look like in crunch time?

To me, the Nets look how I’ve expected them to look. Flashes of brilliance as well as flashes of horrendousness.  I am predicting a 35+ win season and I think that’s pretty much what they look like. I know people will think I’m crazy for saying this, but Lin has only been playing a little over 20 minutes in the preseason, not really playing his game, and the Nets are still somewhat competitive. Imagine what will happen once Lin plays 36 minute a game and is handling the ball a lot more? I think people get too bogged down with what goes on in preseason that they lose sight of how different things could look  in the regular season.

once the regular season starts, I’ll be watching to see whether or not Atkinson starts balancing out the motion offense with some more PnRs and having Lin handle the ball more. I do still expect the Nets to be 70 percent or so motion offense so it’s not like I expect them to suddenly be doing PnRs half of the time.

My main concern on offense is that Lin will try to be too much of a facilitator. I think this is a mistake, because Lin is the best scorer on this team and if Nets want to win, Lin has to be much more of a scorer than a facilitator. I know some Lin fans will disagree, but to me Lin is more of a scoring point guard than a passing point guard and he’s at his best when he’s scoring. You’ll notice that in his big scoring games, his assists also go up. When Lin scores, that’s when his entire game opens up and that’s when he can really be effective at making plays for others. I’m concerned that Lin doesn’t want to be seen as hogging the ball and so he will want to be more of a facilitator, which is also what Atkinson appears to want Lin to be. Hopefully, sometime in the middle of the season, they’ll both come to realize that what’s best for this team is that Lin becomes more of a scoring point guard than a passing point guard.

Once again, I want to reiterate that Lin is finally where he belongs. Lin fans can sit back and enjoy the games. It’s not going to be perfect, but it’s as perfect as it can reasonably get for Lin with the Nets. Also, patience is a really good thing for this season, because it’ll take time for the players to gel and for Atkinson to really figure out a system that maximizes their strengths. If they lose a series of games, don’t panic, because they can still lose a lot of games and still end up with 35 wins, which for a lot of analysts and Nets fans would be considered a great season for the Nets. It’ll be good to keep a big-picture perspective this season and not get too lost in the game-by-game swings.

About JLintel

NOTE: On June 11, 2016 I switched the comments section to Disqus's platform. As a result, all comments from previous platform have disappeared from all articles.
  • MrP1ngP0ng

    Yep, with new management, new coach, new players, new systems, new just about everything, it is not fair to expect the team to play like a well-oiled machine in the preseason. Having said that, preseason or not, it is not fun to lose. So it understandable that nobody, fans and players alike, is happy.

    Personally, I think it will take about half of the regular season for the team to gel. And after that, they will be unstoppable. Why half? It’s just something my Ouija board told me. My Ouija board and I are always optimistic about Lin. We are predicting 40+ wins and the playoffs.

    Yeah I know it’s overly optimistic if not totally unrealistic considering the current make up of the team. But I am a Lin only fan and this is a Lin fan site. I don’t go making wild prediction on any other sites. I’m just sitting back and enjoying watching Lin run the show. So far, what I’ve been seeing is a confident and relaxed Lin playing hard on both ends of the floor and trying to get all his teammates involved.

    This upcoming season is gonna be fun, folks! 🙂

    • Yeah, half of the regular season sounds about right. I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens sooner, since they have good chemistry off the floor. and we know that Lin can make any team gel as long as he’s the one running the show. Hopefully, Atkinson lets Lin run the show more in regular season.

      I do think this team will look different once regular season gets under way and I think this team will also evolve as the season wears on. So even if they start off losing a lot of games, they’ll still end up with a decent season and playoffs is still not out of the question for me. I know it sounds delusional to say that now, but I have a bigger picture perspective and I don’t think how they look in preseason is much of an indication of how they will look in the regular season.

  • Pistolpete

    I hear you JLintel! I’m trying to just enjoy Lin finally just getting his chance and excelling which is what he has done so far in preseason. That being said it is frustrating to watch some things that are being done (or not done) so far. Just trying to be patient with the process however. Hopefully we’ll see the starters and rotation players playing more against the Knicks. It’s really hard at this point to predict how they will do this year because of some of the lineups that have been used so far. The encouraging thing is the starters always seem to keep the game close but then KA inserts 3rd stringers and we get blown out. I think Lin is going to have to average 36 minutes a game for the Nets to be competitive.

    • Yeah, I think Lin should be averaging around 36 minutes. I get the feeling Atkinson is not the type of coach to over-use his players, so we’ll see. But I think 36 minutes is not over-using. We’ll see if Atkinson agrees.

  • LinsanityFan4

    Well, I hope they win the “for real” opening game against the Celtics with Lin running the show. I’m running out of patience with all the losing in preseason. Irrational, I know. Where the other teams are smoothing out the kinks, we’re still trying out the players.

    Come to think of it, the Knicks bench during the Linsanity run must be doing an OK job keeping them in the game while Lin was resting. The unsung heroes.

    As it stands, it seems the starters will likely be Lin, Lopez, RHJ, Booker and Bojan (defense issue).
    That leaves Vasquez, Scola, Foye, Kilpatrick, Harris and Hamilton (plus LeVert – health issue, and Ferrell – defense issue) for the bench, which should be sufficient if they can start working together asap.

    The problem is that players’ roles have remained in limbo for so long that they could not clearly visualize how they could / should fit in with one another. As MrP1ngP0ng said, no “well-oiled machine in the preseason”.

    We all know Lin valued Ed Davis as a good pick-and-roll partner. Hopefully, Brook can be as good if not better. (secret weapon? out-of-sight thus far)

    As a long suffering Linsanity fan, I hope they will really let Lin run the show this time, so that we can have “Linsanity Unleashed”. (For the uninitiated, the original Linsanity run was cut short after Carmelo returned from injury.)

    It’s clear that many Lin-only fans are looking forward to the second coming of Linsanity, despite what Lin and Lin experts have said – this being a different situation and all.

    So (cliche) – Let the Games Begin !!

  • PoweredByRice

    I think people need to readjust their expectations of the # of wins the Nets will realistically have. As we saw from the pre-season games, the minute Lin leaves the floor the defense falls apart and the opposing team goes on a scoring run…and this is with scrubs on both sides playing.

    The lack of a bench will really hurt the Nets and I think the existing estimate of 20 wins is probably accurate. We can hope for 30, but saying that the Nets will make the playoffs is highly unlikely at this point. Lin will get his minutes and his points, but his high usage rate is going to wear him down towards the end of the season if nobody else can step up to help.

    • Pistolpete

      Hopefully the preseason will not be a good indicator on how they will do this season. It’s really hard to tell because KA did a lot of player evaluation and was not playing to win. Even their last preseason game he only played Booker 15 minutes and Lopez 18. It does look to me however that they have a glut of pg/sf types who are good shooters but not great on defense. On the other hand they have a lack of good defending, rebounding big men. Scola is old. Hamilton can’t defend and Bennet hasn’t looked good. What happens if Booker or Lopez gets hurt? I think they need to trade for a backup big man.
      I have a big concern about starting Foye over Bojan or Harris. Foye is at the end of his career and his shooting has been off for over a year. He is a good backup but should not see starter minutes. On the other hand Bojan is in the prime years of his career and Harris is young and a deadly shooter. Their offense is heavily dependent on the 3 pointer but their starting team has only one reliable 3 point shooter (Lin). They need at least one more good shooter in the starting lineup.

      • I also don’t like Foye as a starter. I prefer Harris. Now that Foye is injured, either Harris or Bojan will get the chance to start at least for the first game. My hope is that Harris will start and prove himself enough that he will stay the starter and Foye moves to the backup role.

        • pistolpete

          Harris was spectacular in preseason shooting over 60% on threes and Bojan also shot a high percentage. I don’t know what happens in practice but they sure looked good in games. I think very highly of KA but sometimes coaches seem to get blind spots on players. Last year Clifford started PJ Hairston instead of Lin at SG and now he’s not even in the league.

  • Excellent article and video about Jeremy Lin’s rise and a discussion of racism towards people of Asian decent in America by Andrew Keh: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/26/sports/basketball/jeremy-lin-nba-brooklyn-nets.html?smid=tw-share

  • Linfan123

    Very disheartening first game. I know its early, but so many things I dont like already!
    1. Jeremy Lin gets 27 minutes, Vasquez gets 18, Kilpatrick 22? Seriously might as well be back in Charlotte or LA to get 27 minutes. Not exactly face of the franchise type PT. (He was pulled with almost 4 minutes to go presumably because the game was out of hand…but many coaches will leave their starter/star player in to protect their stats) No such luck for Jeremy so he finishes just shy of 20 when he could have easily got there if left in to do so.
    2. When they were still in the game Kenny benched him literally right after he made a 3! Again no feel for how the game is going or how Jeremy’s game flows. Hey Lin just hit a three….lets bench him.
    3. Lopez stinks. Too slow and unathletic.
    4 Jeremy had a good game, but was once again held back by his own coach. Its early I know but not good signs at all tonight.

    • Sage

      –I thought Lin was going to run the show and be the starter. I looked at the box score and he didn’t start and only got 27 minutes.
      –I live in New York. Maybe I should put off buying any Brooklyn Nets tickets. It looks like the same old same old.

      • Sage

        RE Starting. I looked at another box score and he was starting. Sigh. I guess I am a beat down fan.

  • Pistolpete

    I’m worried about KA as a coach. The bench made a great run against Boston’s reserves but with 2 minutes left Boston put their starters back in and KA left Lin on the bench. Then with 17 seconds left and down only 3 he put Lin back in who passed to Hamilton for a missed 3 pointer. At this point he pulled Lin out of the game and inserted Whitehead!?? This told Lin he had more confidence in some rookies defense. Incredible – reminds me of his former coaches.
    Kenny also had set minutes for Lin to play and didn’t adjust to the flow of the game. In the first Q he took Lin out with 4 minutes left and the put him back in with 8 minutes left in the 2nd quarter. It seems he had a plan to play Jeremy 32 minutes. Problem is in the 3rd Q Lin got hot and hit 2 3’s in a row. But just after that he pulled Lin out because he had played 8 minutes and it was time for him to sit. So instead of riding your hot hand he took him out because of a pregame plan. By the time Lin got back in they were down 20.

    • MrP1ngP0ng

      I think KA was about to throw in the towel with 4 minutes left in the game. He did not expect Whitehead and CMC to bring in such high defensive energy. He went with the “hot hands,” playing Bogs, Harris and Ham heavy minutes. I watched the highlights showing the “crazy” ending. I have no problem with the Hot Hand Ham taking the last shot. I guess KA thought Ham’s hand was hotter than Lin’s! 🙂

      It’s basketball and it’s fun! Let’s keep rooting for the underdogs! And that includes KA! KA is a rookie and is an underdog!

      • Pistolpete

        I like KA a lot because he was a key person in developing Lin before Linsanity and he believed enough in Lin to bring him to the Nets as their starting point guard. Both things are huge and Lin I’m sure is very grateful to KA. I’m hoping that he is going to improve substantially as a head coach. Pulling Lin last night in the 3rd Q after he had just hit 2 3 pointers because he had played his allotted 8 minutes was amateurish. They were down 8 points at the time and when he put Lin back in with 7 minutes left in the game they were down 20.
        Lopez was their leading scorer last year at 20 points a game yet the coach has not made any effort to incorporate him into the offense except to shoot 3 pointers. You must adjust your offense and defense based upon the personnel you have. So far I have not seen this.
        The only reason Foye did not start last night was because he was injured. This is another example of playing a system that does not fit your personnel. Last year Foye made 30% of his 3 pointers and in preseason he made 27% yet the offense they are running is heavily dependent on shooting 3’s but only one starter is a decent 3 point shooter.
        I’m REALLY hoping KA improves or he may be replaced. Then who knows what might happen to Lin?

        • MrP1ngP0ng

          Pulling Lin after he made two consecutive treys goes against my “go with the hot hand” theory, doesn’t it! 🙂

          Let’s see if KA will have Lopez camping out to shoot 3’s in the next game. If that happens, the Nets are in deep doo doo.

          Speaking of Foye, ‘dunno if he will be ready for game #2 or not, but if he suits up for the game, then I would like to see Vasquez in a suit on the bench, allowing Whitehead to play and develop instead.

          • pistolpete

            Whitehead would be an upgrade on defense for sure but what I saw in summer league and preseason was that he doesn’t have the feel for running an offense. Backup point guard looks like a problem and I don’t see a solution right now. When Foye gets better he’d probably be the best fit but KA seems determined to start him at shooting guard. So then you have 1 starter who can make 3’s. (The gang that couldn’t shoot straight).

  • Pistolpete

    Oh well I guess I just have to enjoy watching Lin and being grateful he’s a starter now. Otherwise I’ll just drive myself and others crazy. Ken is a rookie coach and hopefully he’ll be a quick learner.

    • MrP1ngP0ng

      Yep, it’s a really really tough job for a rookie coach to figure out how to make things work with 10 new players who have never played together before this season. We need to be patient here and hope that KA learns fast and adapts.

      There are 81 games left. Plenty of time! Let’s enjoy watching Lin running the show! 🙂

  • MrP1ngP0ng

    I was only able to watch the first three quarters. From what I’ve read, the Nets 2nd and 3rd stringers put up a valiant fight in the last four minutes and almost pulled it off! Hats off to them.

    Lin played OK, not spectacular, just OK by Lin’s standards. Lin needs to play spectacular for the Nets to win against good teams at this early stage of the season. My Ouija board says that will happen in the upcoming Pacers game!

    Smile, be patient and enjoy watching Lin running the show, folks!

  • MrP1ngP0ng

    In case you haven’t read it, check this out. Howard Beck is one heck of a sports writer, IMOO.