Tag Archives: NY Knicks

Jeremy Lin’s deadly set of offensive weapons

By now, the story of Jeremy Lin has been beyond well documented and most are well aware of what he has done for the Knicks, coming out of nowhere from blah blah blah. Let me spare all the formalities of discussing his background and get straight to the point.

Jeremy Lin is unstoppable on offense.

That sentiment is not a hyperbole. I have discussed Lin’s qualities as a point guard here, but did not previously have enough games to evaluate his abilities as an offensive weapon. Point guards, or any guard for that matter, don’t usually possess the type of all around skill sets Lin has shown purely from a scoring stand point. It’s not unfair to say this aspect of his game has been somewhat overlooked because of the focus on how well he can or cannot run the team as the point guard. Lets look at all the combination of qualities he has displayed on the offensive end thus far.

1. Blow by first step – I have yet to see a single player that can stay in front of Lin on isolation situations. This allows him to consistently create for himself (and others of course). Contrary to what he does for the team, no one else really creates any shots for Lin.

2. Consistent mid-range jump shot – Early word was that he had a spotty jump shot. It’s safe to say that that’s been proven wrong with consistent playing time. He has shot 23-of-38 for a robust 60.5% from 10 feet to the 3-point line on the season

3. Long range jump shot – Since taking over the starting job, Lin has shot 38.5% from 3-point range going 10-of-26 in the span of eight games, including a game winning dagger against the Raptors

4. Step back jump shot – His ball handling, including cross-over and hesitation, allows him to create separation to get a shot off at any time.

5. Quick release – It’s not a coincidence that not many defenders can bother Lin’s shot. Click the link for details.

6. Floater in the paint – He knows when to take the floater when the defense fails to recover on time instead of trying to finish at the basket every time with a hand in the face. Many point guards fail at this part of the game, as the mid-range game is one of the toughest to master.

7. A strong finisher at the rim – The guy can flat out finish baskets with either hand, a valuable asset for point guards. He has converted 35-of-60 shots at the rim including two dunks, good for 58% on the season.

8. Create contact and finish – This is where his underrated size comes into play. At 6’3″ and 200lbs, he can take a solid hit from the biggest players in the world and still finish at the rim. Lin already has 12 and-one plays. His aggressive style of play often forces the whistle(though still not enough in my opinion) to be blown. This means two things: get the opposition in foul trouble, and get to the line consistently. As a starter, he has averaged over 8 attempts per game from the free throw line. Converting them is another story (70.8%).

9. Shot selection – How often do you see a player taking an absolutely ill-advised shot? Too often by my count. Just about every shot he takes comes from what the defense gives him rather than because he is on a hot streak. No “heat check” shots from Lin.

10. Fearless and clutch – As good as Lin has been, he saves the best for last. In the fourth quarter, he has shot 29-of-54 for 53.7%, besting his first three quarters by nearly 6%. He becomes a tougher offensive player when the moment gets bigger.

At the end of the day, we have a point guard who, through the first 8 starts of his career, has led his team to a 7-1 record shooting 50.7% from the field and averaged 25 points on 17.8 attempts per game.

Usually, you don’t want your point guard to shoot nearly 18 times per game. When he converts more than 50% of them, however, it becomes a necessity to utilize it. Indeed, among all starting point guards that attempts at least 10 shots per game, Lin’s field goal percentage trails only the player he is often compared to these days:  Steve Nash. We’ve seen the criticism of heavy shooting point guards such as Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose in the past for shooting too much at times, but they’d get far less criticism if they converted 50% or more of those shots.

It takes a truly cerebral and special offensive talent to possess and execute so many weapons. From a scoring stand point, he is one of the most sound players we have seen in a long time at the point guard position. His passing is very good, turnovers and all, but his ability to find players largely stems from what he can do offensively. It should be difficult to figure out when to shoot and when to pass when you are so efficient at such a young age, but again, he has found a way to to do both based on what the defense gives him. As he often says about the opposition’s defense, “something has to give”.

If Lin can bring up his free throw percentage, look out. Anyone that wonders whether Lin can continue to play well with the return of Carmelo Anthony, ask yourselves if his skill sets are suddenly going to disappear. As long as the ball starts with Lin, we will continue to witness a special talent evolve before our eyes. Because of Lin, the Knicks are contenders in the making this season. This season.

I’ll save that for another day though.

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Jeremy Lin is the real deal

There are many skeptical analysts and fans about the sensation that is Jeremy Lin. There is certainly some logic/reason for this, as the sample size is simply too small and two to three games does not make a player.

I questioned whether he could sustain such a high level of play after hisfirst sensational game against the NJ Nets. Logic and history suggested that once teams actually prepare for him and adjust defensively, he would struggle. Still, like most, I believed the Knicks at the very least found a temporary solution until they can get Baron Davis back.

After watching Lin lead the Knicks as a starter for two more convincing victories, however, I am now fully convinced that a star has been born.

What I am not sold on are those that claim that Lin is one of the following:  fluke, competent, solid second stringer, and regress to the mean(whatever that means).

There are eight(considered a lucky number in Chinese culture) strong reasons to believe Lin’s accomplishments are far from a fluke or a one week wonder:

1. Sees the floor and understands developing plays, as well as knowing who to pass to in what situation

2. Excellent decision maker on the pick and roll and executes the pass

3. Excellent ball handler; keeps dribble alive and low; effective hesitation dribble

4. Plays at a controlled and comfortable pace and stays patient. Stays within the flow of the game

5. Ability to score and finish at the rim with a variety of moves makes him a multidimensional asset

6. Defensively sound and gets after it; good help defender

7. Size. At 6’3″ and 200lbs, he is actually one of the bigger point guards in the league with deceptive athleticism and quickness

8. Selfless. Lack of ego allows him to only care about the correct plays instead of focusing on any personal agenda on the floor

The qualities listed aren’t flukes or the result of a hot streak. They are permanent qualities that aren’t going to suddenly disappear. The description of his qualities formulate to a point guard that can dominate games if given the reigns.

He has been given the reigns.

Mike D’Antoni certainly seems to agree, and what he thinks is relevant because none of this happens if D’Antoni doesn’t give Lin a chance to play. And so much of the NBA is about the chance and opportunity to showcase talent.

Mike D’Antoni:  “I think it’s for real. The things that are real are his vision, which won’t change; his speed, which won’t change; his knowledge of the game, which won’t change. I think it can only get better.”

Some of Lin’s weaknesses include the following:  a suspect jump shot, lack of range, and weak going to the left. The fact of the matter is, there is no player that doesn’t have weaknesses. Everyone has flaws, and to write off a player because of certain weaknesses would be a mistake. I remember when doubt rose about a certain Frenchman point guard that could not shoot consistently early in his career. How did that turn out?

Another argument brought up is the fact that Lin’s ridiculous streak of dominance came against terrible teams. The problem with that argument is the Knicks have been one of those terrible teams. They were supposed to be astronomically bad when both Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony were lost for various reasons. It was supposed to be the reason for why the Knicks would lose games in their absence, not an excuse for why Lin would dominate because of it.

Of the three games Lin dominated, two of them were mostly played with the following lineup:  Lin, Fields, Walker, Jeffries, Chandler. On paper, it is arguably one of the worst if not the worst NBA lineup in the league. Lin should be praised the way he praises the Lord for winning despite such dire circumstances. Anyone simply looking at who the Knicks played to get the wins isn’t looking at the circumstances of why the Knicks should not have won.

The one argument I can agree with is the fact that he is unlikely to continue this torrid pace. He has averaged 25 points, 3.7 rebounds and 8.3 assists on a blistering 58% from the field. Though that likely wraps him up for a player of the week honors, it would be foolish to believe those are sustainable averages especially when the starters come back.

Just because he can’t sustain those types of numbers, it does not mean he can’t sustain a dominant level of play which is what matters the most. He does not have to average 25 points per game to be as equally as effective as he has been.

Remember, this is not some 29 year old from overseas that is about to pass his prime. He is only a second year player at the age of 23 with an accomplished background. There are reasons to doubt his current pace, but there is no reason to doubt his skill sets that allowed him to accomplish the current pace.