He obviously has the ability to be a starter in the NBA. Lin has size, can make shots, and has very good court vision to spot teammates on pick and roll. The best part of his game is the fact that he takes is time and can change speeds. Very few point guards in the game at any level looks to attack like Jeremy does on almost every possession. That’s not a statement saying that he’s one of the best point guards in a game, just an observation of what he has brought to the table in the past five games. When coming off pick and roll he hesitates allowing for the big that is showing or in the lane to sort of raise up a little and then that’s when Jeremy changes speeds to get in the lane. He’s not a great shooter with that sort of set shot he has from is shoulder, but he can consistently make shots. When he gets in the lane from game to game Lin is getting more comfortable shooting jumpers and floaters to be a better finisher. He still struggles a little bit with size especially on a switch or weak side shot blockers but again the more shots he takes the better he will adjust.
Now in the next couple of weeks it will be interesting to see how his game will change and/or evolve. He’s sort of in the perfect storm in New York and will go into a little detail of this. First of all without Stoudemire and Anthony he doesn’t play with one player that demands the ball. His team is comprised of spot up shooters and drivers, as well as a big man in Chandler who scores most of his points on hard rolls to the rim, duck ins/cuts ,running in transition, and offensive put-backs. So for now the Knicks right can space the floor , run pick and roll, and allow Jeremy to dominate the ball and make plays. There is nothing wrong with this type of style, as now you can attack opponents and force them to leave your shooters, cutters, and rollers and have Jeremy find them. If defenders go under on screen and rolls he can just shoot behind the picks. You always have to worry about Chandler cutting to the rim and Lin finding him on lobs to him, Landry Fields, and Billy Walker behind your defenders. On the wing Billy Walker, Steve Novak, and Landry Fields are not go to guys who isolate and create offense. They are players that space the floor and can make open jump shots, drive on long close outs, and cut to the rim from the weak side. All of this plays to Jeremy Lin’s advantage as there is no pressure to get certain players a number of touches a game.
Now there are a lot of people that says when Anthony and Amare come back the clock will strike midnight and Jeremy will turn back into a pumpkin. I tend to disagree although I think his point production individually will definitely come down. Obviously Anthony is your best isolation scorer that can get you points which is what you need in close games. No doubt Jeremy has taken the world by storm, but I wouldn’t yet call him a player you can give the ball to in crunch time and gave him score points for you. He’s the perfect point guard to have to make a play and find your go to players for sure. Anthony is their player they can go to consistently down the stretch. Amare will benefit from Jeremy as you will surround him with another shooter for when the ball goes to him on the block and they space. Also it’s a great guard to run screen roll with him and get him easier shots around the basket and 15-17 foot shots on cuts/pick & pops. It always helps to have a true point guard with court vision to get you the ball. I think having Lin will allow Anthony and Amare to get easier shots. There is nothing worse then in crunch time to have a score first guard have the ball and fails to get the ball to your primary scorers. With Lin they finally have a guard that can do this and the transition of their franchise players in the lineup will be easier than one would think.
In watching Jeremy there are some weakness in which he’ll need to improve on. In his first few games he was able to get to the rim and finish right around the rim. As time goes on teams will make adjustments and rotate to the paint and protect the rim. He won’t get to the rim as easily and will be met with size and shot blocking. I think he’ll have to improve on his floaters in the lane to be able to finish 3-7 feet from the basket as teams will not allow for him to just get in the lane. Dealing with space being taken away as he dribbles through the lane and tries to make space will give him issues. He is a turnover prone point guard which in time he needs to cut down on. As he faces guards that take his space away and push up on him there will be adjustments to make as well. All of these are things that will improve in time. All young guards that come in to the NBA have a period in which they need to adjust to. All young players make mistakes and need to come back the next day and work on those mistakes and try not to repeat them.
In closing this is a great thing for the Knicks and great thing for basketball in general. I’m impressed with Lin’s development as he continues to make noise in the NBA. I do think that he is a very good player, but not quite ready to put him on the same level as a Steve Nash, Deron Williams, or Chris Paul. There has been some Lin mania that is well disserved but as usual a little over hyped. Again not to say he can’t be one of the leagues top 50-75 players, but thinking he is an All – Star after 5 great games in a row maybe jumping a little ahead of yourself. The position of point guard is such an important part of a team and valued as much if not more than having a quality big man. He is an asset that The Knicks can take advantage of in resigning him and making him a part of their future or building his value and acquiring another asset in a trade down the line. The Carmelo trade dwindled them of a lot of assets besides their best two players and having Lin climb the ladder only helps their value. Jeremy Lin is great for underdogs everywhere. It changes the scope of scouting just like Juan Barea did when NBA teams didn’t believe in point guards under 5’10. His development has skyrocketed by not only his work ethic but the coaches in New York. Mike D’Antoni has given Lin something in the NBA that no coach has given him. That is the opportunity to play big minutes and also play through his mistakes. People sometimes don’t understand how important that is for a player. A lot of players can achieve greatness if given big minutes and have a coach that allow them to play through mistakes. This is great for the game and look forward to watching him in the future.
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