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Tuesday
Feb142012

What the Statistics Tell Us About Jeremy Lin’s Eventual Fall Back to Earth

Enjoy it while it lasts because the stats say the only part of Lin's game that will remain the same is his poor assist/turnover ratio.There’s no need to rehash exactly how Jeremy Lin has risen to superstardom in the past 10 days. Basically the Knicks PG recently known to most fans as “that Asian kid from Harvard” has blown up five games in a row, going for the incredible averages of 27 ppg, 8 apg, and 2.0 spg, all while shooting a stellar 52% from the field and using his innate aggression to get to the free throw line 8.4 times a night. With team “superstars” Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire sidelined, the Knicks have reeled off five consecutive victories in the only five games that Lin has played meaningful minutes. The many similarities between Lincanity and Tebow-mania are obvious, so the question we all asked a couple months ago that needs to be asked now is: Can this last?

Beyond the common sense answer of “Of course not since Anthony and Stoudemire have their own agendas that often detract from team success,” let’s look at some places where the statistics indicate that Lin, and by extension the Knicks, will come crashing back to reality soon.

1. His turnover totals are really high. Over the past 5 games, Lin has turned the ball over 23 times, with 20 of those coming in 3 of the contests (6, 6, and 8). Those are a terrible amount of turnovers, and those three games happen to be the ones in which New York didn’t face the horrendous Wizards or Nets (so we’re talking about the Jazz, Lakers, and T-Wolves). Those 3 clubs are a combined 43-41 and none of them are very good at forcing turnovers; they’re simply the better three overall defenders of those five clubs, and Lin had a disastrous 23-to-20 assist-to-turnover ratio against them. As fun as it is to watch him fly into the paint after curling off a high screen, it’s clear he often isn’t sure who he’s passing it to by the time he gets near the basket if it’s being defended well (regularly trying to find a teammate after he’s already jumped). Considering even I can spot this problem, you can bet every teams’ scouts know this as well and will force him into poor passing decisions in traffic as much as possible. And it’s not like he has a history of strong decision-making with the ball. Over his junior and senior seasons in the severely underwhelming Ivy League, Lin racked up 250 assists and 196 turnovers, a very poor 1.28 ast/to ratio. Last season when he played regularly in 20 contests for the Reno Bighorns in the D-League, Lin’s 1.61 ratio (87 assists to 54 turnovers) was far worse than those of Aaron Miles (3.31) and Donald Sloan (2.68), the club’s other two point guards.

2. Lin’s mid-range jumper has been hitting at an astronomically high rate, and we know that won’t last. On the season, he is attempting 4.4 shots per 40 minutes between the 3-point line and 10 feet from the rim (sorry, don’t have the data just for the last 5 games). That’s one-quarter of all his shots—a percentage that is abnormally low and will only increase as teams start to close off the rim to him—and he’s currently hitting 56% of his shots between 10-15 feet out (league average: 40%) and 63% of shots 16-23 feet from the hoop (league average: 38%). There is no way those numbers stay anywhere near that high over the long run. How do we know? Most of the very best shooters in the league are in the low- to mid-40’s from those distances, and Lin is not a great shooter. His free throw percentage isn’t particularly good for a guard (77%), his 3-point shooting is terrible (17%), he’s shooting poorly from 3-9 feet (32%), and his 2010-11 numbers from those two particular distances were far worse (25% and 27%). As defenses cut off his lay-up opportunities and force him to take more jumpers, the mid-range numbers will get worse, deflating his overall shooting stats to something fairly mediocre that we all expected.

3. There is no way he’ll continue to get to the rim at will. Lin is currently attempting half of his two-point shots at the rim, a really high percentage usually inhabited only by centers. His aggression and shiftiness look good, but keep in mind he’s faced defenses that rank 11th (LAL), 12th (Min), 20th (Utah), 25th (Was), and 30th (NJ) in the league during his stretch. Lin has gotten this extraordinarily high rate of shots at the rim on nothing but his own dribble-drives (something better defenses usually prevent); we know this because he’s been assisted on only 7% of those attempts. To put this in obviously-won’t-continue perspective, basket-attacking point guards like Derrick Rose, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, and John Wall are all assisted on 20-25% of their shots at the rim. Once Lin plays some better defenses (and teams that have had time to actually scout him) and is no longer living off easy dunks and lay-ups, he’ll be forced to either throw up more shots from the mid-range—which won't be good—or to pass out of the paint, which he’s already bad at.

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Reader Comments (30)

I agree that he'll fall at some point, however his best starter performance in decades is certainly exciting! Also helping get the Knicks into a playoff picture (which they will get stomped) is newsworthy.

February 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGav

Thanks for the comment. No doubt he's a fun story and worth watching on TV before 'Melo and Amar'e spoil the fun (not to mention the result of a schedule that only gets harder and opponents that have now had a chance to scout his tendencies), but we can't shield our eyes from the objective truth about what's going to happen in the future. The Knicks SHOULD be able to make the playoffs considering 4 teams behind them are trash (Wash, Char, Det, NJ) and 3 have truly debilitating injuries that make them trash (Mil, Tor, Clev), but I agree that someone's then going to stomp the living daylights out of them at that point.

February 14, 2012 | Registered CommenterZachariah Blott

I like the analysis, even though as a Knicks fan I would prefer to indulge a belief that he is the Asian Steve Nash. My question is what level do you see Lin crashing down to? I would agree that he is probably not going to be anywhere near what he has done so far for the rest of his career, but lots of analysts do like his game and see positives in his court vision, dribbling and pick and roll ability even though his flaws are very real. Do you think he is destined to be a backup PG or an okay starter? Also, how well does he fit in D'Antoni's system and are his early gains partially attributable to that style of play? Does he have potential to improve fundamentally as a player? Thanks.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRando

Right about #1, (8) turn overs last night!

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGav

I understand wanting to throw some water on the Jeremy Lin bandwagon but your analysis is kind of flawed and cherrypicking. I'll grant the turnover/assist ratio. This is by far the biggest flaw in Jeremy Lin's game so far and it is something he and his coaching staff will need to correct immediately. That being said...

On your second point, how can you criticize Lin's admittedly astronomical mid-range shooting percentage by pointing to his season's abysmally low 3-point percentage when he's only taken 25 3-point shots in his entire NBA career (in fact, it has already leapt to 25%)? Since you are keen on considering his assist-turnover ratio in his junior and senior seasons and his time in the D-league, why not note that Lin shot 38.9% with Reno and 37.2% his junior/senior year at Harvard from downtown?

Next, you note in one breath that an abnormally low percentage of his shots are coming from mid-range and then highlight their unsustainable percentage. Two things: If they are such a small part of his game to this point why does it matter if he starts to regress in that area? Say instead of shooting 60% from mid-range to this point in the season he's been shooting the league average 40%. Considering he only takes 4.4 of those shots a game, that's about one less basket every game. Which means 2 of his ppg and a fraction of his shooting percentage has been mostly luck. You compare it to his 25% and 27% numbers from last year which came on a total of 19 shots combined. Talk about small sample size! If his percentage on attempts from 10-23 feet are too high, how do you know his percentage from 3-9 feet isn't too low? 77% FT isn't good now? It's about what Vince Carter had at this point in his career.

Next, you note that an abnormally high amount of his shots are coming at the rim, and abnromally few of them are being assisted. I get that this is unsustainable, but doesn't it also demonstrate his athleticism if he has been able to drive into the paint seemingly at will unassisted? Defenses will certainly adjust and force him to take other options by crowding the paint or otherwise denying him penetration. This is something he will have to adjust to, but it also means that defenses will begin to pay more attention to him thus allowing other shooters to get more open and in turn potentially increasing his chances for assists and lowering his turnovers.

I get that Linsanity is getting, well, insane, but it isn't nearly as luck-based as you make it out to be. There are flaws in his game but he is not so fundamentally flawed that he is going to fall apart when his pixie dust runs out.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHmmm

@Rando
Thanks for the comment - a lot of really good questions. Where all these answers start for me is that his drives to the hoop will soon be limited severely simply due to opponents' scouting and to playing teams with better defenses. When this happens, he'll need to rely more on his jump shot (which is historically great right now, but we know it's not very good in the long run) and passing, which is an area that actually gets him in a lot of trouble considering the really high amount of turnovers he's been having (31 in 6 games, 28 of those coming in 4 games). All that being said, a big part of his early gains are indeed his style of play within his team's system, but that system will be worsened once Carmelo comes back and the competition improves, so Lin's "fit" won't be as good at that point since the system won't be as good. Looking down the road, I don't see his turnovers coming down because that's an area he's always struggled in (I noticed this when he was at Harvard and assumed it was the reason he'd never make the league) and his FG% is likely to fall to around 42-45%. The shooting/scoring will actually look/feel much worse than it does now because many of the jumpers won't be hitting and he'll be shooting much less (Amar'e/Carmelo). Think of it this way: Hitting 50-55% of 20 shots/game is amazing, whereas hitting 45% of 10-13 shots/game is some nobody who you can live with. I see him as a backup because 6 turnovers/game without much of a jumper (21-for-31 FT's the last 3 games) shouldn't keep you in the starting lineup for a team that wants to win games.

February 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterZachariah Blott

I just want to add on the assist-turnover front that his high turnover numbers while not very good are also a product of his usage rate. His assist:turnover ratio is better than Westbrook, John Wall, Kyrie Irving and not much worse than Deron Williams and Kemba Walker. In the short term it will likely improve simply by replacing Bill Walker and Jared Jeffries with Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire. So while the turnovers have been eye-poppingly bad, it isn't as big a problem as it appears at first glance. His A:T will improve perhaps not to a great level, but serviceable. He has the same turnover ratio as Deron Williams.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHmmm

@Hmmm
Thanks for your comment.
1) His 3-point shooting from the college line in the terrible Ivy League doesn't impress me (and it was a good % only one year, btw). His 39% at Reno impress me more, but just like in the NBA, he's not shooting many of them. What does that tell you about his confidence/skill in shooting from deep if he's not doing much of it and it's a MUCH lower % against NBA defenses?
2) The reason the eventual fall in his mid-range FG% is so important is because he won't be able to keep driving to the rim at will once NY faces some better defenses and teams scout him. He's currently shooting at the rim as regularly as down-low centers -- obviously this won't hold, and his shots will have to come from the mid-range.
3) I'm not making his success seem "luck-based." He's done quite well up until now, but we can easily see the areas of this that will not sustain themselves, and you have to remember (this is very key) that he's played a really bad group of teams up until now. They're a combined 38 games under .500, only 1 has a winning record, 3 of them are among the 7 worst defensive clubs in the league (and Toronto would be if you don't factor in the time Bargnani played), and the other 2 are a little above average (LAL, Min).

He's not going to become the worst PG in the league, but the turnovers are too high to keep playing him this much once the schedule toughens up, especially with an outside shot that's nothing special at best.

February 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterZachariah Blott

Considering that he's been driving into the paint as often as he has and with such success, why would he take more 3 point shots? Yeah it's a much lower percentage, but like I said, he's only taken 25 shots. It's a very small sample. It doubt it's a lack of confidence, especially after the shot he took yesterday. That one took STONES...but I digress. Yes, his mid-range attempts will probably increase and his percentage from there will certainly decrease, but we don't know how far. My point in noting how little it has impacted his game to this point is just to note that it has been largely irrelevant to his success. In fact, because it has been so high it may be indicating that his outside shooting is not necessarily as bad as you believe.

Yes, he has been playing against some really bad teams. However, he had his best scoring game by far against one of the better ones. Conversely, he "only" dropped 23 on the Wizards (while having a stellar assist game and few turnovers, likely due to their defensive ineptitude). Also, it's the Eastern Conference, so what do you expect. He has still performed as well as you could hope for against those teams while getting absolutely mugged physically by desperate defenders. Simply playing against a bad team does not elevate a scrub player into an all-star, you have to execute, as many players on the Knicks pre-Lin would assure you.

That knife cuts two ways. Without Amar'e and Carmelo he's been shouldering the load on a very bad offensive team, which means not only has he had to improve the scoring of some bad teammates, he's been the focal point of the offense (and thus, the opposing defense), and has had to play an ungodly amount of minutes after riding the pine for so long. He has played at least 38 minutes in 4 of his 6 games, including back to back against LA and Minnesota (he is likely to play poorly tonight considering the 43 minutes (!!!) he put in against Toronto) and every one of those minutes he's been running and leaping more than anybody else on the floor. Fatigue has taken a toll on him. It is no coincidence that his single worst performance so far occurred in the second half against the Timberwolves when he clearly had no lift in his legs after burning Rubio on 7-12 shooting in the first half.

I get that teams will scout him better and begin to adjust to him to take away his strengths. But Jeremy Lin is just starting out in this league, too. Considering his intelligence and work ethic, he will be able to adjust as well and will likely improve those elements of his game that he can. It is still unknown how Carmelo will affect the team when he returns. It would not be surprising to see him adjust to and enhance Lin's game. The Knicks have been winning games that they would lose with Melo, and Melo wants to win even if it means he has to play off of a point guard and be more catch-and-shoot and less Iso (he's certainly going to be less Iso now that he actually has a point guard). He's going to replace Bill Walker, who has been absolutely HORRID in every respect. The opposition will improve, certainly, but so will the Knicks, and it will only help Lin, reducing his scoring burden as he learns to play with his teammates and they learn to play with him.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHmmm

@Hmmm
I remember having similar conversations with fans 7 games into Brandon Jennings' career. I called him out as overrated before the 2009 draft, in a large part because he couldn't shoot. He scored between 24 and 32 points in 3 of his first 6 games, and then he went absolutely crazy against the horrid yet fast Warriors to the tune of 55 points, including 7-for-8 from deep. My editor asked if I wanted to back off of my statements. I said no because it was clear simply from watching him that he couldn't shoot and that he would cool down big time. Well since then his shooting has been exposed, and it wasn't until his third season that he topped 40% FG in a season and has finally approached the league average eFG%. I'd love to see Lin keep this up because the Ivy League could use more representation in the NBA, but it simply won't happen. Honestly, what were your thoughts about Jennings' shooting after he dropped 55 a couple years ago? What's different between him then and Lin now?

February 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterZachariah Blott

Jennings first few games were highly inconsistent in both point production and TS%. His % would jump up and down from game to game dramatically because his style has far more variance. 7-8 3PT says it all. Lin, aside from a 1-12 second half in Minnesota, has had a very consistent TS% because he's used a well-established skill, which is taking it to the rim. Now let us say that opposing teams begin to completely deny the paint to Lin and dare him to shoot midrange and 3 point shots. Let's even grant that he is below-average and his ppg drops to like 8. Lin retains value because he's been an amazing passer.

The AST-TO problem is overblown. Lin is 2nd in the league in AST% after Steve Nash, and his AST% and Assist totals have been consistently good or great from game to game. 48% AST is incredible and he hasn't just fluked his way into it. The thing is, despite being a fantastic facilitator every time he's taken the floor the shooters he's been feeding have been woefully subpar (ask some other Knicks, it's not so easy to score even against bad teams). Lin's assist numbers are going to go up dramatically as more Knicks return from injury. 13 assists in just 26 minutes today is insane, on the second game after Amar'e has returned and managed to shake off some of the rust of not playing (2-9 shooting at one point yesterday). Jennings would have a few good assist games, but they were only sporadically. After his 9 assist, 52% AST debut each of Jennings' next 5 games had a far lower AST% than even Lin's worst AST% game. Lin has a lower TOV% than Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo, and Ricky Rubio at 18.8 but has far more turnovers because his usage rate is 5th in the league. You see a similar thing happening with Deron Williams, who is having uncharacteristically more turnovers despite a drop in TOV% because his USG% climbed 5 percentage points. Lin has 13% more usage than Rubio. Lin has been playing PG at a level just south of John Stockton but his AST-TO ratio is skewed because of the aforementioned factors. He is a tremendous passer.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHmmm

Crazy high turnovers are crazy high turnovers. Russell Westbrook is currently on something like a 12-games stretch where he's on a pace to absolutely shatter the all-time record for turnovers/game. Lin is right there with him. How many times do we have to watch him jump in the air with the ball and not know where the hell it's going before we re-think this "tremendous passer" rhetoric? I guess we'll find out what's what once the Knicks end one of the easiest 8-game streaks any club will face all year and get around to facing a few teams who play some defense. Again, I wanna see the guy succeed in terms of adding value to his team (not just accruing stats), but there's too much information telling us that he won't.

Thanks for your statistical breakdown--really enjoyed it despite absolutely hating TOV%--but I'm still curious what your thoughts were AT THE TIME Jennings was going bananas.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterZachariah Blott

I thought it was pretty crazy, and I did think he was potentially a good shooter, but I also realized that 7-8 from 3 is crazy luck and I was also more of a casual fan at the time who did not really know about TS% even. I consider myself slightly less ignorant now. When I look at Lin's statistics I see a lot to really like, especially from his point guard play. What is really interesting to me is that he had only about a 30.6% AST% in his junior and senior years at Harvard, and that has jumped to 48%. Steve Nash had a 33% AST% in his seasons before playing for D'Antoni. His AST% skyrocketed the first year and he has a 48.6% since he began running D'Antoni's system. We may have another Steve Nash situation here. I really don't think you can discount the USG% factor when it comes to his turnovers.
Why do you not like TOV%?

February 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHmmm

For whatever reason, my original comment about Lin and his play (which I posted February 14th) was never posted. So maybe this one won't be posted either, but now, Lin has played 318 minutes, and has a 51.5 AST% and a .187 WS/48 even if those numbers fell all the way down to 40 AST% which is extremely doubtful, he'd still be among the more productive PG in the league. I don't know if Jennings ever had those type of numbers.

Lastly, this particular portion of your article brings up an issue:

" .... To put this in obviously-won’t-continue perspective, basket-attacking point guards like Derrick Rose, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, and John Wall are all assisted on 20-25% of their shots at the rim."

That was in regard to Lin's astonishingly high shooting numbers, but there is one glaring omission from the list of players you named, Rajon Rondo. Was there a reason he was left off that list? Rondo's shooting numbers are exceptional (.535 TS%, 505 eFG%) can you give us Rondo's numbers on baskets he gets on his own "dribble drives" and what percentage of shots he gets at the rim. I don't know for a fact, but it seems like their numbers, and games would be similar, which begs the question why Rondo would be left off of the list of players you named. Maybe it was an honest oversight, maybe it was purposely done.

February 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteraagami

Rajon Rondo may actually be a great comp. He takes almost half of his shots at the rim as well (granted, he is assisted on 26% of them) and, despite not having a reputation for his shooting ability, he posted a 41% FG% from 16-23 feet last year and is shooting well from that range this year as well. Aside from at the rim, that is the range where Rondo takes the vast majority of his shots and despite his lack of shooting talent he is able to post very good field goal percentage from that range likely because defenses play off him trying to defend the paint. In fact, 4 of Rondo's 6 seasons he has shot 40% or better from that range. Why can't Lin do the same?

February 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHmmm

Plus in regards to Lin's turnovers here is a good read.

http://www.basketballprospectus.com/unfiltered/?p=845

February 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteraagami

That's a good find. Turnover rate is probably a better measure than TOV% and by that measure while Lin has been slightly worse than you might like he is nowhere near as atrocious as his stat line seems. We should probably expect his turnover rate to improve as he gets more experience and his usage decreases.

February 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHmmm

When evaluating a PG's turnovers, I am more likely to look at Assist/Turnover than Turnover% or Rate simply because A/TO lets us know what's happening with the ball once it leaves his hands. The other two rates are helped by simply shooting a lot or not passing. Go look at the league leaders in TO% and tell me you'd want any of those guys running your offense - it's a bunch of forwards and gunners who only make the obvious passes that aren't necessarily helpful. Of course when we look at A/TO, we have to keep in mind how good of shooters the teammates are, but to me it says more about the PG's ability to do something good with the ball when it leaves his hands than the other rates. In that respect, Lin has always been quite bad (college, D-League, NBA). I disagree with Hmmm that more experience will make his turnovers go down (significantly) simply because that was barely the case at Harvard, where he was facing crappy defenses.

February 16, 2012 | Registered CommenterZachariah Blott

Ok so I understand the errors in Turnover %, which you obviously documented, but what about turnover rate? What issues do you have with that metric? I mean a few seasons ago, Chris Duhon was among the league leaders in assist to turnover ratio, yet he's not a good playmaker. I mean, Mike Conley, Tony Parker, Lou Williams and Derek Fisher all have better assist to turnover ratio numbres than Steve Nash, yet I don't think anyone of us will say that Fisher or Williams are better playmakers and PG than Nash.

February 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteraagami

I'm looking for consistency, volume (Charles Jenkins' 7.5 is great, but I'll take CP3's 4.5 since he plays much more), and...I mentioned this above...who the teammates are that are being passed to (which includes the system). You got Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum hitting 55% of their shots each year, you better be able to look good by this metric. You're passing to a bunch of 3-point shooters who will hit a much smaller percentage of their shots, the assists will be lower. You got teammates that shoot 43% on a slowing down team, then I'm impressed by Nash's 3.0.

Consider these 3 factors, and you'll see how easy it is to see that Nash would rate much higher than any of those guys over time.

February 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterZachariah Blott

Of course the leaders in TOV% are not necessarily good team facilitators. I think you have to consider AST% and TOV% in tandem. In fact, when it comes to an Assist to turnover ratio I think AST%/TOV% or AST%/Turnover rate would be far more useful in evaluating point guards than simple assists to turnovers. This is my impression when sorting through the league leaders in AST%. The top point guards either have a very high AST% and a slightly higher TOV% (Nash, Rondo, Williams) or a slightly lower AST% paired with corresponding lower TOV% (Paul, Parker, Rose), the point being that higher AST% corresponds to higher TOV%, and you can live with that. In both metrics Lin to this point in the season has fit the mold of the 1st group, and his numbers look like John Stockton's career percentages. I don't know how it would look in turnover rate but I don't imagine that it is much different. I do not like looking at just the turnover amount. It feels like the equivalent of looking at how many times a batter has struck out in baseball or what have you. I am more interested in the rate than the total, because it tells me more about a player's average performance. Assists-to-turnovers is more dependent on the performance of the surrounding team as well as the tempo and playing time. I read something today (forget where) that stated Lin has been involved in third-most plays per game since he began starting.

February 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHmmm

Considering TOV% rises and falls chiefly due to how often a PG is shooting the ball, I can't rely on it for anything and would not use it in an AST%/TOV% formula. Assists and turnovers only come into play when the ball leaves the hands of the PG, so I can use those. TOV% has a lot to do with how often someone shoots and rewards black holes who only make the most obvious passes - I can't support that (see also: Rose has a lower career TOV% than CP3, the best PG since Isiah).

February 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterZachariah Blott

Considering TOV% rises and falls chiefly due to how often a PG is shooting the ball, I can't rely on it for anything and would not use it in an AST%/TOV% formula. Assists and turnovers only come into play when the ball leaves the hands of the PG, so I can use those. TOV% has a lot to do with how often someone shoots and rewards black holes who only make the most obvious passes - I can't support that (see also: Rose has a lower career TOV% than CP3, the best PG since Isiah).

February 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterZachariah Blott

I want to maintain that even despite his 9 TO performance Lin is a capable passer. I would attribute a lot of his turnovers to the fact that he is running D'Antoni's system without the right personnel (namely, perimeter shooters) that it needs to be truly effective. You can see a rudimentary scouting report that I did here: sbn.to/A774bU The Knicks' offense has had only one consistent perimeter shooter in Steve Novak and as a result it has been incredibly one-dimensional, aside from Lin's dynamic play.

February 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHmmm

Are we talking about the same D'Antoni system that allowed Raymond Felton and Chris Duhon to put up career-best numbers before they completely fell apart once they left that system? I get it that the Knicks aren't a good 3-point shooting team, but somehow Mike Conley is doing OK, DJ Augustin had been doing OK, Jarrett Jack is doing OK, Andre Miller and Ty Lawson are doing OK. Steve Nash joined a Suns club in 2004 whose top outside threat was Shawn Marion (34% on 3.4 attempts/gm) and immediately their offense was humming and everyone was hitting a much higher percentage of their 3's because Nash's passing made the system work and got guys better shots. I know you're not saying that Lin is as good as Nash, but his impact on this offense in NO WAY resembles what is possible, even if he doesn't already have a ton of 3-point shooters in place.

February 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterZachariah Blott

Yes, we are talking exactly about that system. And Lin is excelling in it as well, but it elevates everyone's game. Steve Nash's AST% skyrocketed with D'Antoni. Lin's is at that level, statistically. Those other PGs are doing fine but they are not in this same system, and this system (and by extension the PG running it) is nearly its most efficient with the bottom-scraping.3PT% the Knicks have. Come on, you watch the games: he IS the general of the offense, he makes everyone much better than they were before (and, in fact, quite capable against top defenses), he has lots of turnovers that come off of slips and defensive pressure because he is driving all the freaking time, and when he is out they are hopeless.

February 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHmmm

meant to say "is not nearly"

February 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHmmm

@Hmmm
As I've said before, I love the Lin story and hope he succeeds, but I just don't see how a turnover machine who's currently hitting mid-range jumpers at a rate that won't sustain itself (his 75% FT is currently 66th out of 79 guards who have started at least 5 games this season) will continue to keep his team successful at this level, especially once the Knicks have to start playing winning clubs more than once every 5 contests. We shall see...

February 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterZachariah Blott

I don't really know what else to say. It's obvious that the team is excelling despite his turnovers. In fact, tonight he more than made up for 7 TOs with 5 steals and 14 assists. And it's obvious why he has so many turnovers, he isn't the worst ball-handler in history. He is ALWAYS handling the ball, for 40 minutes on average, and it seems that his turnovers are in line with what the team would have per possession http://thecity2.com/2012/02/16/is-jeremy-lins-turnover-problem-a-problem-probably-not/ The mid-range is not a big part of his game even if it regresses, he has clear skills and athleticism on par with some of the best already. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiaUXVSyDZc. But you are right, we shall see

February 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHmmm

Just the first game with Carmelo, but the Knicks already look worse. They lost to the terrible Nets and Lin had all of his turnovers in the 2nd half (only 3 overall, but he seems to get more careless with the ball in the 2nd halves whenever I see him, but I don't know the overall stats by half) and his shooting at the rim was terrible (1 for 6 on lay-ups, even without Brook Lopez). Is the spacing off with Amar'e and Carmelo back in there? Hard to say this early on, but it's worth keeping track of any patterns that persist or change now that NY has their big guns back. Again - only one game so not too much can be taken from this, but both believers and otherwise have to keep their eyes open to any new or consistent patterns now that Carmelo is back and the Knicks' schedule toughens up.

February 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterZachariah Blott

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