Evolving Thoughts on Jeremy Lin

Vis-a-vis Patrick Beverley, Jeremy Lin is the better point guard both in absolute terms and in terms of synergy with Houston and especially with Dwight Howard.  Lin is much more proficient at dishing the basketball to bigs inside the paint at a rate of 51.4% vs Beverley’s  27.6% percentage of total assists.  And, Lin’s overall assists numbers is at 6.8 assists per 36 min vs Beverley’s 6.0 assists per 36 mins.

Lin’s offensive abilities are much better in comparison too.  Beverley had a slightly higher 3pt% but with only 100 3FGAs compared to Lin’s 257.  Lin’s efficiency was influenced by preseason knee injury.  But, also, Beverly’s slightly better 3pt% rate, 37% vs Lin’s 34%, is also influenced by Beverley’s lower number of games and minutes played hence is less affected by fatigue.

Lastly, Lin is highly prolific at creating unassisted points.  Even dealing with a post-surgical knee, Lin still had enough acceleration to beat his man to the hole or make shots off the dribble at a rate at least on par with the average point guard in the NBA.  However, you must understand that Lin was at an even greater disadvantage because 1) Lin is often covered by the opposing team’s center after Lin beats his man 1 on 1 to the paint, 2) opposing teams got away with a lot of no call fouls so much so that teams were habitually stopping Lin’s drives with body contact and head shots, and 3) Harden’s hero ball takes shots away from the rest of the team.

So, with the addition of Dwight Howard, opposing team’s center can no longer leave his man to try to stop Lin’s drives resulting in Lin’s scoring efficiency’s improvement.  Hopefully, McHale will start taking the refs to task when they blow a call after Lin is hit hard when taking it to the rim resulting in both higher scoring efficiency and number of free throw attempts.  Lastly, with Dwight on the court, perhaps Harden will minimize his hero ball (or at least McHale can finally draw up a plays that doesn’t call for Harden to hog the ball).

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Did I do my own research in writing the “article” above?  No.  The credit goes to Bleacher Report readership comments below.

Back story: Something I do when I am bored is look for Jeremy Lin articles on Google.  And, more often than not, Bleacher Report will have at least a couple of new Jeremy Lin articles on a weekly basis.  However, I haven’t clicked on Bleacher Report’s articles in at least over 12 months.  Their quality of writing was always amiss with inaccurate use of stats to very surface level observations.

However, what I found more egregious about Bleacher Report was that their readership’s comments were down right unrepeatable for the sake of hope for humanity’s intelligence and sensibility.

Today, I did my usual Google search today and decided to click on a Bleacher Report article , “Jeremy’s Lin’s Big Test“.  And, I found a fairly well reasoned article regarding Jeremy Lin but am mostly surprised by a large percentage of the comments made about the article to be highly observant and educational.  Not saying this merely because I agree with their sentiments but because their arguments are well formed with support from relevant data.

So, for the “article” above, it is solely based on the article’s readership comments (with some of my own editorial), and you can read the original article here yourself.

TTNN wrote in regards to point guard synergy with Dwight:

Last season, 51.4% of Jeremy’s assist were at rim shots, 33.9% were 3pt. On the other hand, 27.6% of Beverley’s assist were at rim shots, and 53.4% were for 3pt shots. That’s a big drop off for set up their teammates in the paint. Harden is pretty good in set people up, too. He has 39.9% of his assists goes to at rim shots, and 46.3% of his assists goes to 3pt shots. If Beverley is to take Jeremy’s starting position, that pretty much means Harden will need to pick up the drop off of set up people at the rim. As good as attacking the rim himself, I’m not sure how much room there is for James Harden to further increase his already pretty high assists, and also assists to the rim. And, Beverley is not equivalent to Jeremy yet, even in D-league, when Beverley is playing with significant minutes, out of 3 games he is averaging 13.7 ppg with 37 min, and Jeremy during his Warrior years, which is two years ago, his got 18 ppg in 31 min. And that was way before Linsanity, as a real rookie, not much pro experience.

Gene18 wrote weighs in on requests for Beverley to start in Lin’s stead:

I am confused. What did Beverly do that was so outstanding? His defense as measured by PPP is equal to Lin’s. (Synergy Sports). His has never been good generating assists, even in Europe. Almost all NBA starting PG’s have better numbers than Beverley. Lin’s 3 PT. % was 33.9 Beverley’s was 37. That’s three more baskets per 100 attempt’s for Beverley. However, Beverly took an exceedingly small number of shots behind the 3 pt. line. (96) .

Lin took 257 3 pointers. As the # of shots taken goes up the FG% goes down. That is what happened to Harden last year.Bev’s FG% was .418. Lin’s was 44.1 last year. Beverley’s 3 Pt % in the playoff’s ,his best performance yet, was .33. His Playoff assists were below 3 per game although he averaged 33 minutes a game. He had 0 assists in the last game. Keep in mind that Beverley’s playoff performance is generally considered his best outings.So I ask you why do you feel that Beverley would be a good replacement for Lin if Beverley repeats last years performance.

BBAAB further examines Beverley to Lin comparisons:

If we examine Lin and Beverley’s stats from when Beverley played his first game on the Rockets, a 41 game sample for Beverley and 44 games for Lin (Beverley did not get off the floor for 3 games while Toney Douglas was still on the team), this is the comparison.

Per 36 min:
Beverley 11.6pts, 6 assists, 5.6 reb, 1 blk, 1.9 steal, 4.1 fouls and 2.3 TOs
Lin 16.7pts, 6.8 assists, 2.6reb, 0.4blk, 1.4 steal, 2.9 fouls, 3.2TOs

With Beverley and Lin having fairly close turnover ratios (adjusted for usage).

Shooting percentages (FG overall, 2pt, 3pt, FTs)

Beverley 41.8%, 46.2%, 37.5%, 82.9%
Lin 45.4%, 48.0%, 39%, 78.4%

Beverley seems to do better on defense stats like blocks, steals, and rebounds, but with Howard starting, is that going to be a big necessity? Plus Lin had slightly better synergy defensive stats than Beverley, which may be a function of Lin starting and having Asik behind him more than Beverley, but Beverley also played against back-up PGs more.

In terms of shooting, Lin actually shot better than Beverley during this stretch. Both 2pt and 3pt FGs, and also TS%, but Lin had slightly lower FT%. Lin also got to the FT line more – 3.9 vs 2.1 (per 36 min).

And in terms of how the Rockets will play both offensively and defensively with Howard, on offense the PG needs to be able to deliver passes to cutters to the rim (Lin better than Beverley and showed this with Tyson Chandler on the Knicks) and be effective as a PnR passer (Lin’s 5th best in league last year according to Morey), and on defense Sampson already said the Rockets are likely to funnel the opposition offense towards the rim with Dwight manning the middle (vs last year of protecting the rim), which makes Lin a better fit next to Howard with his smart position defense, at least somewhat offsetting his slower lateral defensive footspeed vs Beverley.

RollingWave wrote on Lin’s shooting efficiency:

It wasn’t just the 3 point shooting that was going up late in the season, with the 34 game sample mentioned in the article Lin had a True Shooting percentage of .562 while having a 22% usage during that span, that’s actually really good, the list of full time starting PG with a better TS% than that last year was essentially Paul / Deron / Parker / Nash / Calderon / Chalmers. that’s it, aside from Chalmers who’s getting some exceptional help and have a usage well well under any normal starting PG (as in, way less than Lin overall last year.) that’s the most elite group of offensive PG.

His assist percentage went up and his turn over percentage went down as well. as long as we believe that this was due to him fully recovering from knee surgery and simply finally settling into a system randomly thrown together on opening day, so that it is fairly likely to carry forward, that’s a pretty clear upper half starting PG stuff right there.

RollingWave also touches on Jeremy’s ability to create his own shots:

Another part of looking at his game is that his shots assisted was certainly on the low side even among PGs last year, which suggest that he’s very much creating most of his own offense. something to keep in mind when you compare his 39% shots assisted to Chalmers 62% shots assisted. part of that is Chalmers being more comfortable off the ball certainly, but it also speaks to his questionable ability to do anything without Lebron / Wade covering him.

Another general point to take in is that last year, in the 3 games Harden missed, Houston went 2-1, with a win over the Clippers and the lost being an overtime effort to the Spurs where Lin was between really good to epic in all 3 game, so there is something to that he’s being held back to some extend by the Harden pairing, but is probably finding a good niche to fit in as the season progress.