Let’s Talk About Jeremy Lin

D’Angelo Russell has company. He is not alone in his Byron Scott angst. Before Russell had to deal with Bryon’s war games, Scott jerked Jeremy Lin around. But the Harvard educated, undrafted Lin didn’t have Russell’s innate arrogance/confidence to see him over the Byron waters.  Byron’s tyranny played with Lin’s mind and almost kept him from resuming his basketball career. That’s how hard a year it was for Lin in a Lakers uniform last season.

Of course, no one expected Lin to take the drastic step of bidding goodbye and dusting off his Econ degree. Sure, he had a horrible year playing under the dictatorial whims of Scott. But once he had time off to chill, he’d regroup. Besides, it is the Scott way to brutalize. The same way Scott punished Lin, he is now punishing D’Angelo Russell, jerking him in and out games, having him sit on the sidelines in crunch time.

Lin saw Ronnie Price eat up his minutes and then he saw Jordan Clarkson take over the starting job, leaving Lin a bit player on the Lakers, soon to be gone.

“As a very emotional person, I know it can be a quick change from being in a great place mentally/spiritually to worrying and being anxious about my life and future.”

That summed up Lin’s Laker experience. He had an immediate high when he was traded from Houston to L.A., followed by depressing lows and Lakers fan backlash. After Lin got his mind free of the Byron stain, he signed with Charlotte in the off-season, a small contract compared to his behemoth Rockets deal in the much hyped Linsanity days.

Lin’s $4.3 Charlotte contract over two years was far more modest and befitting his output. Lin has an opportunity to opt-out this year and take advantage of the salary spike and it may serve him well financially to add a couple of more million to the bank account. But what is apparent about Jeremy Lin is that he’s not a NBA starting guard, he’s a back-up who can make shots, move the ball around but as he did with the Lakers last year and the Rockets before them, Lin struggles with consistency and efficiency and most importantly, defense.

His numbers are pretty much the same. Three cities. Three teams. Three different types of superstars surrounding him. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, then that is what is cursing LIn. In Houston: 28.9 minutes. 12.5 points. 35.8% from three. In L.A.: 25.8 minutes. 11.2 points. 36.9% from three. In Charlotte: 25.9 minutes. 11.4 points. 31.3% from three. That Lin is having a worse year statistically this year than last year only frames his narrative as a bench player with an up and down career. But in a stroke of grace, Lin may find himself in the playoffs, bad stats or not.

Different But the Same Jeremy Lin Points FG% 3-Point% Contested Shots% PER
Houston Rockets, 2013-14 12.5 44.6% 35.8% 44% 14.3
Los Angeles Lakers, 2014-15 11.2 42.4% 36.9% 42,2% 15.6
Charlotte Hornets, 2015-16 11.4 40.2% 31.3% 44.8% 13.3

Mid-February, the Hornets acquired Courtney Lee, primarily for defense since Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was lost for the year. Lee has eaten into Lin’s playing time. In 14 games, Lee is playing 29.4 minutes and shooting 47.0%, 43.6% from three.

In those same 14 games, Lin is playing a little more than 22 minutes but putting up absolutely ghastly numbers: 33%, 25% from three.

It makes you wonder if Byron Scott was right all along? Or is this just one of those Jeremy Lin shooting slumps?

A devout Christian, Lin asked for his prayer group’s support.

“Please pray for me as recently I have been frustrated with my jump shot and overall performance. The new shooting form has been one of the most frustrating things in my career. I know it will pay off in the long run but going through the adjustment process has been harder than I anticipated.”

The Hornets, a young team on the rise, have done a great job of rebuilding this year, adding Nic Batum and allowing Kemba Walker one more year of growth. The hope was for Lin to be Jamal Crawford like. A bench player who could drop 15-16 points, creating three point shots and spacing the floor. But this is his worst distance shooting since his rookie year with the Warriors.

As the Hornets make that push to secure a seed anywhere from 3-6, the pressure will amplify for Jeremy Lin who is no closer to a Linsanity encore than he was last year in Lakersland.


photo via llananba