Monday, February 20, 2012

Jeremy Lin skepticism: a rebuttal

By Jason Jones (posted by Rick Morris)

NOTE: This column is a rebuttal to various media pieces, including the one by our own Nathan Noy, expressing skepticism about the abilities of Jeremy Lin and a continuation of the epic Jones-Noy debate on Lin’s capabilities.

Prior to Sunday, the doubters would tell you that Jeremy Lin doesn’t have a 28pts, 14ast, 5stl, 4reb, 3 3PM and 60% from the field line in his career and there is no reason to believe that he has it in him before he retires.

When a person speaks of the exploits of a Dwayne Wade, Russell Westbrook, Monta Ellis, Kyrie Irving, etc they NEVER mention things like "opponents are 5-10 on the road, their team were 8-15, which breaks down to 2-9 against winning teams and 6-6 against teams that currently do not have a record above .500."

Let’s examine turnovers. Nine Jeremy Lin turnovers are NO DIFFERENT than the Knicks giving up nine offensive rebounds by the other team. Nine missed shots rebounded by the other team. Nine missed offensive rebounds by the Knicks. Turnovers are a third-level stat that only matters as a dealbreaker for numbers analysts or sports media people. To look at this metric effectively, it cannot be stated"he had an unforgivable amount of turnovers.” It has to be included in the entire equation. 25pts, 10ast, 4reb, 2stl, 55+FG% in 38 minutes a game vs six turnovers a game. No one who possesses a sane mind would argue that a team would trade 25/10/5/4 and so on for too many turnovers.


1)Ball-handling: are you out of your mind? There is nothing wrong with his ball handling. If you doubt that, you're clearly not watching all or the right plays. He has displayed the ability to shake quality defenders, which would rival that of any point guards except the prototype elite (i.e. Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, etc). He is better than most in regards to "in traffic" dribbling. He does tend to favor his right side, but can take it with either hand. I really hope doubters are not confusing a traditional style with ineffective play. So he doesn't lean over with the upper half of his torso when he dribbles. Or he doesn't spend a great deal of time with flashy lateral movements. 38 minutes a game and I cannot fathom what would make a person criticize his dribbling ability. Adam Morrison had a dribbling issue, Harold Minor had a dribbling issue, Jeremy Lin does not.

2) Defensive Liability? So what? Do you know who else are defensive liabilities? Carmelo Anthony, DeMar DeRozen, Stephen Curry, Tyreke Evans, OJ Mayo, Monta Ellis, Ramon Sessions, Jamal Crawford and Mike Bibby. The defensive liability status is only an issue for players like Carmelo Anthonym players who feel they are above improvement or coaching. There is no indication that Lin would be resistant to improving his ability to defend. What has been indicated is that D'ANTONI couldn't give a damn about defending.

The paragraph that reads, " The opposing PGs went 40-80 from the field for a cool 50% shooting percentage ... the opposing starting PGs committed 12 turnovers to Lin’s 36, a 3-to-1 ratio." I find to be completely worthless. These are just stats. They are configured stats that cannot be proved to be a critical “anything.” This is an example of twisting the facts to support your conclusion. Like the Denver Broncos have never made it to the playoffs after losing five of the first seven games – until they do. Not all stats are relevant, especially when one takes a large number of not-quite-relevant stats and throws them together in the hopes that it sounds like there might be something to it. When evaluating these types of issues, it’s not terrible to consider the laugh test. There is a reason that Nathan Noy is literally the only person on the planet that thinks this run Jeremy Lin and the Knicks are on is completely a fluke. There are plenty of people who criticized Tim Tebow, Tyronn Lue, Warren Moon, Deion Sanders (in the MLB), but there are literally NO PEOPLE coming forward to side with the sentiment that Mr. Noy has presented. There is a reason for that.

Are we just supposed to ignore the fact that the Mavs game resulted in Jeremy Lin putting up arguably the best single-game performance by anyone regardless of position for this entire season...and a win against the fourth-best defensive team? What I want to know is, what happens when this Knicks team performs respectably against the elite teams? Consider, 2-23 @MIA, 3-4 @BOS, 3-6 @DAL, 3-7 @SA, 3-12 @CHI, 4-8 vs CHI, 4-10 @CHI, 4-15 vs MIA, 4-17 vs BOS. That is nine games out of the remaining 31 games that I believe will be particularly challenging. The talk of turnovers, defensive liability, etc. I really put zero faith or regard in against teams like New Jersey, Milwaukee, Detroit, Atlanta, Washington and Charlotte. 70% of the remaining games are against teams that are very seriously beatable. The only thing that can really derail this situation is Carmelo Anthony. Think of it like this:

PG – Jeremy Lin – The offense is started by Lin in every way

SG – Landry Fields – Knows the system and doesn't need the ball to contribute

SF – Carmelo Anthony – He will have to transition into getting his spots, using screens, etc.

PF – Amare Stoudemire – Same approach, designed plays back to the basket, type four

C – Tyson Chandler – Garbage man, putbacks, rebounding, block shots

BN – JR Smith

BN – Iman Shumpert

BN – Bill Walker

BN – Steve Novak

BN – Jared Jeffries

And that is not even taking into consideration a healthy Baron Davis and Mike Bibby.

Anyone who looks at that scenario and says this team or Jeremy Lin is going to fall flat on their respective faces is simply barking up the wrong tree.

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