The summer makes every little piece of information receive rare grandeur, so Jeremy Lin working on his shooting is obviously a big deal to Brooklyn Nets fans, and Lin fans as well. The Olympics might be ending, but the NBA season is still two months away.
Lin’s shooting was a subject of much debate last season. Shooting form, hurting elbows, but maybe the thing he was missing the most was consistency. Not just from his own shot and technique, but in his role, position and minutes. Some players can shoot well “cold”, others need confidence and to warm up. Lin belongs in the second “school of thought”, and being yo-yoed (a term I’ve used too much when it comes to Lin over the last few years) by the head coach hasn’t helped.
Lin is going to be in a very different role next season. Yes, point guard, but a starting one, with a lot more possession he’s in charge of. A lot more shots too. More minutes. Lin averaged 12.2 shots a game per 36 minutes since joining the Houston Rockets in 2012. He’s never been a point guard with control. Either coming off the bench, or someone who plays next to a very (too much) dominant ball handler: James Harden and Kemba Walker come to mind first, although they both do it differently.
While Lin improved as a 3-point shooter as time went by, part of his continuous upgrade on the flaws in his game, last season was different in terms of the trend. He had his lowest shooting numbers since his rookie year, except for free throws. As we mentioned, there were a number of factors going into the end product, which doesn’t always tell the full story (as someone once said about statistics, they’re like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, what they conceal is vital).
Shooting % of the leading point guards last season based on PER
Why this list? Because Lin, as we talked about in our article about his potential stats from two weeks ago, is going to be in this category, more likely than not, at the end of next season. PER isn’t just about shooting numbers and taken other factors into account, but looking at the more notable on the league’s starting point guard, we can see, more or less, what qualifies into the realm of expected shooting numbers. Obviously, Stephen Curry is in his own realm, but there are things to learn from the others.
And then there was Jeremy Lin last season:
Only Ricky Rubio and Mario Chalmers (who won’t be on this list again) shot worst than Lin from the field. Only Rubio and Chalmers had worst eFG%. Rajon Rondo, Rubio, Jrue Holiday and John Wall had a worse FT%, with Lin’s ability to get to the line helping him there. Rubio and Rondo have always been considered non-shooting threats. Wall is another player who doesn’t shoot very well, doing better in attacking the rim and spreading the ball to his teammates.
Lin is also someone who is at his best when he sees open lanes to the rim, and gets to show off his passing ability. But he’s a much better shooter than his numbers from last season, and for his tenure with the Nets to be as successful as it can be, his 3-point shooting will have to go back up to the 36% and upwards, his FG% to 43% and above, and from that, get up his eFG% to the +48 realm, while his true shooting will obviously get the boost.
Reasons to be optimistic? Plenty. Lin is a rigorous offseason worker, and there’s no reason his shooting numbers, along with the obvious volume and overall stats increase, don’t go in the right direction. The workload will be different, but Lin should be able to adjust, maybe even a lot quicker than anyone expects. Lin can be an All-Star next season if things click well with the Nets early on. Getting his shooting stats to where they should be will be part of how far he can take his new gig, and with him the Nets.