We take a break from surveying the options Jeremy Lin has around the NBA if he chooses to leave the Charlotte Hornets, and focus on something that has a bit more numbers in it, trying to prove that not playing LIn at point guard just doesn’t make any sense.
An excellent article on listicled.com (thanks Nathan) focuses on the value Lin brings to any team that signs him and uses him right, suggesting the Hornets, and other teams in Lin’s NBA career, have been wasteful with such a talented player, getting less minutes than he desrves while often being used in the wrong position and role. The two most interesting takes from the article:
1. As a starter (13 games), Lin averaged 34.4 minutes, scoring 17.5 points with 4.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists. He shot 46.1 percent from the field, 46 percent from three and 82.5 percent from the foul line (.589 TS%).
Which players matched those numbers this season? Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and James Harden. Obviously, Lin’s starting time is in a smaller sample size, but why not give him more of an opportunity as the main ball handler at point guard for more than just games that there’s no other solution? You can ask Steve Clifford. The two previous coaches who mishandled and underused Lin are currently unemployed.
2. Regardless of where he ends up, Lin fans have to hope it’s as a starting point guard. At 27 years old (albeit a young 27, with under 10,000 regular season minutes played), Lin is entering his prime years. He needs to find a spot where his talents are appreciated and are fully utilized. I don’t see that happening off the bench and I don’t see that playing at SG.
What we’ve been saying since, well since we started covering Lin closely, and what a lot of his fans have been preaching constantly. Teams signing Lin and then expecting to get something special from him when playing him at shooting guard either did a s***ty scouting job when finding out what he does well and what he doesn’t, or simply don’t care about missing an opportunity to upgrade the situation they were in. The Lakers were going to suck regardless of who was playing in whatever position, but the 2014-2015 season could have had a much better vibe to it, not to mention a few more wins, if Lin wasn’t playing for the Tank Commander. The Houston situation is clear to every now: Harden can’t let anything around him blossom, and no matter how great the numbers are when you look at his stat sheet, it’s his personality and playing style that’s interfering with the Rockets’ plans as much as he’s helping them.
Conclusion? Lin needs a starting point guard gig in order to show how good he is in more than random outbreaks. A lot of teams need an upgrade at point guard, and Lin could provide not just a fitting player to do it, but someone who comes at excellent value as well. He’s not going to sign for anything close to that ridiculously cheap contract he signed with the Hornets last season, but when you hear max money being offered to Mike Conley, Lin’s modest demands make him a lot more intriguing.