3 Reasons Jeremy Lin Has Succeeded & Could Be Here To Stay

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Woah.  Who would have ever thought that Tim Tebow would be back in our lives so quickly?

After five stellar performances by Jeremy Lin – another guy who doesn’t look the part based on stereotypes associated with his sport, is outspoken about his religious beliefs, who has come in for his struggling team and, it seems, single-handedly turned them around – people are calling the young fella Tim Tebow 2.0.

But is that really a fair comparison?  Is Jeremy Lin really redefining the point guard position?

Is Jeremy Lin really doing something no point guard has ever done before?

You know what he’s been doing, but let’s take a closer look and discover how Jeremy Lin has been so successful over the last week.


The New York Knicks were 8-15 when Jeremy Lin took over at point guard. Five games later they are 13-15 and Lin the toast of the NBA. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Before we get started, let’s just remember that we still have an incredibly small sample size.

Maybe, Jeremy Lin goes on and has a Hall of Fame career.  Or maybe, teams figure him out pretty quickly and it’s back to the D-League for him.

No matter who you are, if you are in the NBA, you are pretty good.  I firmly believe that nearly any perimeter player – if given the opportunity and the green light – could score twenty points a game.  It might not be very efficient, but it could be done.

Lin, however, is doing much more scoring. He has transformed New York’s offense. The question is if he is doing it in a way that is sustainable and can translate into future success.

Three Reasons for Jeremy Lin’s Current Success

#1 – He’s not a good, but a great athlete

One of the biggest reasons for Jeremy Lin’s success early on is that he’s a much better athlete than people give him credit for; and I believe, as is so often the case with opinions in basketball, that race has a LOT to do with it.

Just look at Gordon Hayward.

Hayward is often compared to other white players like Kyle Korver or Adam Morrison.  Yet anyone that actually watches them play knows these comparisons are ridiculous.

Hayward is actually a mediocre shooter at this point in his career.  Although he shot the ball pretty well in college, he’s shooting an atrocious 24% right now from three point range.  However, Hayward succeeds because he’s a standout athlete:

  • He ran the 12th fastest sprint time at the 2010 NBA Combine, beating out guys like Sherron Collins, Evan Turner, Devin Ebanks, and even Jordan Crawford.  He only finished .08 seconds behind John Wall!
  • His vertical of 34.5 inches was just as impressive, tying him with Evan Turner and Jordan Crawford while beating out “stellar” athletes like Al-Farouq Aminu and Epke Udoh.

Really, Gordon Hayward plays like a young Trevor Ariza.  A long, athletic swing man that is a streaky shooter and fills in a lot of gaps for your team.

Just like Gordon Hayward, Jeremy Lin is getting miscast as the next Steve Nash or a rich man’s Luke Ridnour.  But Lin is often beating people with his great athleticism.

Unfortunately, after scouring the internet for a long time, I couldn’t find many of Jeremy Lin’s official measurables.  What I did find was pretty promising for Lin.  He had the third longest wingspan (6’5″) of any other point guard his height.  Maybe you hadn’t noticed before, but Lin is a very long player as far as point guards go.

Past that, we can only go off of video and legend.  Not long ago, Jeremy Lin out-jumped John Wall in a jump-ball situation.  In case you forgot, Wall has a 40-inch vertical and a ridiculous 6’9″ wingspan while only standing a 1/2 inch shorter than Jeremy Lin.

So let’s all agree that Lin is not Steve Nash, nor is he Luke Ridnour.  If the reasons presented here are not enough for you, I offer you this:


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About Jon Washburn

Jon Washburn grew up in Indianapolis, IN and as such, is a diehard Pacers, Colts, and Cubs fans. When it comes to college, he cheers for Notre Dame football fan and Purdue basketball. Yes, this sounds shady, but since he grew up without cable, he learned to love Notre Dame - the only team on TV. Glenn "The Big Dog" Robinson was at Purdue when Jon was in his formative years, so he latched onto them as well. Did that make him a fair-weather fan at the time? Sure. Give him a break...he was 8...and he has stayed with those teams ever since. Currently, he lives in Charleston, SC with his wife who grew up in Cleveland. Although he is no longer physically in the Midwest, his heart will always be there. Jon goes by the name "Twitch" because he has Tourette's Syndrome. Hit him up on his twitter @jwtwitch.


  1. What will be interesting is to see what happens when NYK have their full compliment of players back.  Amare was at his best in Phoenix where they ran a high P&R often and he had a PG who made the correct decision 9 out of 10 times.  He could really flourish with Lin.  

    Carmelo, on the other hand, is a ball stopper who often needs (or wants, it’s hard to tell) to create his own shot.  Lin’s style wouldn’t seem to mesh with Carmelo’s, at least from what we’ve seen so far.  Strangely, Mike D’Antoni has been the one everyone blames for the Knicks’ struggles, but as we’ve seen with Lin, a heady, talented PG will thrive in D’Antoni’s system.  An interesting situation, to be sure.

    • Good points Keith. Think about how impossible it will be to stop NY when they can pick and roll with Chandler with Stoudemire. How do you stop that?

      As for Carmelo, I think he’s a savvy enough offensive player to realize that Lin is going to help him get the ball in far easier positions to score. W/out a point guard, he has had to play more one-on-one, and him getting the ball in iso situations won’t stop, but the threat of Lin and the other players on the court will draw defenders away from Carmelo and should make him much, much more efficient.

  2. Peacefulwarrior55 says:

    Nice read Jon. Great illustration of the pick and roll. However, you forgot to point out that Lin being bothered by Rubio was simply a result of fatigue that affected his play in the second half. D’Antoni asked him if he was ok and he answered: “I’m good, I’m good”, which was false. Playing back to back games and playing more than 35 minutes per game was just too much. I want to see him play well rested (at say 28-30 minutes per game), like he did against Fisher and John Wall..  

    • This is a very good point.  Personally, I thought that his poor play was a combination of both…however, the argument that Lin was exhausted certainly is valid and we will have to wait and see if he can destroy a non-hedging defense in the future.

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