#3 – He can shoot the rock
Really, this could have been a fourth bullet point under how he runs the pick and roll so effectively.
Check the 4:00 mark of the same video.
However, shooting is so important that it deserves its own category.
Kevin McHale, the man with more low-post moves than anyone else in history, once said that every single one of his moves was easy because of the threat of his jump shot.
It’s simple: if you can make shots consistently, the defense has to completely change how they guard you.
Just look at Derrick Rose. As a rookie, he was incredibly exciting to watch because he could get by his defender at will. Of course, as the year went on, defenders decided to stand further and further off of him. What was crazy is that he still often got by his man, even though the defender was standing five feet away from him. But Rose would not be satisfied. He went home and worked on his jump shot, and now, he is absolutely terrifying to defend. Stand off him? He makes you pay with the J. Step up? He drives right by you.
Jeremy Lin, though not as athletic as Rose, forces his defender into a similarly conflicting dilemma. Do I make him shoot or give him the lane?
If Lin continues to shoot the ball well (he is currently shooting 50% from the field), he will continue to wreak havoc on opposing defenses for years to come.
So…is Jeremy Lin here to stay?
Well, I’d like to stamp a permanent star on him right now, but there are two things that have me slightly concerned.
First of all, Lin might just be on a hot streak. I know that Scorecasting says there is no such thing, but anyone who has played basketball knows that there is. Either way, what if Lin isn’t a 50% shooter, and he slowly starts regressing towards his mean? If that’s the case, Lin will definitely come back to earth.
Fortunately for Lin, he shot above 50% for three out of his four years in college, including a staggering 59.4% as a senior. I think we can all put this worry to rest.
However, this second one is slightly more troubling.
If the league was watching the game Saturday night against the T-Wolves, they might have found the secret to defending the youngster. Minnesota chose not to hedge a single time on the Pick-and-Roll. How did Lin respond? Not super efficiently.
He still finished with 20 points and 8 assists, but he only shot 33% from the floor and added 6 turnovers to his stat line as well. The bigger issue was that Lin was only 3-of-14 when he was guarded by Ricky Rubio.
Why was Rubio such a tough matchup for Lin? Because of Rubio’s length. Rubio isn’t exactly a top-tier athlete, but he has incredibly long arms and is a very crafty defender. Rubio was able to stay a half-step further off of Lin, and still bother his shot with his length.
Of course, against all other Minnesota players not, Lin shot 50% and scored 12 points, so that doesn’t necessarily mean that the “No-Hedge” strategy will always work on him. But the length issue is definitely a concern.
How will Lin respond?
Will he be able to respond?
We aren’t sure, though Lin seems to possess a number of important elements necessary for sustained success as an NBA point guard.
But there is one thing we are sure of…just like Tim Tebow, the Jeremy Lin Show will be must-see-TV for the foreseeable future.