## Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

# The Daily Lin: The Future of the Nation of D’Anmelarélinson

There has been lots of talk of the regrets that previous GMs must be having now that Lin appears to be for real, yo. “How could a guy like this go undrafted?”

“How could he have been waived by all thirty-six teams, including the Anchorage Yetis?”

“Fire all the GMs!”

Maybe the appropriate place to start answering this question is by looking at Lin’s numbers this season and last:

 Season Minutes Played Points/36 Assists/36 AST% TS% USG% Steals/36 Turnovers/36 2010-11 284 9.6 5.3 20.5% 45.8% 15.7% 4.2 2.3 2011-12 171 22.5 8.7 47.2% 61.3% 29.3% 1.7 4.0

That is quite the transformation. Perhaps you’re thinking that he spent last year in a cocoon, and now we’re seeing the beautiful butterfly spread its wings. I have another thought though.

Let me start by painting you a word-picture. Jeremy Lin is on the Lakers (don’t worry – we’re just imagining). He dribbles the ball up the court, and sees a scowling Kobe Bryant thrust his shoulder back into Thabo Sefolosha as he fights for position in the high post. He raises his hand up, calling for the ball, and Jeremy Lin begins to drop the ball into Kobe, but wait, what’s this? Westbrook drops off of Lin as he starts to pass, blocking the angle. Jeremy eyes the basket from 23 feet out, but then feels Kobe’s eyes burning on his cheeks, and so he reverses the ball, and after some screen action, Kobe receives the pass and begins to back Thabo down.

Except there are more problems. OKC doubles Kobe, and their defense rotates so that Lin is open on the weak side. Kobe now has two options: swing the ball to Lin so he can miss a three (or dribble in and take a low value long two), or he can do what Kobe do and jack up a shot with two defenders draped over him.

The Laker version of Jeremy Lin looks very similar to the Warrior version of Lin, and the reason why is because what these last three games have revealed is that he has two plus skills:

2. Slashing to the rim

Those skills are only valuable when you have the ball in your hands, and it takes a great leap of faith for a coach to send an undrafted rookie out in the game and give him the green light to to attack. If you look at Lin’s shot selection last year in Golden State, 64% of his attempts were jump shots. He had a putrid eFG% of 29.3% on those shots. Lin was not creating when he was in Golden State. In the few minutes Keith Smart spared him last year, he likely told him to get the ball to a more established player. Most of his few field goal attempts likely came on kick outs, and if we’ve seen one notable flaw in Lin’s game, it’s that he cannot shoot. Not only is this pattern evidenced in Lin’s shot selection, it is clear from his meek 15.7% usage rate and much lower turnover rate.

By contrast, Lin’s 29.3% USG% this year is 11th in the league, just after Derrick Rose. It is higher than Amaré Stoudemire’s (26.8%). Combined, Lin’s USG% and AST% is 76.5%, so when he’s playing, Lin either shoots, turns the ball over, or assists on more than three-quarters of the Knicks’ possessions. That’s higher than Westbrook, Rose, and Paul, and slightly lower than the offense-starved Nets’ Deron Williams.

In addition, Lin’s skills are particularly well suited to D’Antoni’s offense. As we have seen from our point guard play this year and even from Chauncey Billups last year, the pick and roll is easy to run but hard to have consistent success with. This is because the passing angles and driving lanes change on every play. One time down, Lin might have a window to pass to Chandler as soon as he rolls to the basket. The next time down, he might have to cut diagonally towards the paint to get that angle, another he might have to hesitate at a certain spot and wait for the angle to develop. This doesn’t even take into account potential passes to perimeter players. There are a ton of decisions to make in a very short period of time, and if you miss your window to make a play, the defense will recover, and you will either have to reset, or you will end up with a low percentage shot.

So to answer the question, “Why has Lin been so successful?” it is mostly because D’Antoni’s system emphasizes Lin’s specific skillset and almost entirely hides his weaknesses. Seven Seconds or Less puts its point guard in the control room. With a good roll man, it will almost always yield an opportunity for a high percentage shot, and if the point guard can sniff it out, things will go great. This should be no mystery to people. Remember that guy Steve Nash? He was supremely talented passer, but back in 2003 no one would have guessed that he would one day be a two-time MVP. Consider his numbers from his last four years in Dallas and his first four in Phoenix.

 team Assists/36 TS% Dallas 8.3 59.2% Phoenix 11.5 63.4%

Those are some HUGE jumps for a guy who – 29 years old when he moved to sunny Phoenix – was supposed to be entering his twilight years. I don’t mean to say Lin is the new Nash, but they share those two critical skills.

Unfortunately, the one major difference between Lin and Nash is that Lin can’t shoot. One thing we have some reason to be concerned about here is what happens when Anthony and Stoudemire return? You have to remember that playing Jeremy Lin heavy minutes makes this team even more dependent on Seven Seconds or Less because as an off ball player, he is a huge liability. The isolation, a play which has been dreadfully ineffective for New York so far this year, will be even more useless. Will Anthony continue his solid team play, or will he revert to his old ways?

Maybe the best comparison here is the 2007-08 Celtics. A second year guard has emerged as a great playmaker, but will the newly-united stars share their spotlight with him for the benefit of the team? Their choices will decide the future of the nation of  D’Anmelarélinson.

## 105 comments on “The Daily Lin: The Future of the Nation of D’Anmelarélinson”

1. rururuland2

What concrete evidence do we have that Lin “can’t shoot”? Surely, it’s not from the above sample of minutes.

He was a good shooter coming into the NBA.

Otherwise I really enjoyed this analysis.

2. Nick C.

Nice article. It’s nice you mentioned reading the defense as a skill. It would be noticeable with him anyway but after 20 games of head down dribblers missing giants waving by the hoop it is unmistakeable.

3. villainx

I was going to bring up Rondo as a reference point for Lin. Especially with the occasional talk about still adding an establish elite PG to the Knick squad. Most of the criticism focused on what Rondo doesn’t do well (mostly outside shooting?), and peddling him to get CP3 or someone like that. And not quite appreciating pretty much how he’s been the one guy holding the Celtic ship together.

4. Rashidi

Lin was absolutely NOT a good shooter coming into the NBA. He was a 33% 3pt shooter at Harvard, on few attempts, playing inferior competition.

Draft Express (Jan 2011)
Knocking down a couple of jumpers over the course of the week at the Showcase, it will be important for Lin to improve his ability to make shots from beyond the arc, especially with his unorthodox shooting mechanics.

5. villainx

About Lin’s limitations, going left, turnover prone, or going left (unless I’m missing something), seems like a lot of the scout/analysis reports vary quite a bit.

Some say he does have a decent outside shot, and so far, he seems to hit them ok, or okay enough to keep the defense honest.

Lin may go to his right more, but when he’s attacking the basket, he basically goes right in there, left or right depending on what’s available.

Turnover is the main thing, but he has the ball a lot and passes a lot, so it might come with the territory if he keeps that style of play. And playing time and experience might mitigate that too.

Lin doesn’t necessarily have to keep playing at the elite level of these past three games to be a godsend for the Knicks.

6. Gideon Zaga

Now that is a well written article, hope everyone is happy now. One thing that I would add is that at least Lin has a better shot than Rondo but he has to earn the respect of the big guns like Rondo did in order for them to trust him. Everybody acts like Melo won’t fit but Lin is the one who has to be able to fit with Melody so that when he calls for isolation, like Rondo does, he will wave him off to ran a better play.

7. rururuland2

Rashidi:
Lin was absolutely NOT a good shooter coming into the NBA.He was a 33% 3pt shooter at Harvard, on few attempts, playing inferior competition.

Draft Express (Jan 2011)
Knocking down a couple of jumpers over the course of the week at the Showcase, it will be important for Lin to improve his ability to make shots from beyond the arc, especially with his unorthodox shooting mechanics.

He’s got a high-arching shot that wouldn’t seem to portend a lot of success the deeper it’s released.

But I was under the impression he was a mid-range guy. I suppose you’re saying the college line shows that he’s not. But, you also mentioned the attempts.

8. Gideon Zaga

He obviously has to work on his weak hand but what we can do now is keep one of our big guns on the left wing, just so in case he does go left and if or not the trap comes, he can make the good decision which he will.

9. max fisher-cohen Post author

Yeah, Brian seemed optimistic about his college numbers. He did shoot 40% one year on the college three, but Rashidi’s right – he dropped back to 34% on it the next year. You’re right though, Ruru, that there’s definitely no damning evidence just yet against his ability to shoot. He’s just very hesitant to shoot from outside 15′ or so, and was pretty awful at it last year in GS. I would say there certainly is not good evidence that he can shoot.

10. Juany8

Lin most certainly can’t shoot, although I honestly feel he can at least develop a spot up jump shot, I’m not sure he’s ever going to be able to shoot well off the dribble. The problem is not just that it makes isolations harder to play, but any pick and roll not involving Lin hard to run. The Amar’e-Melo pick and roll has been practically impossible to run because Chandler, Fields, and Shumpert can’t hit a shot outside the paint so teams send everything to stop it, not because Melo is selfish or stupid or whatever. The brilliant thing about Lin’s appearance is that it buys this team time to wait for Baron to return, get healthy, and still make the playoffs with a puncher’s chance of upsetting Chicago or Miami teams that are going to find it hard to score on Chandler at the rim (see last year’s Finals)

11. villainx

The Amar’e-Melo pick and roll has been practically impossible to run because Chandler, Fields, and Shumpert can’t hit a shot outside the paint so teams send everything to stop it, not because Melo is selfish or stupid or whatever.

Not getting into Melo or anything, but seems like the one plus with Lin is that he doesn’t pick up his dribble with pick and roll, but keeps it to either attack the basket, or dribble on when the roll doesn’t develop and either resets it or find a good outside shooter.

12. Gideon Zaga

Speaking of Baron someone should tell that guy to go see a physiotherapist in addition to whatever he’s doing, apparently this will help with the regeneration of the nerves damaged by infection caused by the discs. Just a doctors opinion.

13. rururuland2

max fisher-cohen:
Yeah, Brian seemed optimistic about his college numbers. He did shoot 40% one year on the college three, but Rashidi’s right – he dropped back to 34% on it the next year. You’re right though, Ruru, that there’s definitely no damning evidence just yet against his ability to shoot. He’s just very hesitant to shoot from outside 15? or so, and was pretty awful at it last year in GS. I would say there certainlyis not good evidence that he can shoot.

Fair enough.

And if he’s merely an average shooter, rotating defenders are going to have to either respect his drive, giving him an ability to get by them before they can turn their hips, or shoot with space (which he will need a lot of with his release).

The one thing I think he’ll always struggle with is creating his own shot when the defense tilts towards ball screens.

As you’re seeing with Nuggets right now, sometimes your continuity offense gets bogged down, No.7 is the guy who can get you out of those funks.

I don’t see balance being a problem when he returns however. Knicks fans still have not seen him play with a true passing point guard who creates a moving defense through ball-action.

Speaking of which, is it plausible that Amar’e will get back to his Suns TS numbers with Lin in the pnr?

If so, on just that condition, I wonder where the Knicks offense would hypothetically rank?

And If Melo gets back to the .575 TS (or above a he’s been without injury), it must be a top-5 offense, no?

14. xduckshoex

rururuland2:
What concrete evidence do we have that Lin “can’t shoot”? Surely, it’s not from the above sample of minutes.

He was a good shooter coming into the NBA.

Otherwise I really enjoyed this analysis.

Well until he proves he can shoot we assume otherwise. We have but a small sample to go on, but it’s the only information we’ve got.

I would say based on what I’ve seen he needs to work on his long jumpers, it’s not like he clangs off the back iron consistently or anything, it’s usually wide.

15. rururuland2

villainx:
The Amar’e-Melo pick and roll has been practically impossible to run because Chandler, Fields, and Shumpert can’t hit a shot outside the paint so teams send everything to stop it, not because Melo is selfish or stupid or whatever.

Not getting into Melo or anything, but seems like the one plus with Lin is that he doesn’t pick up his dribble with pick and roll, but keeps it to either attack the basket, or dribble on when the roll doesn’t develop and either resets it or find a good outside shooter.

As mentioned in the other pieces, Lin’s pnr works because he’s patient, and he’s able to stay patient because of his handle, body positioning and ability to keep defender out of his sight of vision.

He’s going to be fantastic with Amar’e in pnr.

Melo’s never had much success with Amar’e in pnr because Amar’e doesn’t set great screens that allow Melo to gain a passing angle.

16. Garson

Why are we assuming that Baron takes the starting job away from Lin? If he can defend 2s … he would actually be a perfect compliment to him at the shooting guard position.

17. rururuland2

Garson:
Why are we assuming that Baron takes the starting job away from Lin? If he can defend 2s … he would actually be a perfect compliment to him at the shooting guard position.

BD is most effective with the ball in his hands with a passing mindset. I think he’ll back up Lin, with all of his minutes coinciding with Amar’e.

18. xduckshoex

He’s going to be fantastic with Amar’e in pnr.

Melo’s never had much success with Amar’e in pnr because Amar’e doesn’t set great screens that allow Melo to gain a passing angle.

This is why I’m taking a wait and see approach on the Lin-Amare pick and roll. Lin is doing a great job taking advantage of the space that Chandler’s perfect screens create for him, we haven’t really seen how he is going to fare when that space isn’t there off of one of those mediocre Amare “screens”.

19. villainx

Why are we assuming

I don’t think any or at least not many of us are assuming that. It’s Lin’s job now.

20. Bruno Almeida

villainx:
The Amar’e-Melo pick and roll has been practically impossible to run because Chandler, Fields, and Shumpert can’t hit a shot outside the paint so teams send everything to stop it, not because Melo is selfish or stupid or whatever.

Not getting into Melo or anything, but seems like the one plus with Lin is that he doesn’t pick up his dribble with pick and roll, but keeps it to either attack the basket, or dribble on when the roll doesn’t develop and either resets it or find a good outside shooter.

the thing is, it’s much easier to do it if you’re 6’3″ instead of 6’8″… when you look at Lin coming off screens, his upper body is always pretty low, he gets really close to the ground, so he has much more control of his dribble since his hand is much closer to the ground in comparison to Carmelo’s.

it’s much harder for Melo to keep his dribble alive simply because he’s much taller.

21. ess-dog

Lin is shooting 56% jumpers this year at a .556 eFG. He’s hardly a bad shooter. He might not have NBA three point range (yet) but that’s something he can work on. Look at J. Kidd who started out as a very poor three point shooter.

One thing he needs to work on is drawing fouls when he’s in close. He’s done an ok job in some games, but that has to improve if he’s handling the ball so much.

Speaking of FTs, Melo is still 7th in the league in FTs despite missing all that time. If Lin continues to be our primary ball handler, I don’t see any reason why Melo shouldn’t mesh with this system. All he has to do is relax and wait for the ball.

Lin really has saved this season. Baron would’ve helped as well, but I think Lin is even better.

22. Eazy B

When all of our guys are healthy, do we expect Chandler or Amar’e to be the main option in PnR? Obviously both are quite adept at being the roll man, but we have to feel better with Amar’e off the ball than Tyson, no?

23. max fisher-cohen Post author

@ess-dog, are you getting those shooting stats from 82games? It hasn’t been updated since 1/29, before Lin broke out, so the sample for that is really small.

I think Melo will adjust as well. I think there’s great reason for some serious optimism for Knicks fans right now. I’ve just been bitten too many times before to jump in whole hog.

@jim — TY!

@Eazy, MDA was running PnR pretty much exclusively through Tyson early (prolly b/c Amaré could spread the floor for him). Realizing that it might have been playing a part in STAT’s struggles, I think he adjusted the game plan by staggering Tyson and Amaré’s minutes so STAT could be the primary PnR guy whenever Tyson was off the floor. As good as Chandler is at rolling to the rim, Amaré is spectacular, so I hope he gets even more touches there.

24. Grymm

So I get bored at work fairly routinely. I’m a big believer in “the numbers don’t lie” (while acknowledging that they may not always tell the whole truth). So I give you 2 players:

Player A: 23.5 pts per game on 18 shots (.550 TS), 5.4 Reb, 4.5 Ast, 1.9 Stl, 2.3 TO
Player B: 19.8 pts per game on 12.4 shots (.668 TS), 5.2 Reb, 4.9 Ast, 2.6 Stl, 3.8 TO

Player A was the 9th overall pick in the 2011 draft – Kemba Walker. Player B is what you get when you take the last 2 years of Jeremy Lin’s college career and limit his games to only ranked opponents and teams Walker also played. It winds up being a small sample (12 games), but it does have some significance.

1. Lin’s stats across the board are up. He shot better (all percentages) while having slight increases in every other stat. His turnovers did go up. More importantly, though, his stats did not go down. One could argue that Lin’s and Walker’s college stats should not be comparable overall as Lin played an Ivy League schedule, but here we see Lin playing similarly if not better against the same teams Walker was playing.
2. Lin was a very efficient scorer in college. His TS% in this sample is ridiculous, but still .625 over his last 2 years in college. Imagine how good Raymond Felton would have been shooting less but hitting half his shots. And thinking of that, why do the Bobcats keep drafting PGs who can’t shoot?

Now I’m not going to compare Lin to some of the best PGs to ever lace them up, but I have no issue with comparing him to a guy like Walker who was taken in the lottery. Walker gets high praise for his leadership and his big wins at UConn, but the fact remains he can’t shoot very well. Conversely, Lin seems to excel at creating and making less difficult shots. On top of that, he looks for his own shot less and distributes more. With a couple top shelf finishers at his disposal in NY, that’s a very good skill set to have.

25. Gideon Zaga

Tonights game is getting so much airwave hype that I wish I could be at the Garden in person. I want to see Linsanity first hand.

26. Nick C.

I did like the use of the bank shot on several occasions. Hopefully it was intentional, but even if it wasn’t the ability to improvise is a good one to have.

27. Gideon Zaga

Hey he did go to Harvard after all and he did major in economics, so no surprise the bank is open for him.

Nick C.:
I did like the use of the bank shot on several occasions. Hopefully it was intentional, but even if it wasn’t the ability to improvise is a good one to have.

28. JK47

Lin is a better fit for the offense than even a 100% healthy Baron Davis, because Lin is a pure pick-and-roll PG while Baron is more of an improvisational guard who breaks his defender down off the dribble and looks to create off of that. Baron can make some insane, highlight-reel passes, but he’s never been an outstanding PnR point guard. This team has the potential to be a deadly SSOL team, especially if NYK can add JR Smith and his reliable 3-point shooting. Elite offense and a top-10 defense sounds pretty good to me.

29. Gideon Zaga

I’m sorry, i really enjoy your posts but come on to say that Baron at 100% will be worse than Lin is not fair. The fact is we don’t know, just like how nobody knew how Lin would fair in MDA system. All we knew about Lin was his penetration, we had no info on his decision making. Let’s not jump to conclusion’s. Aside from that Baron did ran the p& r with Blake and Deandre and the guys in Cleveland very well. Plus he’s a better shooter and has a good weak hand.

JK47:
Lin is a better fit for the offense than even a 100% healthy Baron Davis, because Lin is a pure pick-and-roll PG while Baron is more of an improvisational guard who breaks his defender down off the dribble and looks to create off of that.Baron can make some insane, highlight-reel passes, but he’s never been an outstanding PnR point guard.This team has the potential to be a deadly SSOL team, especially if NYK can add JR Smith and his reliable 3-point shooting.Elite offense and a top-10 defense sounds pretty good to me.

30. Bruno Almeida

jimjamj:
NBA Playbook did an article on him on Wed
http://nbaplaybook.com/2012/02/08/a-look-at-jeremy-lin/

Main negatives are his poor off-hand, and that he’s not comfortable shooting floaters

I’m very encouraged by that, because it seems to me that most of Lin’s issues are areas where he can get better with training / dedication, and he seems to be a really hard working kid.

it’s not hard do develop a good floater or to become a better shooter if you have a good form (which he does), and with some work he can be a better dribbler with his left hand.

the thoughest things to develop are court vision, knowing how to read defenses, properly changing speeds, when to shoot and when to dish… and those are his strengths so far.

31. JK47

@33

I like Baron, and he has a long track record of being a great passer while Lin has played three great games. Still, Baron is not an ideal fit for SSOL, in which the pick-and-roll is the key ingredient. Baron is a mediocre PnR point guard– this is common knowledge and the advanced stats back it up. Here’s a quote from an article that can sum it up much better than I can:

“Last season while playing with the Clippers – another team with a pair of explosive big men – Davis ranked in the bottom one-fourth in the NBA in offensive efficiency when passing out of the pick-and-roll. For players who had at least 200 possessions in this set, he was dead last, with a turnover rate of nearly 20 percent while his passes produced just .84 points per possession.”

Even in his prime, Baron was not an elite PnR point guard.

32. massive

Oh, and does Steve Novak get any credit for being as close to incapable of missing as Ray Allen? When Steve Novak shoots, I smile before the shot even goes in. Lin, Novak, Chandler, and Fields have really been worth watching these past three games.

33. Frank

One thing he needs to work on is drawing fouls when he’s in close.He’s done an ok job in some games, but that has to improve if he’s handling the ball so much.

I actually think the opposite is true — he actually has the 3rd highest FTA/FGA of any guard in the league (behind someone named Cortney Fortson and also James Harden) and has the 2nd highest and-1% of any guard and 3rd highest and-1% of any player in the league.

http://www.hoopdata.com/scoringstats.aspx?team=%25&type=pg&posi=%25&yr=2012&gp=0&mins=10

I’m actually very surprised at how good he is at drawing contact (and he’s been able to finish better than I thought he could as well).

34. Bruno Almeida

@38

yeah, Lin is deceptively strong it seems, but his 3 games have come against very, very bad interior defenses… drawing fouls against Humphries / whatever the Nets have at Center, Millsap / Jefferson and Booker / McGee ain’t that hard.

the kid is for real, but I don’t think those numbers are sustainable.

35. Brian Cronin

Broussard has a fascinating piece up at ESPN that brings up something that I’ve long believed (and long repeated here) – that you can’t judge a player based on his coach burying him. A league executive said:

“A player can only be as good as his coach thinks he is. There are a bunch of guys who are one coach liking them away from being a decent player in this league. If your coach has you on a short leash and pulls you out every time you make a mistake, you’re going to play like crap. Jeremy Lin is just like a whole bunch of guys. I’ve seen three guys in the D-League recently who are like him. He’s no better than he was two weeks ago. But he’s been given an opportunity with a coach who believes in him.”

I don’t think the executive means guys with Lin’s skills, but rather guys who are good but aren’t being given the chance to prove it.

I think we’ve seen that repeatedly over the years. It is quite frustrating at times.

36. george from brooklyn

I don’t think Knick fans should worry about Lin, he’s been successful in HS, college and he will be in the pros. His supposed shortcomings, weaker left hand and below average jump shot will improve with practice, which he will do. The prescient part of this article is the reaction of Melo and the comparison to Kobe is nearly perfect. If Melo continues to “iso”, it’s his game, and Lin can’t muster the onions to run MDA’s offense, MDA won’t,by the way, the Knicks will lose quite a bit of Lin’s advantages and only be marginally better.Melo has to reduce his ego and alter his game to make maximum advantage of Lin’s abilities !!

37. DReDD

Rusty Simmons: This is pretty cool: @David Lee set up @Jeremy Lin with his old Manhattan apartment. Maybe the couch-sleeping days are over.

How awesome is David Lee?

38. xcat01

The one thing everyone is missing about JLin is his work ethic. Being a Harvard grad and an overlooked ball player, Lin has had to prove people wrong over and over again. All the things that everyone has been bringing up about Lin’s weaknesses are all fixable. I expect that JLin is today probably going to show up at the Garden 2 hours or so early to work on his jump shot. This kid wants this so bad, he will do anything to stay here. He will have bad games but the thing to look for is how he handles it. Say the Lakers shut him down tonight, how does he play the next night. I am willing to bet that you won’t see two or more bad games in a row from Lin.

39. max fisher-cohen Post author

@pc to show what happens when Lin doesn’t have the ball in his hands. Kobe dominates the ball, and because Lin can’t shoot, LAL is probably better off with D. Fisher. Basically, if you don’t let Lin take over the offense, as D’Antoni has (props to Mike!), you have a subpar player, which is how Lin looked on Golden State.

40. Gideon Zaga

interesting point, I guess that’s the same with the below average league players. Players and their styles as well coaches matters in this league. The NBA is not equal opportunity.

max fisher-cohen:
@pc to show what happens when Lin doesn’t have the ball in his hands. Kobe dominates the ball, and because Lin can’t shoot, LAL is probably better off with D. Fisher. Basically, if you don’t let Lin take over the offense, as D’Antoni has (props to Mike!), you have a subpar player, which is how Lin looked on Golden State.

41. villainx

@40. I just feel that most coaches and GM prefer players with discernible scoring or shooting skills. And figure the players will either learn or the “system” will correct things like hustle, basketball iq, defense, and so forth.

42. Brian Cronin

@40. I just feel that most coaches and GM prefer players with discernible scoring or shooting skills. And figure the players will either learn or the “system” will correct things like hustle, basketball iq, defense, and so forth.

I think that’s an insightful thought. It really does seem like the players who struggle the most to get attention from coaches are the non-obvious scorers. The hustle guys, the defenders, the head’s up guys, the rebounders. Guys like Anthony Mason, Bruce Bowen, Darrell Armstrong…imagine how many guys are out there like those guys who never did get the chance? Think about it – there’s a very real possibility that Lin could have been cut this past week and then, who knows? Maybe he never makes it in the NBA. We’d like to believe that merit will win out in the NBA, but it likely does not.

43. Gideon Zaga

Wrong, coaches and GMs are interested in keeping their jobs and so refrain from playing moneyball. Athletes are safe pics, check the shumpert signing. You only go all Lin when your job is on the line.

44. Z

max fisher-cohen:
@pc to show what happens when Lin doesn’t have the ball in his hands. Kobe dominates the ball, and because Lin can’t shoot, LAL is probably better off with D. Fisher. Basically, if you don’t let Lin take over the offense, as D’Antoni has (props to Mike!), you have a subpar player, which is how Lin looked on Golden State.

But when Anthony returns, isn’t the real Melo likely to replace the metaphorical Kobe? (Don’t congratulate Mike yet.)

45. Degree_Absolute

I will be very pleasantly surprised if we can keep it competitive tonight. The Lakers front-court is leaps and bounds better than anything we have faced in this three game stretch. With our short-handed from court, Jerome Jordan could see early action and significantly stiffer competition.

Did anyone watch the game Lakers-Celts game last night? Was Rondo having his way with the Lakers’ back-court? He only put up 14, but was he penetrating? Derek Fisher’s line is atrocious and Blake’s is pretty vomit-inducing, as well, so maybe Lin can keep us in this one.

46. Gideon Zaga

On a side note, anybody know how the heck Luol Deng became an all star. Sheesh he’s not even the 4the best player on his team. This was surely rigged.

47. Brian Cronin

I will be very pleasantly surprised if we can keep it competitive tonight. The Lakers front-court is leaps and bounds better than anything we have faced in this three game stretch. With our short-handed from court, Jerome Jordan could see early action and significantly stiffer competition.

I don’t see how the Lakers’ front court is leaps and bounds better than Utah’s front court. They’re certainly better, but Utah has a very good frontcourt. The area the Knicks are strongest in right now is interior defense with Jeffries and Chandler doing a really nice job defensively.

48. Brian Cronin

On a side note, anybody know how the heck Luol Deng became an all star. Sheesh he’s not even the 4the best player on his team. This was surely rigged.

The same way BJ Armstrong made the All Star Game. The best teams in the league “have” to have at least two players on the All Star team and Noah and Boozer are both having down years.

49. joe

to be real if this works out the way im thinking if melo keeps playing ISO then ny would have no choice to trade him for a bunch of shooters because look STAT will thrive off of Lin because it brings him back to his days with the suns and the pick and roll is what made him a beast melo wants iso which totally messes up the Dantonis system but if mello and stat can both give up maybe 3 shots a game and Lin makes his own 3 and then melo moves the ball (or scores within the flow of the offense) then ny would be unstoppable. novak is lights out when given a chance bill walker can shoot he needs to be more consistent but yea he can shoot and if landry fields can ark his dang shoot and get Jorts back then seriously we really would be unstoppable…………just think about it yall

50. Degree_Absolute

Brian Cronin: I don’t see how the Lakers’ front court is leaps and bounds better than Utah’s front court. They’re certainly better, but Utah has a very good frontcourt.

I guess its in the eye of the beholder. I was just not impressed by Utah’s big men, but maybe they just had an off night. Bynum is a beast and is better than Al Jefferson in just about every facet of the game other than free throw shooting. Gasol and Millsap are closer in terms of impact, with Gasol maybe having a more refined skill set and Millsap having more athletic ability.

51. Owen

“How awesome is David Lee?”

Pretty freaking awesome. And speaking of players who just needed to be given a chance. (Although he was drafted in the first round)

Kyle Lowry is another guy. There was some strong statistical evidence he was capable of doing great things.

It’s a pipe dream at this point I think but I can’t shake the feeling Balkman could be like this too. The guy has actually posted a pretty superb line this year in 110 garbage minutes. I really do think he could be an above average starting small forward in the NBA. But it will never ever happen….

52. Brian Cronin

Exactly, Owen. The argument against Balkman seems to be “if he was good, Karl and D’Antoni would play him,” but this just goes to show you that that is not always the case. And doesn’t that quote from the league executive sound exactly like Balkman?

53. xcat01

The only thing holding back Balkman is Balkman. If he would practice with the same intensity that JLin does or that he does in his limited minutes then he would earn more burn. That’s the problem when you smoke too much, you lose your drive and you just kind of go along. I think Balkman can be a good player but can you imagine him selling out to the MDA system like JJ? I can’t. Balkman has the physical skills, I think he just needs to get pissed enough to bring it everyday.

54. Brian Cronin

Balkman, I will say, at least has a similar player ahead of him in the rotation in Jeffries. So that excuses his benching more so than Lin’s benching, which really did not make sense.

55. xduckshoex

Gideon Zaga:
On a side note, anybody know how the heck Luol Deng became an all star. Sheesh he’s not even the 4the best player on his team. This was surely rigged.

From what I can tell, it’s “they’re the best team in the NBA, we have to give them another all-star”.

I feel kinda bad for Josh Smith, he really deserves to be there.

56. Degree_Absolute

Degree_Absolute: I guess its in the eye of the beholder.I was just not impressed by Utah’s big men, but maybe they just had an off night.Bynum is a beast and is better than Al Jefferson in just about every facet of the game other than free throw shooting.Gasol and Millsap are closer in terms of impact, with Gasol maybe having a more refined skill set and Millsap having more athletic ability.

I say “just” a lot.

If it is competitive, we can partially thank the Celtics for taking them to OT (and losing). Gasol and Bynum played 41 minutes each – which is a ton of time for legit 7 footers – against a physical (dirty?) team so hopefully they will be a little tired and banged up when they face our depleted front-court. We need to run tonight.

57. villainx

If Balkman was 2+ inches taller he’d get more playing time. And if the primary scoring options was something other than our forwards, he might have a place. But certainly Jeffries is blocking Balkman.

58. Bruno Almeida

xcat01:
The only thing holding back Balkman is Balkman.If he would practice with the same intensity that JLin does or that he does in his limited minutes then he would earn more burn.That’s the problem when you smoke too much, you lose your drive and you just kind of go along.I think Balkman can be a good player but can you imagine him selling out to the MDA system like JJ?I can’t.Balkman has the physical skills, I think he just needs to get pissed enough to bring it everyday.

I don’t believe that… for all we know, Lin was busting his a** in practice every day and D’Antoni still wouldn’t play him over the artist formerly known as TDDWTDD…

Balkman might be practicing really well and still not getting any minutes, we don’t know what happens inside the club.

59. Degree_Absolute

villainx: If Balkman was 2+ inches taller he’d get more playing time.

I think that those 2 extra inches would make JJ’s minutes less of a sure thing. But, If Balkman really wants minutes, he should learn to knock down an open three without hesitation and try to take Walker’s PT. Right now, his current skill set is redundant and he has no chance guarding a 5.

60. max fisher-cohen Post author

Z:
Who is the “son” in D’Anmelarélinson? Josh Harrelson?

I was thinking of Tyson, but Harrellson works too. I thought about calling it the “Fields of D’Anmelaréson” just to get Landry in there, but it seemed kind of weird to call the Knicks a field. Putting Fields or Landry into the “D’Anmelaréson” took away the Frenchiness of it, which I thought was funny. (yes, I put too much thought into this)

Z: But when Anthony returns, isn’t the real Melo likely to replace the metaphorical Kobe? (Don’t congratulate Mike yet.)

I’m hopeful that he won’t, but the sample size indicating Melo’s changed is about as big as the sample size indicating Lin is for real, so we have a lot riding on a couple risky bets.

Not to get all cynical in this time of relative optimism, but let’s say we win vs. LA and Minnesota. Then Anthony comes back, ISOs a lot, scores 30 a game, while Lin struggles mightily and the Knicks go back to losing. Who will take the blame?

61. villainx

he should learn to knock down an open three without hesitation

That was my original point, can’t score or shoot, it’s harder to find playing time.

62. max fisher-cohen Post author

And I hope that wasn’t a freudian slip in that last comment — cutting Lin out of “D’Anmelarélinson”

63. BigBlueAL

Brian Cronin: I don’t see how the Lakers’ front court is leaps and bounds better than Utah’s front court. They’re certainly better, but Utah has a very good frontcourt. The area the Knicks are strongest in right now is interior defense with Jeffries and Chandler doing a really nice job defensively.

The Lakers’ front court is leaps and bounds better than Utah’s defensively.

64. JK47

Balkman must have some advanced form of ADD or something. He’s obviously a talented player but he has a knack for doing things that are gob-smackingly stupid, like fouling guys during 3-point attempts, passing the ball into the fifth row and chucking long-distance Js at inopportune times.

65. Brian Cronin

True, but that’s what I love about what the executive said. That if you give a guy a real chance, you let him play past his mistakes. If you don’t, then the moment he does something dumb, you bury him. If you are playing like that, then you never have a real shot. I’ll certainly allow that Balkman does a lot of dumb stuff on the court. But that dumb stuff is more than balanced out by the good stuff he does (good defender, good rebounder, good around the rim as a scorer), and yet that is what he is judged by by his coaches.

Remember when Lin got playing time against the good players on Houston and he made a bunch of dumb mistakes? Now imagine if they just buried him at that point. That’s where I think we’re at with Balkman.

Except, of course, like I noted, Jeffries is a very similar player and without Melo and Amar’e, you really can’t have Jeffries and Balkman in the rotation at the same time. So I’m actually okay with Balkman not being involved for now.

66. Degree_Absolute

Do you really think he still has to worry about his job despite this unexpected winning streak without our marquee stars and the good press from the decision to start Lin (and all the merchandise sales that have come with that)?

Oh right… Dolan is the worst. Never mind.

67. Mulligan

Seriously? We’ve all seen Balkman play. It’s not a mystery why he doesn’t play more. He’s wildly inconsistent and makes maddeningly boneheaded plays at times. He definitely has his strengths but I think he’s a little too unpredictable to be counted on with more minutes.

68. Gideon Zaga

Btw Mike D’antoni is going to be on Michael Kay at 4:30pm , im intersted to hear how he responds to the what are you gonna do about Melo question. And guys be realistic, this is a players league and D’antoni has a year left while Melo has 4. Nobody is trading him. MDA has to convince Melo that he has to buy in or you know who doesnt get traded and who doesnt get a new contract. Yeah you guessed it, Magic got Paul Westphal fired, even Demarcus Cousins got him fired and even though Andy Reed should have been fired you know why he wasnt, cos Vick and the rest of the boys loved playing for him. It’s a players league guys, don’t kid of yourself because Lin’s emergence.

69. d-mar

I know this may be considered heresy as well as Lin is playing, but if Davis ever comes back healthy, I’d like to see Lin come off the bench. Think about Lin, Shumpert, Jorts and JJ as a disruptive group that can come in and wreak a little havoc on both ends, esp. if the starters are lacking energy. Just a thought.

70. Gideon Zaga

Oh yeah and Hubie Brown just endorsed Jeremy Lin, i am now convinced he’s not a fluke or a tebow at least. Hubie also said he believes Melo will buy in because he wants to win.

71. cgreene

Gideon Zaga:
Oh yeah and Hubie Brown just endorsed Jeremy Lin, i am now convinced he’s not a fluke or a tebow at least. Hubie also said he believes Melo will buy in because he wants to win.

where is that info coming from?

72. xcat01

@81, Magic got Paul Westhead fired not Westphal. Paul Westphal was still playing at that time I think. Cousins did get Westphal fired. As for D’Antoni’s fate, I think he is good for the rest of the year unless LinSanity comes to an abrupt halt. MDA’s offense is what is making JLin successful right now and the big reason Dolan won’t fire MDA is he just made a huge deal to sell the rights to Knick games to China. D’Antoni made Dolan a whole sh*tload of money, he is good for the rest of the year.

73. Ben R

I agree that Jeffries and Balkman are very similar players and Jeffries is a better help defender, while Balkman is a better on ball defender. With Melo and Amare on the court and the ability to hide Jeffries he makes more sense than Balkman but right now Balkman brings more offensive firepower. Neither can shoot but all those pick and rolls from Lin that Jeffries is struggling with, Balkman would be able to finish.

I really hope that we give him a shot over the next two games. Against LA let Jeffries and Balkman split time at the 4 put Tyson and Jordan at the 5 and let Novak play the 3 since LA doesn’t have a 3 that can really take advantage of him unlike Pau and Bynum who will chew Novak into a fine paste.

74. Gideon Zaga

Dantoni said with Melo returning is gonna be a give and take and he said everyone is going to have to buy in. I like think MDA very much.

75. nicos

Interestingly, Balkman’s defensive numbers on synergy are awful- worst ppp allowed on the team. Small sample size but his numbers in limited minutes the last two years in Denver were just as bad. I’m not sure how much stock to take in synergy’s defensive numbers but I would say it’s possible that Balkman is a guy who looks like he’s playing good D- always high energy, waving his arms around- but when you break it down isn’t getting much done.

76. Frank O.

The Knicks are Linfinitly capable of beating the Lakers tonight.
Chandler needs to play smart and avoid foul trouble

77. Gamecockerbocker

Brian Cronin:
Exactly, Owen. The argument against Balkman seems to be “if he was good, Karl and D’Antoni would play him,” but this just goes to show you that that is not always the case. And doesn’t that quote from the league executive sound exactly like Balkman?

GAMECOCKS!

78. bobneptune

Brian Cronin:
Exactly, Owen. The argument against Balkman seems to be “if he was good, Karl and D’Antoni would play him,” but this just goes to show you that that is not always the case. And doesn’t that quote from the league executive sound exactly like Balkman?

brian,

with all due respect, before the past 3 games lin has seen about 300 minutes on the floor in his career. balkman has seen over 3,000!

those hidden talents of balkman’s must be pretty hidden as 30 gm’s and 30 coaches haven’t been able to ferret them out in 3,000 minutes of floor time.

and d’antoni gave him a couple of sniffs of non garbage time lately and he looked like a deer in the bloody headlights.

79. bobneptune

Frank O.:
The Knicks are Linfinitly capable of beating the Lakers tonight.
Chandler needs to play smart and avoid foul trouble

this! and good luck to jefferies vs gasol. if one of them gets in foul trouble, who defends gasol/bynum?

80. Tony Pena

bobneptune: brian,

with all due respect, before the past 3 gameslin has seen about 300 minutes on the floor in his career. balkman has seen over 3,000!

those hidden talents of balkman’s must be pretty hidden as 30 gm’s and 30 coaches haven’t been able to ferret them out in 3,000 minutes of floor time.

and d’antoni gave him a couple of sniffs of non garbage time lately and he looked like a deer in the bloody headlights.

Yeah despite his athleticism I’ve seen him take some weird angles at the rim this year, like he hasn’t been working on his game. I think Balkman gave up on himself some time ago.

81. daJudge

I’ve said it before and certainly have no evidence to support my opinion, but I think Balkman (who I really like a lot) has a problem that transcends his game. If he doesn’t, I apologize. If he does, shame on him for not getting help. I think he has quite a bit of potential if he focuses. That’s what it looks like to me.

82. Z

:
Jeffries and Balkman are very similar players…

Except that one can catch the ball, dribble the ball, and score the ball.

83. TheXman

Confirmed evidence from my friend that J BalLIN out of control was the Circle last night. He’s used his newfound stardom to hit up the popular Korean club in Times Square. Let’s hope he didn’t get himself fucked up for the game because it’s going to be a big one tonight.

84. bobneptune

Z: Except that one can catch the ball, dribble the ball, and score the ball.

which one is that ? :-) :-)

85. Z

daJudge:
I’ve said it before and certainly have no evidence to support my opinion, but I think Balkman (who I really like a lot) has a problem that transcends his game. If he doesn’t, I apologize.If he does, shame on him for not getting help. I think he has quite a bit of potential if he focuses.That’s what it looks like to me.

Are you referring to a certain leafy weed that may or may not have some medicinal qualities?

I have joked a lot over the years about Balkman’s drug use. I have to say that I have based it on nothing other than the fact that I thought he was a Rastafarian– a culture that uses marijuana as a religious sacrament. Asking a Rastafarian to forego the weed is akin to asking a Muslim to forgo fasting at Ramadan– something I remember Hakeem Olajuwon having to explain during day games. A players religion does transcend the game he plays, as well it should.

HOWEVER, I am not so sure Renaldo is, in fact, a Rastafarian. I think he may just be a dude with cool hair. Rastafarians aren’t allowed to descartes their own bodies. No piercings, no tattoos. That includes tattoos on one’s eyelids.

So, yeah. To make a long baseless analysis short, there’s something holding Balkman back because he is a physical freak who has shown he can play great basketball. I have no idea what it is, though.

86. daJudge

Z, with respect to religion, if true, then perhaps he should not accept a contract to play professional basketball. You can’t have it both ways. It is not fair. Also, if someone uses a drug to the point where it impacts upon his life, is it any different because the use is based upon a metaphysical belief as opposed to simple psychological pleasure/escape? I would also assert that limited/very moderate/controlled use of such a drug would not have a serious impact on play, like a dudes moderate alcohol use. But if someone came to a practice stinking of weed or alcohol, big time issue. Go Knicks. Go LJ.

87. Z

daJudge:
Z, with respect to religion, if true, then perhaps he should not accept a contract to play professional basketball. You can’t have it both ways.

I think this is a pretty interesting debate, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with Balkman.

Sandy Koufax didn’t play in a world series game because it fell on Yom Kippur. Should he have not have accepted a major league contract because his religion was going to trump his commitment to his team?

What if an orthodox Jew pulls a Jeremy Lin and proves he can play NBA level basketball. BUT he can’t play on the Sabbath. Can he have it both ways? Would it even be okay for a GM to tell him that he has to work? Would it even be legal?

In 1994 Ramadan fell in February/March. The Rockets were jockeying for playoff position, but Hakeem kept to his religion and fasted. It didn’t hurt his game, but it certainly could have. Should he have apologized to fans if he’d bonked down the stretch in winnable games because he refused to eat?

Balkman, if marijuana is in fact a major part of his religious belief and cultural identity, should be as entitled to putting religion above sports as anyone. And, even if he is, it really isn’t hurting his game. He’s been a good player, when given playing time. (And, of course, he’s not the only person in the NBA to partake in the sacrament. Our own Charles Oakley himself claimed that 90% of NBA players toke up. And I am certain that it is not limited to after games. As we’ve learned from the Ron Artest and Chris Mullin, players don’t always do what is best for their on court performance when choosing whether to partake in the use of controlled substances).