Jeremy Linsanity has been traded to....the Los Angeles Lakers!!!
Hip hip hooray!!! Hip hip hooray!!!
For he's a jolly good fellow....
Oh, we could hardly contain our joy. One of our proud sons have come home!!!
Jeremy, you must visit our headquarters...Monterey Park, Arcadia, Temple City, San Marino!!!
Now, recently we blogged about the current state of Linsanity with the thinking that he would carve out a niche for himself in Houston. But then, out of nowhere, this divine gift drops out of the sky. Thank you, Lord!!!
Well, when life throws you a curve ball, you gotta wait on it, read the spin...and then still knock it out of the park.
So, we scrambled our wits together to proudly bring you the Linsanity State of Emergency!!!
Being traded to the Lakers presents both a golden opportunity as well as a litmus test.
You see, Jeremy is now entering the final year of his contract. How he performs this year will steer the trajectory of his career for maybe the next 5 years.
Plus, the Lakers are a team that has wiped their own sleight clean and are starting with a pretty blank canvas with only a portrait of Kobe on it, and his paint will only stay on for 2 more years.
So now, Jeremy Lin, we get to find out, with much incentive motivating, what game you got, big boy!!!
We shall proceed with our open-heart surgery dissection of Jeremy's game.
After three years and intense media scrutiny, Jeremy's mental make-up has proved itself to be strong. He's weathered many ups and downs and endured uncertainties to position himself at the doorstep of opportunity.
Having said that, his basketball game continues to face familiar challenges.
The single biggest weakness of Jeremy's game is on-demand outside shooting.
If you look at his stats, the percentages say he's a good shooter from three. But that stat is deceptive because there's a difference between hitting three's versus hitting three's on-demand.
In the NBA, one of the names of the game is to impose your will on your opponent. You decide how the game should be played and force them to come along.
One simple strategy to impose your will is to see who can't hit from the outside and keep making that guy shoot that shot.
When a team adopts this strategy, the opposing team then must counter it by hitting that shot on-demand. Not percentages...hit this shot...to force them to change their strategy. It is a shot with purpose and not percentage.
Jeremy's stats look good, but during the game, the other team exploits this weakness and lets him shoot three's by purposely backing off him. For these types of three's, he struggles.
Hitting three's off of fast breaks or with a ten point lead is not the same as hitting three's when needed.
The NBA game is a combination of competition and entertainment. The entertainment aspect of the game is becoming increasingly important as the NBA tries to market itself to casual fans and overseas.
So, it's important for a player to be both effective on the court as well as having a certain aesthetic quality to his game. For example, even though an air ball counts as 1 miss, it is really more than just 1 miss. A player who shoots an air ball just looks bad. You can't have too many air balls.
With Jeremy, the aesthetic challenge to his game comes from his turnovers. Now, he is an aggressive player who likes to put pressure on the defense; so, he's going to be taking chances out there.
But still, just like air balls, certain types of turnovers count as more than 1 turnover.
Jeremy has been shown to be vulnerable to being forced into bad looking turnovers, the ones where he gets caught in the air and has to throw the ball up for grabs or where he has trouble handling the ball against a feisty defender.
This just can't happen. He's got to eliminate that from his play. A steady solid player is much preferred to a swashbuckling risk taker who gets boomeranged with his own risk-taking.
So, these two things, hitting three's on-demand and being solid with the ball, they comprise pieces to the puzzle of winning basketball. And they are big reasons as to why Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale benched Lin in favor of Patrick Beverly, a less spectacular but more reliable player. McHale knows winning, and he was right to make that choice.
Now, assuming Jeremy works to shore up the previously stated weaknesses, he would be poised to take a giant leap forward on the biggest stage in basketball. He may find himself being the starting point guard of the Los Angeles Lakers with Kobe Bryant to play off of and Jack Nicholson sitting courtside. Any hint of great play from him will ignite the sparks for Linsanity the Sequel.
We know that Jeremy is great at running the pick 'n roll play. When his coaches have ran that play frequently, he has lit it up; when they don't, he's been inconsistent.
Now, Mr. Linsanity, you have a team who went out and traded for you. You need to take charge out there and be a floor leader. Pound the ball on the floor and bark out orders. Demand for that big guy to come set the screen. Lobby your coach to call your play. Get in the face of opponents who try to take cheap shots. Argue with the refs, take a tech to make a point and influence future calls.
It's time for you to take the bull by the horns and mold your team according to your game and not the other way around. Also, you have the perfect partner to help you do this in Kobe Bryant. He is the walking definition of "I'm doing it my way."
So, there it is. Hit the three that makes them pay, no more sloppy turnovers, and you control your own destiny.
We're pulling for you, Jeremy. Go out there, kill it, and represent!!!
This has been the Linsanity State of Emergency.