Jeremy Lin: Grading His Season with Lakers


In a forgettable season, acquiring Jeremy Lin from Houston with the addition of a late first-round draft pick was supposed to be something Lakers fans could get excited about. Lin definitely has his die-hard fans, but overall his play this season was inconsistent and disappointing.

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Lin averaged 11 points, 4 assists and 2 rebounds shooting 42% from the field, 36% from the 3-point line and 80% from the free throw stripe in 25 minutes per game. Let’s take a deeper look at Lin’s impact with the Lakers this season in the following categories:

Offense: Lin thrives in the pick and roll sets especially with favorite target Ed Davis. He’s more of a combo guard than a true point guard who likes penetrating and dishing to the open man on drives to the basket. Lin can be a streaky shooter that is more comfortable shooting off the dribble than coming off screens. Therefore, he struggled in the Princeton offense setting screens and taking spot up shots. In his 5th year in the league, Lin has shown to be a “one trick pony” in terms of only being able to play one way. When you take the ball out of his hands, he gets a bit lost and discouraged. A glaring weakness Lin showed was his ball-handling and decision making in the 4th quarter and crunch time.

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Defense: Lin has the foot speed to keep up with quick guards on the perimeter, but he tends to get screened out fairly easily and gets pushed around a lot. He has a knack for taking charges which is a an asset, but there were also times where he got injured doing so. Opposing point guards would attack Lin’s defense without much resistance. Lin tends to rely on help defense, but because the Lakers were so poor defensively most of the time if guards blew by Lin they had a free run to the basket. Lin’s strength is definitely on offense, so defensively he is a liability.

Teammate: Jeremy Lin is a likable guy, especially off the court. He gets along with teammates and since he doesn’t have a huge ego, he blends into the team well. Kobe Bryant challenged his toughness on occasion and Bryant’s infamous “soft as Charmin” comment during practice was directed at Lin’s team. Lin was asked by the media several times about his toughness and he argued that he puts in the work and is willing to do what he team asks of him. The team chemistry overall was great in the locker room and Lin was definitely a positive contributor to it.

Mental Strength: What’s surprising most about Lin is because of his Harvard education you would think he’s a very cerebral player, but just the opposite is true. Lin plays off of emotion which usually dictates his performance. On the court, although normally mild-mannered the referees seem to have it in for him. It could be his complaining demeanor or his desire to draw charges from opponents. Whatever it is, refs tend to pick on him and rarely does he get favorable calls. Lin tends to be a quick starter so you can tell what type of night he will have once he’s on the floor for about 10 minutes. In late game scenarios, he tended to defer to Bryant when he was healthy and had some crucial turnovers when the game mattered most. It’s hard to say whether the pressure of playing in L.A. or the constant losing affected him more. Probably a combination of both, yet in crunch time Lin was hesitant at best.

Coachability: Early on in the season Byron Scott clashed with Lin’s style of play. They went back and forth in the media and until late in the season, there wasn’t much upside to their relationship. The Princeton Offense isn’t ideal for Lin’s game, but at the same time he has to learn to thrive in different structures if he wants to stay in the league. Bryant and Scott must have felt they could pick on him in order to motivate Lin, but it never worked. Lin only faced one DNP which upset him, but to be fair, his minutes were inconsistent all season. It’s safe to say Scott and Lin didn’t mesh well which probably doesn’t bode well for a return next season. Both parties needed to compromise, but Lin continued to air out his displeasure to the media and Scott stayed hard-nosed in his approach. Sometimes the player-coach partnership just doesn’t fit and in this case, let’s just chalk it up as that.

Intangibles: Jeremy Lin initally started once Steve Nash shut it down for the season, but he was outplayed by Ronnie Price and really never regained his status. It’s a similar story for Lin’s career since it happened to him in Houston with Patrick Beverly. Lin has talent, but sometimes he gets outplayed and doesn’t show enough fight to earn his starting position back. As his career continues in the NBA he’s more of a spark off the bench than a bonafide starting point guard. Highlighted in an ESPN article towards the end of the season, mentally this was his toughest season in the NBA. He tended to isolate himself and try to problem solve alone, but outside of his run during the second half of the season, Lin wasn’t able to turn it around. Lin was traded for with hopes he could revitalize his career plus the Lakers wanted the additonal draft pick. It didn’t work out as planned and most likely Lin will find a new team and the Lakers will move on.

Grade: Overall Jeremy Lin scores a C- for this season which puts him as a below average NBA player. In the right system, Lin can score and distribute the ball, but for an athlete in the prime of his career at this point you are who you are. Lakers fans wish Lin good luck in the future, but barring a major miracle there’s doubt he’ll be back in L.A.

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