Linsanity still finding the “middle”

Linsanity certainly hasn’t breached the Texan borders and it might never.

This might disappoint the millions (yes millions) of Jeremy Lin fans and in particular ESPN who followed the craziness surrounding the Asian-American Harvard graduate to the extreme.

The shortened lockout season was all about Linsanity until Lebron James finally reached the top of the mountain.

Since playing his last game for the Knicks, Lin has failed to grab America’s or the world’s imagination.

Instead, he took the tag of Linsanity to Houston, Texas, and decided to take the ridiculous paycheque offered by the Rockets (backloaded contract worth 25 million over three years).

When the hysteria emerged last season, Lin was playing at an All Star level with a player efficiency level as high as 24.07. To put this in prospective, Lin sat in the top 10 most efficient players in the NBA (higher than Kobe Bryant’s 23.78 rating) for a stretch of the season. He finished with an impressive 19.9.

This year for the Rockets, Lin’s efficiency rating is at a mere 14.45, which is only just above the league average.

Has learning to play off the ball with James Harden made it difficult for Lin to find his spots and gain consistency in performance?

Maybe. With Harden sitting out against the San Antonio Spurs, Lin appeared far more aggressive in looking for his shot as he finished with a season high 38 points from 11 of 21 shooting.

One thing that hasn’t changed from last season is that Lin is still a pole on defence. All-Star Tony Parker registered his first career triple double on the same night as Lin’s impressive 38 point game.

Ironically, Lin can take a lot out of Tony Parker’s career as he looks for the balance between getting his teammates open looks and finding his own shot. In Parker’s formative years in the NBA, he had no jump shot to speak of. After being ridden hard by Coach Gregg Poppovich, Parker added a reliable jumper and a trademark teardrop.

Some people forget that Lin is only really playing in his first full season and his game is nowhere near rounded.

Speaking before the Spurs played in Houston, Parker made note of the similarities between  the young him and Lin.

“His shot will come,” Parker said. “Me too, I couldn’t hit a shot at the beginning of my career. I was still able to go to the basket. His shot will improve. It will help, definitely, his game. When I started making the outside jumper on a consistent basis, that’s when I was more consistent in my performance.”

Lin is currently shooting at a paltry 39 percent from the field, which is down from 45 percent last season.

So what should we expect from Lin right now and into the future?

If we follow Parker’s note, we just have to be patient and realise that Lin is still learning the position of point guard.

“There is a lot of attention on him. I think you have to be patient with his growth. When I first came into the league, I was a little raw. I was very aggressive. At the same time, I had to learn the point guard position and when to score, when to pass and try to find that happy middle, find the balance. I think Jeremy Lin is at that point,” Parker adds.

Fans and critics expecting Lin to repeat the high numbers from last season is absurdly unfair. As it stands, Lin is a starting point guard on a mediocre team and would be a back point guard on any good team.

Once he learns that “happy middle”, Linsanity might return.


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