- He was a great college player at Harvard but wasn't drafted.
- He was cut by 2 NBA teams before the Knicks picked him up.
- He was probably the 4th point guard on the Knicks depth chart.
- The Knicks have been terrible this year and are currently without their 2 best players (Amare Stoudamire and Carmello Anthony)
- The Knicks have now won 4 straight games with Jeremy Lin playing big minutes (including 3 starts).
- The 89 points he scored in his first three starts (including Friday) got him a historical distinction. They are the most scored by an NBA player in his first three starts since the NBA-ABA merger 1976-77.
- Everyone loves him.
I looked on his Wikipedia page, and the "recruiting process" section had some additional info. It sounds like he led his recruiting process, which seems odd for a highly talented player. The U.S. has a huge youth basketball eco-system with AAU Basketball. Most talent is identified at a young age, and the AAU system allows the best players to travel the country playing with other top talent. There are built-in college recruiting channels into this system. Also, good high school coaches should have strong ties with at least the local college coaches. It seems odd that he had to lead his recruiting efforts in California.
It doesn't sound like Lin had these support systems behind him. The PAC-10 schools (Cal, UCLA, Stanford) had enough interest in him to encourage him to walk-on, but not enough to offer a scholarship. He also sent out feelers to ALL the Ivy League schools, but only got offers to join basketball teams from two of them.
Are you saying he's a 2nd tier high school players because he played for a division 2 high school team? If you are, I don't think you understand much about high school basketball. California is some of the best in the country. As mentioned above, their division 2 state title win was over a nationally ranked team. Division 2 just means your high school is smaller, it's not the same as being an NCAA division 2 team.
"The guys getting scholarships were scouted out in junior high school." Although this happens (chris webber being the first example that comes to mind) it doesn't happen that often, and even if it does the player still has to prove things in high school because only verbal scholarships can be offered before a players junior year.
With your correction, there's still only 4500 Div 1 basketball scholarships available. Did anyone else in his division get such a scholarship?
In each state, there is at least one guy with his stats in the equivalent division who also doesn't get a scholarship. My cousin was 6 foot 5, averaged 30 points a game, led his team to state, was very athletic and won summer dunk contests, but played division 3, so still wasn't good enough to even play in college, in any division, much less get a scholarship. I went to college with Devean George and he was only there because didn't get scholarships anywhere, either.
He's not the next Yao (since he's American born, for starters), but he'd still be worth a lot purely for the fans he'd draw.
While "hundreds of millions" is often just hyperbolic thinking, Chinese are keener on the NBA than Americans. Unless the world cup (soccer) or Olympics is on, it's the only spectator sport worth speaking of. And Chinese love brand-name goods, and sports memorabilia, though many are forged.
Plus, he's a good player.
Nets spent billions to build a new arena. Knicks got Jeremy Lin.
It seems obvious that Lin's Chinese descent is at least still a novelty in the NBA
If the NBA is lacking in Chinese players, I'd amount it to:
1. Chinese players' talents aren't good enough, or they simply don't fit into the NBA style of play
2. NBA teams are not good at transcribing their play to the NBA level
Lin is an American, however, and has been playing US-style basketball his whole life.
Lin's had a streak of statistically good games, and a much larger sample of below average play off the bench. I haven't watched his games and I don't know how good he is on defense, or how he looks in operating an offense. But even if he turns out to be a really great NBA player, it's not like he was the first professional athlete to be overlooked/underrated. John Starks, former Knick, who played a big role in the Knicks' success in the 90's was undrafted, as was Ben Wallace, a premier defender for the championship Pistons in the 2000's.
The NFL also has a lot of once underrated talent. The Super Bowl losing Patriots have future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady, who has been an elite quarterback for about a decade now was the 199th player picked in his draft class. And one of his prime targets the past few years has been undrafted Wes Welker. Kurt Warner was undrafted, sign as a free agent, cut during the preseason and had to play several years in the Arena League before becoming a Super Bowl MVP and superstar quarterback.
Doesn't everyone play the same game/style?
The NBA tends to run a very isolation-oriented offense. This means that a point guard usually brings the ball to half-court, and if the PG is the main iso guy, he keeps the ball, or he dumps the ball to the main iso guy. The rest of the offense then spreads out so that iso guy is 1-on-1 with the defender. He'll usually play 1-on-1 (taking a shot or driving to the basket if he can) until there is 10 or so seconds left, and then the offense will start really moving.
Being from Cleveland, we saw this in the extreme when Lebron James played for the Cavs. We nicknamed this the "Lebronfense", because the entire offense (especially in the playoffs) consisted of Lebron holding the ball for 15 seconds and then making a move. This generally doesn't happen as much in other countries and leagues as it does in the NBA. Generally, guards and SF's who score a lot in the NBA are iso-specialists.
I'm not well versed enough in basketball strategy, so I'm not sure why this happens. It likely has to do with maximizing a superstar's athletic ability and overall impact on the game, but that's just a guess.
They weren't going to cut him, so much as not renew his contract. His contract wasn't guaranteed, and he was living on his brother's couch.
They were going to let him go and probably sign vet Mike James (currently in the D league)
... and you could say Baron Davis, their point guard that JL is in place of.
In a scam, you don't have any way of making any future correct predictions--it's just random. This analyst has a reasoned system that can be tested against past players and against future prospects. Sure, there's going to be someone out there that picks Jeremy Lin. But the trick is, can you correctly identify players who are already known to be good based on their college stats, make the right call on Jeremy Lin, and go forward and continue to make good calls on draft prospects?
I'm not saying this sabermetrician generally makes good calls; I haven't looked. But dismissing his call as the result of a series of Bernoulli trials is completely missing the point.
PS: It does not matter if there is a system behind their predictions, what matters is how well their predictions hold up over time. Otherwise your just: http://xkcd.com/904/
Ironic side note - I tried to use it as my ESPN.com forum account avatar, and was denied.
Another example, what I've found interesting reading some of the NBA statisticians blogs is this argument about "clutch". Most fans and media insist that Kobe Bryant, a player who shoots a lot of shots at the end of games and makes spectacular shots sometimes is the best closer in the game. Meanwhile almost all statistical evidence points to Chris Paul, a player who runs boring routine plays down the stretch, as by far the best closer in the league in terms of actually winning close games.
Until the NBA stats can predict winners like baseball, the public will always go by the "look." The teams themselves however, are almost all hiring statisticians now.
For example: pitcher vs. batter -- each pitch is essentially a new, repeatable experiment.
In basketball, I would guess that there are very few repeatable experiments. (Different players, strategies, locations, etc). It is a much more fluid game and therefore determining an indicator of success is much more difficult.
I once read an interview with a Major League scout who said he relied heavily on the numbers. He basically said, "We can get any stats, on any of these guys, at any minute, and find out exactly where they are, and if they have the numbers for the big leagues."
Talk about pressure. . it was an eye opener.
The clock completely changes the approaches you have to take in analyzing any other sport.
At the core, stats tell a story of what a player has done in the past. Projections predict what a player might do based on what comparable players have done in the past. Statistics don't tell the future. They are just one tool of the scouting process.
Plus the models are always evolving. What was considered an indicator of talent 20 years ago might be inferior to the indicator 10 years ago that is actually inferior to what is in vogue today.
Statistics don't lie, but what story do you think they actually tell?
Pretty hard to believe I accept.
That's exactly it. People often argue that something or other isn't accounted for, but the statistical methods are sophisticated.
Besides, it's not about being perfect, it's about getting an edge.
An apt quote from the movie Moneyball:
"I know you've taken it in the teeth out there, but the first guy through the wall. It always gets bloody, always. It's the threat and not just the way of doing business, but in their minds it's threatening the game. But really what it's threatening is their livelihoods, it's threatening their jobs, it's threatening the way that they do things. And every time that happens, whether it's the government or a way of doing business or whatever it is, the people are holding the reins, have their hands on the switch. They will bet you're crazy. I mean, anybody who's not building a team right and rebuilding it using your model, they're dinosaurs. They'll be sittin' on their ass on the sofa in October, watch the Boston Red Sox win the world series."
It is gaining popularity. Boston Celtics are one of the pioneers. The Nets even Bought a sports video/stats startup recently. Time will tell if talent evaluation will also change as Lin has been a paradigm-destroyer of the old way of scouting.
Name ONE team with a stats department that consists of a SINGLE Assistant Coach.
What you said is not true. Stats is HUGE! Try to get drafted if the stats department gives you a thumbs down.
but for the other side of the argument you should check out mark cuban's post http://blogmaverick.com/2010/10/03/building-teams-using-quan...
The "common wisdom" of sabermetrics (if you can call it such a thing) holds that clutch hitting doesn't exist, but many including James, aren't quite ready to completely write it off.
Your example is a good one: name someone who has a "skill" at draining game-winning buzzer-beaters.
Unfortunately for the As (and fortunately for those of us who embrace the statistical analysis of sports) other teams caught up and surpassed their approach. But it's still going on. In every sport. And there is much evidence that it works.
In summary, he isn't good going left or shooting from distance. So far he hasn't played an elite defensive team. The true test will come if he can sustain his performance over the season and against good defence. Let's hope he does it!
No one is saying that he's going to be another Stockton, Nash, Wade (although Magic Johnson did say that Lin reminded him of Stockton and Nash), and he doesn't need to be in order to succeed. If he can keep the caliber of his game up to NBA standards, he can accomplish what he wanted, which is to play in the NBA, and that's all that matters. His performance over the past 4 games is saying pretty strongly that he can play at this level.
Remember, he just played against over 10% of the league already and has been the best player on the court. If the Knicks elite players can get their act together, then Lin only needs to contribute positively in order to maintain a strong career.
He's certainly lucky to play for D'Antoni, who is just about the only coach in the NBA who'd let a point guard freelance like Lin has. He's also lucky that the Knicks' star players are out so he doesn't have the pressure to just pass them the rock, which wouldn't showcase his skills. It will be interesting to see how Lin plays with Amare and especially Carmelo. We know from Phoenix that Amare is perfectly happy running the pick-and-roll with a good point guard. 'Melo prefers to handle the ball more, so there could be conflict there.
I think the bigger concern is that our small data sample on Lin's performance is significantly biased in that he has played teams with poor defense at the 1 & 2 (guard positions). Derek Fisher is no defensive All-Star.
I can't verify this, though--haven't done sabremetric research in a while. Doesn't Basketball Prospectus have a section ranking guards on their defensive play?
If the Knicks elite players can get their act together, then Lin only needs to contribute positively in order to maintain a strong career.
This is a non-trivial problem. Conditional on being the offense's #1 option, Lin has played well. How will that change when Melo and Amare return, and he has to set them up? When those guys are healthy, Lin is a #3 option at best (maybe lower, as he has no outside jumper).
We have to keep in mind he is doing this well despite the odds stacked against him.
- No jump shooters / scorers in the starting 5.
- No practice.
- A tremendous amount of expectation and pressure both nationally and internationally.
Dribbling with his left hand and making 3s will come. Derrick Rose took a couple years to get it down in terms of treys. It's a matter of effort, and by all accounts, Lin is a hard worker.
I would be completely shocked if he did not remain a starting PG in the NBA. His effect should only grow as Melo and Amare return.
I looked into his stats because I don't pay much attention to the Knicks.
At any rate I think Jeremy Lin is definitely going to have a good deal of trouble succeeding long term. There are a number of concerns there, but by far the biggest is TOs. In each game he's played, he has had the most TOs of any player. You can coach that away but one of two things will happen, his FGs will go up and his ASSTs will go down, or his ASSTs will go up and his FGs will go down. What you want, for a lot of reasons that most of you probably already know, is for the latter to happen. What seems to be happening is the former. There is a reason it is called a Point Guard. That needs to be fixed or other coaches will definitely take advantage of it when it counts.
You say, "well no problem...when Stoudemire and Anthony get back the problem will ameliorate." It may. I don't know. I would have to revisit his stats at that time. If I had to bet, I would bet that it will get better. But other young PGs struggle with the same issue...to the detriment of their teams in my opinion.
I guess what I am saying is that success in basketball, as measured in rings, requires stats optimized for balance and flexibility rather than strength. When Jason Williams finally got to Miami he was a more balanced PG. IIRC, during the 2006 finals he averaged 12 points and 7 ASSTs. Critically, at that point in his career TOs were under control. Jason Williams peaked at, somewhere around 3.5 a game. Jeremy Lin is averaging twice that at least. Not good.
And consider, Jason Williams could make some of that up on the back end with steals. Not so much with Jeremy.
So I can see why a lot of statisticians would look at Jeremy Lin and say,"...well with my personnel...I'll have to pass on this guy." Of course if we scour the web we will find one guy who rated him highly, that is the nature of the beast. But there are a lot of good reasons that a lot of good scouts did not rate him highly. And most strategists probably see a lot of those reasons every time he plays.
All that said, Jason Williams, after initially playing a lot like Jeremy, achieved a REALLY good ASST/TO rating. If it wasn't THE highest...it was close. But again, that's the 12 points 7 ASSTs Jason Williams, which is what you want in a PG if you want to get to a ring.
The first is that he's playing PG and has to handle the ball a lot more than anyone else on the team right now. Combined with his minutes, that's generally going to give you more TO's just because of the amount of time with the ball and the probability of a player of his skill level losing it (although this point doesn't account for other PG's who average way fewer TO's).
Second, he's just started to play a ridiculous amount of minutes over the past week and hasn't had enough time to refine himself yet. Did you watch the first couple weeks of games this season? Because of the lockout this year, there were almost no preseason games and it showed. Turnover rates were extremely high for pretty much every team, so I'm inclined to think that Lin can get his turnovers down throughout the rest of the season assuming they keep playing him.
My last point is a pretty obvious one, but he's still young. A few more years of experience and I expect to see turnovers go down. I watched his 38 point game last night, and while he played pretty amazing, he did have moments where he looked confused and flustered when running the offense.
What I love about Lin is he is a smart player and a smart person. It's not a surprise to him that he's turned the ball over. Guess what he'll be working on in the future.
Is there any evidence of turnover concern from his time at Harvard?
I hope he continues to do well, but some of the comparisons that are being made are without merit.
In his first four games of real time, he's averaging 4.25 turnovers, 8 assists, and 28.5 points per game. Deron Williams, a premier point guard in his prime, and playing with talent about on par with Lin's right now, is averaging 8.4 assists and 4.22 turnovers per game.
The turnovers might be a touch high, but there wasn't a moment in last night's game where I thought, "oh, this guy's just taking way too many risks." He seems quite solid.
And any fool watching these games knows that Lin's no Jason Williams.
I think the most important stat is scoring efficiency (or FG percentage). Against the Lakers yesterday, he was at 56.5% for the game (scoring 38 points). That is commendable given that it is against the Lakers.
You'd probably have to deal with too many parameters (one for each player in the league)...or maybe not?
Pardon the vagueness, I'm only suggesting this as a theoretical exercise.
EDIT: well, that didn't take long. http://www-stat.wharton.upenn.edu/~zhangk/2010%20Scoring%20a...
It's hard to avoid the Linsanity now.