Last season Jeremy Lin took just 28.7 percent of his shot attempts at the rim (inside three feet), the lowest percentage of his career by far. By contrast, 45.8 percent of his shots came from outside 16 feet (to be fair he was hitting them, knocking down 35.8 percent from three).
What got Jeremy Lin into the league and made Linsanity happen in the first place is that Lin is aggressive and successful attacking on the pick-and-roll, and he can finish around the rim — last season he shot 57.8 percent on drives, second in the league only to LeBron James. Last season in Houston he got away from that in the Rockets’ system, where he got more spot up attempts than shots as the pick-and-roll ball handler (stats via Synergy Sports).
You don’t need a Harvard economics degree to see what Lin needs to do on the court.
He gets it, too. This year he said wants to get back to what he does well, he told Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News at an Adidas event in the Los Angeles area Thursday night to launch the company’s new store.
“Maybe I should just keep attacking the basket more,” Lin joked. “In the NBA, you have to be great at something. For me it’s attacking the basket. I’ll just continue to work on that and shore up other areas of my game….
“It gives me versatility,” Lin said (of his role in Houston). “I pretty much have seen it all, a lot of highs and lows in my career. I’ve been through it all. I feel like barring a devastating injury, I don’t think there is anything I haven’t seen or experienced.”
No matter how healthy Steve Nash ends up being this season (certainly that is a huge question mark for the Lakers) Lin is going to get a lot of run at the point. He may be more comfortable playing with the Lakers more athletic and younger second unit (Nick Young, Julius Randle, Ed Davis) than with the plodding starters. We will see how coach Byron Scott breaks that out.
But what the best coaches and the best systems do is put players in positions to play to their strengths, to put them in positions to succeed. Watch how the Spurs “find” all these hidden gems of players, what they do is ask these guys to play to their strengths and not stray from that in the system (also move the ball and play D). Lin is like most NBA players with very defined strengths (attacking off the dribble) and weaknesses (defense).
Scott needs to use those wisely, if he does Lin could have a strong season in LA — and earn some money as a free agent next summer