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Mailbag: Responses To Your Jeremy Lin Comments

I respond to your responses

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It can be very predictable. When writing an article I often know the types of responses I will receive on the comments section before I even start to plan out what I want to say. Some topics generate more reaction, mostly negative, no matter how well you try to form an argument. Depending on the person or topic, fans are quick to take any critique of the player's performance on the field of play as a personal attack. They seem to take any criticism of players like Tim Tebow, Vince Young (more so three-five years ago), or Jeremy Lin as an attack not because of his level of play or a poor decision made by the player, but as a personal attack based on issues not on the field or court. Subconsciously they seem to believe that if that player fails, then it reflects poorly on them and they fail as well. Any criticism I've ever written or may write in the future on Lin's performance or the merits of his contract are just that, a critique of his performance and not a personal attack.

With that disclaimer and explanation out of the way, let's discuss and debate the facts and opinions stated on my last article on Jeremy Lin. The article was based on questions from media members earlier in the week, asking Jeremy Lin if he was a franchise player. Lin gave the humble, modest reply that you would expect from him. I thought the question was ridiculous considering the situation. Predictably, several readers disagreed; here's what they had to say and my response.

Ido Amir wrote (after he got done insulting me):

Jeremy Lin's numbers went down when a "franchise player" in the name of Carmelo Anthony got back on the court. Minor detail, which a "real" franchise player would not let get in his way, is that what you mean? Because, of course, a "real" franchise player would have made Carmelo stay on the bench even when he's healthy again, right? Or maybe a "real" franchise player would have overruled Mike Woodson, when the latter said that "this is Carmelo's team". Right? Maybe you want to rethink the stuff you wrote above. It seems not very well thought through.

It's true that the offense changed some when Anthony got back because he's a ball stopper, but Anthony's return doesn't automatically mean that Lin's numbers should drop. There are multiple teams who have two star players and find a way for both players to reach their numbers. Anthony returned to the lineup on February 20th, Lin's drop-off didn't start in full until March 11th. Lin's drop-off didn't coincide with Anthony's return to the lineup and as a point guard, shouldn't having a star player on your team help your assists numbers go up and give you easier looks on jumpers with the defense focused on Anthony? It didn't, Lin's shooting percentage dropped from .472% to .407%, and his assist average dropped from 8.4 to 6.3 per game from February to March.

Amir went on to make another point:

Oh, and also, you write: " I believe his performance was overblown". Sure. He's the only player in NBA history (!) to have at least 20pts and 7 ast. in his first 5 games as a starter... Overblown. More than Michael Jordan. More than Magic Johnson. More than Larry Bird. The list goes on. Overblown. Not to mention probably no player in NBA history has had the clutch performances Lin had, in a row, in his first 6-7 games as a starter. Overblown. 38 points against Kobe Bryant come easy, right? Beating Dirk Nowitzki is simple. You're right. All of that is actually the very *definition* of "Overblown".

He had a great run, no doubt about that, but my point was that it was only a run and not something he's capable of maintaining over the long haul. What he did early on was historic, but that doesn't mean he's going to be a franchise level player over the next five to ten years. Maybe overblown wasn't the best term I could have used, but it can't be denied that early on it helped his numbers not having any scouting tape out there on him and opponents believing that the highlights they saw were just a fluke. When the tape gets out and the league has a chance to game plan against you; things get much tougher. We see it all the time in baseball where a young hitter will be on a streak early on but once the league has seen him, notices that he can't catch up to the high fastball or has a hole in his swing on breaking pitches; his numbers drop unless he makes an adjustment. Same thing with Lin, his numbers were great until the league had time to scout him and made the adjustments. Great players are able to adjust back and continue to produce; Lin didn't but we'll see what happens going forward. Teams don't have much time to practice during the season, especially with the lockout last year tightening up the schedule. I believe his drop-off in March was more due to teams finally able to scout Lin over the month of February and figuring out how to shut him down.

Ruimao Hong agreed with Amir:

People say that 25 great games are a too-small sample size to prove that he is great; yet they say that 1 bad game against Miami is a big-enough sample size to show that he is not good.

People say that he does not deserve the contract because he has only played 25 games in the NBA; yet they think that people who just got drafted can earn whatever they can even though they have not played any game in the NBA. Double standard.

It wasn't just one bad game against Miami. That game got the most attention because of the opponent, but one bad game against the Heat doesn't drop his numbers for an entire month. To his second point, no one thinks rookies can make "whatever they want." There is a rookie wage scale that determines how much a player will make before they're even drafted. Rookie contracts and signing bonuses in the NBA aren't bloated like in baseball or how the NFL used to be; his second point is simply not true on any level.

Ben Kim Hine made the following comparison:

Did you check his stats per 48 min? Very similar to CP3.

Personally I like the 'Per 36 minutes' stat because no one plays 48 minutes. Either stat is useable, I just use the 36 minute stat because it's more realistic to a players actual stat line if he's a full-time starter. Last season Lin averaged 19.6 points, 8.3 assists, and shot 44 percent per 36 minutes. Chris Paul last year averaged 19.6 points, 9.0 assists, and shot 47 percent per 36 minutes. Very close, but Paul did that work over a full season compared to two months for Lin. Also, last season wasn't a vintage Chris Paul season so I don't think the comparison works very well. Paul's assists last year were his worst per 36 minutes since 2006-2007.

I'm rooting for Jeremy Lin. He seems like a good guy, but more than that he's playing for my favorite team. That hope however doesn't blind me from numbers or games I've watched that indicate he won't be the player he was in February over the long haul.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.