Jeremy Lin might just be the most underrated player in the NBA.
The Nets are 7-8 in the month of March, in no small part to Jeremy Lin’s return to the starting lineup from nagging hamstring issues. 7-8 may not be impressive by most standards, but for a club that had won less than 16% of it’s games before March? A month of .500 ball is more than just a blip. Overall, the Nets are just 11-19 with Lin in the lineup this year, a .392 winning percentage. However, the Nets are 5-40 with Lin sidelined.
Lin provides the Nets what every team in the NBA wants from their point guard on the offensive end. In the halfcourt, Lin is a pick and roll master. He also luckily plays with one of the best bigs in the league for that offense in Brook Lopez. He is an efficient driver, and while his finishing is down this year, Lin is shooting over 50% in short-range jumpers. Lin is also shooting 36.6% on three pointers, well above the NBA average of about 35%. He is also exceptional in transition with his vision and quickness. Sidenote: For what it’s worth, Lin was measured as having having more raw speed than Kyrie Irving, John Wall, and Derrick Rose at the 2010 NBA Draft Combine.
Lin may not provide the best defense by starting point guard standards, but he does show consistent hustle, and doesn’t get beat too often. Then again, we’re not looking at Lin as a championship level point guard, but one that at least has a definite place in the NBA as a key contributor.
Lin fixes a lot of the problems the Nets had last year. They just did not have a competent point guard, and their offense often stagnated. Lin provides a steady, consistent approach to each possession, and doesn’t try to force things.
It’s easy to overlook Lin’s contributions. The Nets are bad, and they have a lot of inexperience and moving parts of the team, Lin included in the latter. However, the Nets ARE a fun team, and Lin is a big reason for that. He has a knack for making the flashy play that can get crowds re-energized and re-engaged.
Give Lin a chance. Really watch what he contributes. You might be surprised.