Jeremy Lin has averaged 17 points and 6 assists in the 7 games since the All-Star Break shooting 49% from the field in only 28 minutes per game.
So what’s behind Lin’s recent resurgence? Here are 3 theories behind his improved play:
1) More Freedom. Lin recently mentioned that Byron Scott is putting the ball in his hands and letting him create more especially in the 4th quarter. Although Lin may seem like an analytical ballplayer, he actually plays much more off instinct and “feel.” In a structured half-court offense like the Princeton, Lin has a hard time performing because he’s “thinking” too much. Essentially he’s saying Scott took the handcuffs off and let him do his thing. Lin is playing much more aggressive, loose and finding his teammates cutting to the basket.
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2) Low Expectations. What’s the goal for the rest of the Lakers season? Coach Scott wants to see competitive play and improvement from his younger players. Most Lakers fans want to see the team secure a bottom five spot in the draft lottery, thus securing a top five pick in the draft. If you consider the second half of the season a “scrimmage” it’s a chance to see who’s worth bringing back next season. The first half of the season Lin struggled with consistency and minutes. It probably helps knowing Ronnie Price is out because Lin isn’t looking over his shoulder wondering if his name will be called. Jordan Clarkson and Lin can play in the backcourt together since their games are complimentary too.
3) Showcasing For His Next Contract. If you’re a basketball junkie, you know that the Lakers traded for Lin because of Houston’s 1st rounder, his expiring contract and extra marketing dollars he represents to the Asian market. With Lin’s disappointing play in the first half of the season it was clear L.A. would not re-sign him because of poor chemistry. As of late, there’s still a minute chance the Lakers want him back, but at least his value is rising for his next contract. NBA players usually play well in contract years and Lin is helping his stock increase around the league. Lin will get offers, he just has to be smart about signing for “fit” vs. money.
Former Coach Mike D’Antoni recently mentioned Jeremy Lin as one of his favorite players to coach and that’s exactly the style Lin thrives in. Lin does his damage when he’s aggressive driving to the hole, hitting cutters in the lane and occasionally pulling up for mid-ranger jumpers. His freestyle ways don’t mesh well with structured half-court offenses and he’s had a rough time in his career adapting his game to superstar teammates. Lin is having more fun now, feeling free to play his game. Laker fans enjoy this while it lasts because I doubt he’ll be dawning the Purple and Gold next season.