Saturday, February 11, 2012

Analyzing Jeremy Lin's Career Game vs. Los Angeles

Last night, in the Knicks-Lakers recap, I posted a video that highlighted all of Jeremy Lin's field goals. This video, however, is a bit longer, shows some replays, and also highlights his assists. I'm no Zach Lowe (or any of the other tremendous basketball analysts there are out there, for that matter), but I thought we could take a look at the video and do a slight breakdown how Lin is able to orchestrate the Knicks' offense.

Take the jump!

 - Alright, first off, Jeremy Lin's and Landry Field's handshake is so baller. Probably the most lovable backcourt in the NBA - smartest too!

 - Instead of going through each of his jumpshots seperately, we'll look at them on a whole. Lin's form is pretty nice, so it's a bit of a wonder as to why he sometimes struggles shooting outside of the paint. Last season, with the Warriors, he shots just 38.9 FG%. At :38, you can see that Lin is squared up to the hoop, his right arm forms a textbook 90-degree angle. His release is nice and high, he's got good rotation on the ball, and he has a nice follow-through.
  • However, there are two things that could be pointed to as inconsistent with Lin's jumpshot are his elevation and his follow-through. On his corner 3-pointer (:38) and his pull-up jumper (:56), you can see that Lin has nice elevation on his shot. Likewise, he takes a good, in-rhythm jumpshot, as he has some bounce to his step when he makes the jump-stop to pull up. However, if you look at his jumper from the corner at 5:41, you can see that he doesn't quite get the same elevation as the previous two, and that he pulls his follow-through down pretty quickly, ala Carmelo Anthony. The same thing happens at 5:49, as Lin quickly pulls down his follow-through and his elevation isn't the same as it was in the first half. I'm not complaing because not only were these all made shots, they were electrifying, momentum-swinging shots, but there is some slight inconsistency in the form of his jumper.
 - According to Hoopdata, Lin shoots an astounding 69% around the rim. Away from the basket, though, his percentages drop, but they're still pretty impressive. 39% from 3-9 feet, 57% from 10-15 feet, 64% from 16-23 feet, and 30% from 3-point range. Lin clearly has an ability to hit jumpshots, I think it's more of a matter of space and rhythm with him (as it is for most players). With help from the coaches, he could be equally as dangerous with the jumpshot as he is in the paint.

 - As mentioned, his 69% shooting around the rim is like Tyson Chandler good. In the game last night, Lin faced much tougher defenses around the rim than he had in the previous four games. Lin's use of his body control and angles really helped him out in getting baskets in the paint last night.
  • Lin's and-1 floater at 3:10, demonstrates his strength and body control. As Hubie Brown noted in that clip, Lin is 6'3", 200 lb, which is pretty similar to Derrick Rose except ten pounds heavier, so Lin is not a small, fragile man out there. Likewise, his pivot, turn-around jumpshot over Fisher at 3:33 shows Lin using his body to create space, and in the air he collects and squares himself up, using proper shooting form. His best move of the night (amongst many) came on his spinning drive around Fisher for the layup (3:45). You can see that Lin begins to move right (his strong side), forces Fisher to cut off the lane, and then spins to his left, recovers on his right foot, and uses his extra step on his left foot to finish with the righty layup.
  • In the second half, Lin had to be more creative with his lanes to the basket. On his drive at 4:20, Fisher forces him left, which Lin accepts. As he gets to the basket, he uses a hop step, to split between Fisher and the baseline which acts a second defender. He then flips the shot over Bynum. At 4:44, Lin drives baseline with Steve Blake guarding him. Once again as he gets to the basket, he falls back, creating space between he and Blake, and before Matt Barnes can come to help, and he banks in the layup. Lin sees angles and openings extremely well and uses them to throw defenders off and get himself baskets. at 7:12, Lin simply takes Matt Barnes off the dribble. When he gets into the lane, Pau Gasol steps up to help and is moving right, thinking Lin will try to finish right. Instead Lin, being much quicker than Gasol, sidesteps left, which throws off Gasol's momentum, and gives him just enough room to finish with the reverse.
 - It's important to note that many of Lin's drives either come on isolation plays or are just created by Lin. Often times, as seen with his drive at 4:44, Tyson Chandler comes to set a screen, and Lin goes the opposite way, which gives him room. On his isolation plays, most notably on Gasol (5:44) and Barnes (7:12), Shumpert is on the left wing or in the left corner. If Lin was forced to go left and got caught, he could kick it out to Shumpert as the secondary ball-handler and the Knicks could try and reset their offense. Besides for Novak, there aren't a lot of shooters to spread the floor, which makes Lin's ability to score even more impressive.

 - Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol are both great at defending the pick-and-roll, and Derek Fisher, even in his old age, can still fight over screens. The Lakers' defense prevented Lin from running a lot of pick-and-roll, so to make up for it, Tyson Chandler either ran the floor hard, or slipped the screen and got opportunities to score, mostly in the first half. In the case of Jared Jeffries (2:02), Lin is stopped on the PnR, but Jeffries fades out and they run sort like a pick-and-pop to get Jeffries the open jumper. Lin's pull-up J in transition (:56) came off of a Tyson Chandler pick that gave Lin room. Against good defenses, the Knicks' pick-and-roll game will probably be much more effective in transition, since Tyson, Amar'e, and Jeffries can usually all run the floor much better than opposing big men.

 - As mentioned, Lin is brilliant in the break, as evidenced by his terrific spin move on Fisher. However, another example can be found at 7:00. As he and Shumpert run a one-on-two break, with Blake being the only defender, Lin drives and drives until Blake as to react, then wisely passes off to the more athletic Shump for the easy layup.

It's been a delight to watch Lin improve and do something different each night. What I tried to do in this analysis is highlight things Jeremy does well, and things that can be improved. Lin is extremely resourceful on the drive with his ability to create space and see angles. With a little more consistency on his jumpshot, there doesn't seem like much of a reason that Lin will see any sort of steep drop-off.

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