Film Study: Jeremy Lin

NEW YORK – The New York Knicks’ Jeremy Lin-fueled winning streak came to a unexpected halt Friday night. But one loss does not take away from what Lin has been able to do over the last two weeks.

There are so many aspects to Lin’s story, so may reasons he appeals to tons of people around the world. But the reason he appeals to the Knicks is pretty simple: He’s a player that Mike D’Antoni can trust with the ball in his hands.

Before their game against the New Jersey Nets on Feb. 4, the Knicks stood at 8-15 with the 24th-ranked offense in the league, despite having two of the game’s most lethal scorers at the forward positions. And it was obvious to any observer that D’Antoni’s offense could not function properly without a point guard who could run the pick-and-roll.

Chauncey Billups had been waived via the amnesty clause to add Tyson Chandler to the frontline. Baron Davis wasn’t ready to play and Mike Bibby‘s days of being a full-time point guard were in the past. By default, the Knicks’ starting point guard was Iman Shumpert, a rookie and, really, not a point guard.

“We had two guards trying to make point guard decisions,” Chandler said this week.

Lin is far from the quickest or strongest point guard in the league, and he’s not a great shooter either. But he’s smart, and that has made all the difference for the Knicks.

“He’s just a smart basketball player,” D’Antoni said. “Obviously, this is his first year he’s played [extensively] in the league, but he’s light years ahead of most guys. It becomes a second sense. He feels the right play and makes it. I can’t explain it.”

“He’s not out there going between the legs and shaking people,” Chandler said. “He’s just making the right play. With his offense, it’s just making the right play. Just come off the pick-and-roll, get past your guy and make the right read.”

Here are a few examples…

Play 1
Lin comes off a high screen from Amar’e Stoudemire. Chuck Hayes hedges, but is unable to completely cut Lin off, and Lin knows that if he can get around Hayes, he’ll have an advantage. We see some pretty poor help defense from Tyreke Evans on the baseline, and when Jason Thompson helps off Chandler, Lin finds his teammate under the basket for a dunk.


According to Synergy Sports Technology, in pick-and-roll situations, Lin goes with the screen 68 percent of the time, splits the defenders six percent of time, and goes away from the screen 26 percent of the time.

Most of the Knicks’ pick-and-roll action for Lin comes from the side of the floor, rather than the top of the key.

Play 2
Here, Lin sets up Stoudemire’s screen by first dribbling the ball to the left side, giving himself more space to operate when coming off the screen. Aaron Gray retreats, so Lin attacks and finds Stoudemire on the roll when Amir Johnson helps in the paint…


When his defender looks to keep Kin from going with the screen, Lin doesn’t hesitate to go the other way. And according to Synergy, going away from the screen has been a more efficient choice.

Play 3
John Salmons slides to the side of the screen and Lin attacks the rim, picking up the bucket and the foul…


Beyond straight pick-and-rolls, having a point guard he can trust has allowed D’Antoni to open up the playbook.

Play 4
With the defense focused on Lin as he takes a handoff from Stoudemire, Chandler sets a back-screen for Landry Fields on the weak side…


The turnovers

With Lin’s spectacular play, you also get a lot of turnovers. He has committed 46 over the last eight games and 45 in his seven starts.

In part, the high volume is a result of Lin having the ball in his hands so much. Of 121 players who have logged at least 200 minutes over the last two weeks, Lin ranks fifth in usage rate and seventh in turnover rate.

Still, he has been guilty of being a little too careless at times. After Lin committed nine turnovers in Friday’s loss, D’Antoni talked about his point guard “trying to make the hardest pass out there.”

Here are a few examples of Lin’s passing turnovers…


Of Lin’s 46 turnovers over the last eight games though, only half have been on passes. The other 23 have come off the dribble.

Lin has a loose handle, and opposing defenders have been aggressive in trying to get their hands on the ball when he puts it on the floor. Here are a few examples of Lin’s dribbling turnovers…


The troubling part of dribbling turnovers is that they tend to be live-ball turnovers, which produce transition opportunities for the opposition. In total, 32 of Lin’s 46 turnovers have been of the live-ball variety. That’s a rate of 70 percent, far above the league average of 52 percent.

Jeremy Lin’s turnovers, last eight games

Type Dribbling Passing Opp. Pts. Opp. Pts/Poss
Live-ball 17 15 53 1.66
Dead-ball 6 8 12 0.86
Total 23 23 65 1.41

The numbers point out the obvious. Live-ball turnovers are much more damaging than dead-ball turnovers (where the opponent has to take the ball out of bounds).

What has gotten lost in the Linsanity is that the Knicks have been excellent defensively, allowing just 94 points per 100 possessions, over the last eight games. And they’d be even better if Lin was doing a better job of taking care of the ball on the other end of the floor.

***

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.

49 Comments

  1. eufeuhc says:

    Lin turnovers reminded me of Barry Sanders, he lost more yards than any other RB in the league but with all those loss yrds he also gain more.

  2. I would like you post this comment about what I really think on Lin from a fan neutral basketball opinion:
    I guess Lin makes his teammates better so that is one of the reasons why have gotten so high despite media and haters. Anyway you have to give him more time to see how develops his game during whole season. Besides he has to front PGs like Paul , Rose and on.

  3. NBEATZ says:

    Cant wait untill Lin gets his turnovers under control, thoes asists of around 5 a game will be around 8-9 a game, his points will decrese when Melo comes back, add in Davis witch now I dont think he will get many minutes with Lina dn Iman playing so well and now with JR here, minutes are going to be tough for him.
    Heres how I see the states for a full season
    Melo 22PPG 6RPG 4APG
    Staudimire 20PPG 8RPG 1BPG
    Chandler 10PPG 9RPG 2BPG
    Fields 6PPG 2RPG 2APG
    Lin 16PPG 9APG 2SPG
    Bench doing just what there doing, but the PG position will be stronger defensivly and run more smoothly with Davis at the helm for around 15-20 minutes a night, get a true big comming off the bench and this is a top 5 team in the leaque for years to come and this is coming from a huge CHRIS BOSH and MIAMI HEAT fan!!!!!!!!!

  4. AlonZO says:

    Jeremy LIN had a HARD TIME against the DALLAS defense and also showed that he has a tendency to commit a lot of turnovers…but the BOTTOM LINE is they WON the game and that is what really MATTERS. LIN made plays when it MATTERED MOST. JR SMITH played a key role in their win and NOVAK was just on fire. The JEREMY LIN SHOW GOES ON! and REGARDLESS of HIS RACE we should be HAPPY for HIM and let his STORY be an INSPIRATION to ALL of US.

  5. John Roberts says:

    Yes Lin reads the pick-and-roll more, but it’s more than that. He’s an underrated athlete who beats his man 1v1. Lin went at Shawn Marion every time yesterday in a 1v1 situation, with success, and Marion is a great defender. The man is strong, quick, and shifty.

    Smart is good but if Lin were just smart he’d be Andre Miller.

  6. JT says:

    This is just like a Hollywood movie and normally with exaggerate screenplay, but this time it is a real story and we get to see it on TV, nothing is better than this.

  7. Thi Nguyen says:

    Hi i am his fan in taiwan.I Love Lin ‘s performance , personalities and his attitude. Keep the Linsanity going.

  8. OLAF says:

    New York has some weakness on the shooting-guard spot and the non-starters except novak miss a lot when they try to score.
    Obvious in the last game was that Nowitzky outplayed Studamire. We’s see what’s happens when Carmelo Anthony joins the squad. For now I do not think they will be the next champions.

    • lucho says:

      i think this article is not fair, because they are showing Lins weakness and they never do that for other players. If u don’t like this player than don’t hate on him. u should post videos of every player in the NBA is not a fair article in my opinion.

  9. Latigo Rapper says:

    I can’t wait for melo to return to see how well he jams with the Linsanity. This will determine how far the Knicks can go in the playoffs.

  10. renewedknicksfan says:

    Keep the Linsanity going! After Sunday’s game against Mavs, no one should any doubt about J-Lin’s capability to lead Knicks in post season.

  11. R2 says:

    Thats not bad help defense from Tyreke! You are not supposed to help from strong side! Am I right?

  12. alex says:

    the new york knicks have the JAM in the city JEREMY AMARE AND MELO!!!! THE BIG THREE!!!!!!!

  13. mackey says:

    knicks will go to the nba finals this year. phenomenal writing by the way. do more like this. give John Schuhmann a raise.

  14. Anel says:

    You’re asking why blog about Lin and not any other players? Because Linsanity is the biggest hit right now and writers all across the world write and blog about him to get readers/viewers.

  15. smithwise says:

    If you like this breakdown, this is what you want: http://www.youtube.com/user/bballbreakdown
    Frankly, I don’t think the NBA actually likes the idea of breaking down the nuts and bolts of games too much, they’d probably prefer fans to remain somewhat in the dark about the ins and outs of how a team is truly operating on the offensive and defensive ends, and rather, keep them wowed with high-flying alley oops and dunks etc.

  16. pee-em says:

    hmmm i think this is not the first time that an article showed hoy synergy sports dissected players’ or teams’ plays.. i’m sure i read another article or two about breaking down plays.. i just couldn’t remember when and who.. just a thought

    I’m no Knicks fan but i am an Asian dude so go go go J-Lin!

  17. Jayjoe14 says:

    It’s up to the coaches and they need Baron Davis back to cut down Lin’s usage/Melo back to divert attention.

  18. Castro says:

    If teams set their defenses to stop him….then you have 2 superstars Melo/Amare a 7’1 Center Tyson Chandler, A high flying/lethal shooting/very aggressive J.R Smith waiting for the ball….If you look at it that way, I would take my chances with those 5 against ANY 5 in a 7 game series. Now the question is, will the Knicks look at it like that? The truth is, having 5 players that Talented on the court, can mean LOT’S of iso’s..that is clearly a recipe for disaster. But lets be honest… D-Wade and Lebron did NOT just brush this off like another signing. You can bet your bottom dollar, on off days….The Heat staff, along with the Bulls staff WILL be doing EXTRA homework on The New York Knicks…and Boston, well to be honest, the JR Smith signing, mixed with the new Speedy Lin, has OFFICIALLY made Boston too slow to compete in a 7 game series with The Knicks. Well all talk about Miami’s speed, but in terms of speed, Norris Cole, Mario Chalmers, Lebron, and Wade, and Bosh are Miami’s pure athletes. Well the Knick’s have Iman Shumpert, JR Smith, Jeremy Lin, Carmelo Anthony, Landry Fields, Baron Davis, Amare, Tyson Chandler, Bill Walker, Jarred Jefferies. What I am saying is, New York has a unique combination with their Frontcourt/backcourt being So Athletic.

    • killin it says:

      as awesome as the knicks team looks on paper, the only D you’re going to find is in Tyson’s surname… yes these 5 players are good, but they’re not unstoppable, and on top of that 4 out of the starting five have a better chance catching water in a sieve than playing solid defense… Otherwise Lin is tearing it up..

  19. BOFA says:

    I can see the good site of this study. Lets be honest, this type of games dosnt happening in playoffs, so ther is a lot of time to improve. And it would be really nice to come back with this team to the ’90s, with Lin as a one of the best players of it. So I will keep my fingers cross for GREAT LIN and the Knicks!!!

  20. Giacomo says:

    Excellent article. I would really love reading similar stuff on other top players (Griffin, Paul, Rose, Wall, Evans, Anthony, Parker, Durant, Westbrook, and so on). You could do once a week for a lifetime.

  21. Lloyd Mayfeather says:

    my man Dwyane Wade can stop this linsanity.
    he cant dribble-past the flash..

  22. rainy says:

    omg Lin doesnt know how to protect his head when falling. look at his head bang the floor. omg

  23. LLEWELLYN says:

    LINGEVITY, IS GOOD FOR THE NBA.

  24. Another Knicks Fan says:

    i don’t think the Knicks or Jeremy Lin would appreciate you giving his moves away. Maybe if you did the same for Lebron and Chris Paul and Derrick Rose and all of them then it would be fair.

  25. Willis says:

    If the ball handling problem gets improved, he’ll be the next Nash or Stockton

  26. fmanila says:

    j-lin is not afraid to commit turnovers hes willing to dish out the ball even though he just had a spilt second look on his open teamates.hes turnovers are gonna go down as he matures throughout the season.they lost not because of his turnovers,but because they werent able to defend well and novak,shumpert and feilds did not shoot the ball well.

  27. CRYsis says:

    Lin is the missing piece of the puzzle for the Knicks. Like what they say, the Knicks doesn’t have a good point guard to begin with. Now that Lin showed up, Mike D’Antoni can shape him better in the coming games. Sadly, if he erupted like this earlier, Knicks can be a contender and it might not be too late yet but as I am seeing, its going to be tough.

  28. TK says:

    Lin has a weak dribble. CP3 has great ball handling because he dribbles hard. Lin will figure it out though. He needs to avoid slowing down in the middle of traffic. Either cut or pop out.

  29. Cons says:

    all they got to do is to get jerry sloan as head coach and they are gonna be a contender for the title…..

    • Huh? says:

      Lin wouldn’t fit Sloan’s system nearly as well as he fits D’Antoni’s. Actually, none of the Knicks would be great fits because he demands defensive effort.

  30. Edward Worrall says:

    I love this article. Its objective but it shows people that might not know that Lin is for real. the things he is doing on the court are mostly extensions of what a coach would want him to do. His turnovers are unsuprising if he wasnt making them then people would already be talking about him being one of the best pgs in the league. I think its possible that within a month or 2 he could be at that level but it takes experience and having guys like melo back, as long as he doesnt stop the ball, will really stretch the defence making it easier for Lin not harder.

  31. FAIR-BUT-TOUGH says:

    Great article John Schuhmann! I like that fact that you dissected his turnovers and explained thoroughly. Im not a Knicks fan Im a Laker fan but I’ll admit that this kid will become something even more special than he is now. He might be the player that actually holds this Knicks team together for years to come maybe even win a championship whilst at it.

  32. Bob says:

    When his defender looks to keep>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Kin<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< from going with the screen, Lin doesn’t hesitate to go the other way. And according to Synergy, going away from the screen has been a more efficient choice.
    Wtf, can't even spell his name right

  33. mark tomas says:

    i still cant figure out why a lot of coaches and talent scouts failed to recognize his talent.i would love to see him play against houston and golden state.I hope melo and lin can co- exist……

  34. LakersWillWin says:

    I am curious to see how Lin does once teams start designing their defenses to stop him. I am taking NOTHING away from this kid, he is amazing and what he is doing for his community and in the NBA is absolutely incredible. What will seperate him though from just being good, to real good is how he plays once teams start attacking him. That I am curious to see, but he is so much fun to watch. Such a great story for the NBA, the under dog rising up. His story is not even one that could be made up.

  35. Tuanngo says:

    FIRST ONE! Well Lin Have to wacth how lin treat him and study them while they study him. The Reason why he dint do well against new orlean is because they study him too well. AND LIN MAKE THAT 3 POINT SHOT so you can open up inside and then that where your strongest point of the game is at .

  36. NBAfan says:

    Hangtime blog giving free scouting reports now on selected players?

  37. george says:

    great objective study.

    • NBAfan says:

      Yeah, to the writer’s credit, this seems objective…bu the question remains…WHY?

      If this is the first of a weekly breakdown of players around the league, I’d be interesting, because I think we fans love breaking down every athlete’s game as if we know what it’s like. If it starts and stops at Lin, then I have to ask…WHY are you doing this?

      If not…then I request breaking down the strengths and flaws of Blake Griffin, Tyreke Evans next…that’d be an interesting talk.

      • BOFA says:

        I like what did Lin and i like all the story about it – Lin-sanity IS FANTASTIC!!!! But ……
        Ther is why it time to do study like this!!!
        Lets take a look who they beat in Lin-sanity era:
        NJN – 9-23
        UTA (at home) 15-14
        WAS – 7-24
        LAL (at home – LAL after OT game with BOS) 18-12
        MIN – 15-16
        TOR – 9-23
        SAC – 10-20
        2 teams over .500, both at home. 4 others – no sens to talk about comparing to Knicks roster. SO THATS WHY we should do it this study and search an areas to improve, bcz when it will come to the top teams EAST and WEST ther will be no place to make so many tournovers – and we won NYK to win it all!!!!

      • SundlingSWE says:

        I agree totally!

        It would be interesting to see the players who are making a real impact in this league, like Blake as you said, and watch HOW he does it. And of course what he needs to work on to get better.

        You cant stop here, like NBAfan describes it, why have this article if you dont follow up on other players?

      • anybody says:

        They did this because there is a demand for all things Lin…. If you can’t figure that out then no explaining will work. In the end it’s a business.

      • NBAfan says:

        @ anybody

        There’s a lot more to write about Lin than to scrutinize his game in public to this degree. Certainly, I’ve never encountered something like this on the net other than independent sites that try to debate why Kobe is better than Lebron and vice versa. Certainly a first for anything in nba.com.

        He’s turnover prone! Yeah, anybody who can read a box score figured that out a long time ago. But here’s a few stats that really matters:

        9-1 since he got real PT
        3-0 against over .500 teams (yeah perfect against those with winning records, including the streaking Mavs)
        6-1 against teams under .500
        1 billion (exagerated) people who now watch knick games since Linsanity
        1 New York basketball team that has been rejuvenated and now suddenly relevant again
        0: the number of people other than Lin perhaps who saw this coming

      • NBAfan says:

        I may have gotten some of the records wrong…I plead linsanity

  38. Ken says:

    Did you watch those games? 7 wins in a row. More importantly, the Knicks are playing much better ball games now, that’s Linsanity.

  39. Roy says:

    This team is gonna be dangerous on offense once they have JR Smith, Melo, and Davis back. They got Lin, and Amare already, + those three other players and in Dantonis system this makes them pretty scary. I cant wait to see what they can do when they’re all healthy