When I made a search for Jeremy Lin over the Internet, what caught my attention was the negative views on him, particularly on his inability to duplicate the performance he had in his first games as a point guard of the New York Knicks, and the scoring he posted as a starter of the Houston Rockets during last year’s National Basketball Association (NBA) season.
But hey—for an undrafted Harvard graduate to land a starting slot in one of the NBA’s storied teams is a big accomplishment in itself. And who cares if he doesn’t have the numbers posted by marquee players like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant or even Lebron James. At least Lin was able to whoop up something called “Linsanity,” which turned out not to be more than a fad.
Anyway, Lin’s playing an average of 32 minutes per game, scoring 13.4 points per game, and dishing out 6.1 assists per game for 82 starts with the Rockets is something that an Asian basketball player can crow about. But he doesn’t crow about it, and that shows the humility Lin possesses.
While former Rockets Yao Ming has bigger numbers at this point, Lin amazes because he is no giant. At 6’3” and 200 pounds, Lin is not at all unique in physical stature, especially when compared to Asian and Filipino basketball players.
But what sets Lin apart? Fortunately Youtube has lots of reels on Lin, and his playing style is built on three aspects: guts, stealth and intelligence (not necessarily in that order).
Lin’s field goal (FG) percentage is 44 percent while for his three-point shots made, it is 34 percent. It is easy to criticize those numbers but this means Lin has the guts attempt field goals even if meant missing more shots. Hey, the great Michael Jordan had a FG percentage of 44.5 percent and 29 percent for three point shots during the regular season. Jordan’s FG percentage even dropped to 48.7 percent during the play offs. This means one thing – basketball greats are not afraid to take many field goal attempts.
And you know how some fans and critics react when a high-profile player misses a shot, especially a key one: they wince or curse the player (as if these fans or critics were watching a backyard basketball game).
Lin’s playing style also capitalizes on stealth instead of raw speed. He can zap past defenders to take shots, free himself up to take the jump shot, or sneak a blind pass to an open player. That demonstrates the type of intelligence he possesses.
In my watching the reels of Lin over Youtube and in television, I get frustrated that not one Filipino basketball player has made it to the NBA, even if there are more basketball players in the country who are taller, faster and stronger or more explosive than Lin. But then, there are more players in the NBA who are also are taller, faster and stronger or more explosive than Lin.
And many of these professional basketball players who are bigger, stronger and faster than Lin end their careers with so-so stats, or not making it big in the game.
But do we have to wonder that Lin is such a unique basketball player; using more of his brains when on the court, because he graduated from Harvard? Nice question.