Saturday, May 12, 2012

Can Lin Lead Melo?

Great takes by Jared Jeffries in this article. I think Jeremy tried to lead last year but Melo wanted to prove it was his team and wasn't ready to let a rookie lead or control him. If JLin is with the Knicks next season, I believe Jeremy will show and prove to all, including Melo, that he can and should control the offense.

Jared Jeffries: Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony need Jeremy Lin to step up | NJ.com

22 comments:

  1. Provided that Jeremy Lin is kept by the Knicks next year, I would like to see an on court dynamic that is a little like what the Detroit Pistons had when they were winning championships.

    Isiah Thomas would try to attack first because he would create for others. If that didn't work, the ball would go to Mark Aguirre who could score from anywhere against anyone.

    On the Knicks, it's a slightly different dynamic. I actually agree with Mike Woodson: get the ball to Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire first, see if they can win the game early. If they can't, then Lin will exert his will and win the game. That happened against the Sixers and Pacers during Lin's 2nd winning streak.

    Lin will still have the chance to be a superstar under such a scheme. He won't average huge points, but he'll have tons of assists and will defend well. He'll also play at least 25 minutes, and if he plays less than that it'll be because the Knicks starters win the game early.

    The one thing that would blow this all up is if Mike Woodson makes Lin a low minute backup. But I trust that some other time would pry Lin off the Knicks if Lin's to be demoted to 3rd or 4th pg.

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    1. I like the Isiah Thomas analogy. Isiah Thomas had the ability to score a lot more points, but instead chose to sacrifice his scoring to run the offense and get others involved. The NBA title years, Thomas only scored 18 points a game when he had the ability to score 26 or 27. But he averaged 9 assists a game during those years. And the Pistons had 6 guys to average 13 points a game during that first title run, and were almost as balanced during their second one.

      The thing is, however, that Anthony needs to sacrifice his offense too if this thing is going to work. Melo needs to be the guy that everyone KNOWS can score 26 points a game, but only scores 19 or 20 a game so that Lin can run an offense where everyone gets involved. I am not saying that Melo needs to be a passer. Instead, when Melo gets the ball, he needs to try to put it in the basket. But the Knicks need to come up with a system where he shoots less but scores at a higher percentage. Fewer isos, but more jumpshots and opportunities while going to the basket.

      This wouldn't be something new or innovative. They just need to go back to what was routine basketball that practically every NBA team played before guys like Anfernee Hardaway and Allen Iverson came along and totally rejected playing like actual point guards. Woodson knows that type of basketball ... it is the type that he used to play himself when he was an NBA player in the 1980s. He just needs to get Melo to buy into it, and if Melo does everyone else on the Knicks will follow.

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  2. http://espn.go.com/espnradio/newyork/play?id=7919776 you can listen to the whole interview here .

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  3. When Woodson first took over the Knicks, the game plan was mostly PnR. The team had 6-1 blowout wins with Jeremy controlling the offense, Melo and the team bought in and played great defensively too. That was fun to watch and the team morale was great.

    With Jeremy out during the playoff, Woodson simply gave the ball to Melo and JR; the team just stood by and watched. The results were predictable. I hope they realize by now that team games are the only way to win championships.

    I don't know if Woodson and Melo will continue with ISO plays. Otherwise, Jeremy would be better off with another team that values him and his leadership on and off the court.

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  6. Of course, Jeremy is a team leader. I'm sure he can lead Melo and his team next season. Honestly, at first I don't like Melo but I realize that Melo really cares a lot of our Jeremy but, I'm done watching basketball for this season. Time to save money, I will cancel my sports package & downgrade my cable package to just basic but I still need to keep my NBA League Pass, since this is paid off for this season. I will save around $50 a month. I will donate it to Jeremy's Foundation to show my support. If some of his fans can donate at least $2 - $10 a month will be a great help for his foundation. Jeremy is helping a lot of unfortunate children. I love Jeremy and I will continue praying everyday for his success. I hope he stay in NYK but it he needs to go to a different team... then I will follow him. GOD BLESS JEREMY!

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  7. There will be many teams seriously pursuing Lin in the offseason.
    He can be the leader of any team in the NBA. And if he doesn't fit into a system right away, he can learn and adapt to it fast. That kind of versatility is key to team.

    "Why pay an older, slower veteran PG up to 2 or 3X as much money, when you can sign a young player who is just as good ?" A lot of teams are looking at their salary cap and saying this right now.

    With the Knicks elimination from the playoffs, he won't need to rush back into games and has plenty of time in the off season to heal his surgically repaired knee.

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  8. Let's not forget that Jeremy Lin is one of the best isolation players in the entire NBA.

    When Lin gets that low dribble going and attacks his defender's knees, he's impossible for any single player to stop. Plus, Lin crosses guys up with his "Cambridge Crossing" (like Tim Hardaway's UTEP 2 step.)

    In Woodson's isolation scheme, Anthony and Stoudemire will get the first shot at the basket. When they can't get it going, Lin will get that ball and attack the rim like he did at Harvard.

    Lin occasionally will be the primary scorer. However, that's when the double and triple teams come.

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    1. The problem with this is that isolation ball doesn't work. They'll win a lot of games in the regular season and may even win some playoff games, go as far as the conference finals, but that is it. I still have the opinion (or should I say hope) that Woodson favored isolation ball in Atlanta because the Hawks didn't have the talent to do anything else, and that includes lacking so much as an average NBA point guard, as well as not having a reliable low post scorer beyond PF Al Horford playing out of position at center.

      Woodson himself stated that getting offensive opportunities for Melo, Stoudemire and Chandler was going to be his #1 priority next season. That can't happen in an isolation-based offense because Stoudemire and Chandler aren't isolation scorers. Stoudemire and especially Chandler need a point guard-run offense to be consistently effective scorers. If Woodson rejects what he knows would work - a real NBA offense - in favor of what he knows won't - an isolation based offense - just to keep Melo happy, then that would be a real shame. Also, what good does keeping Melo happy do if Stoudemire - and basically everybody else - is frustrated? You think that Stoudemire and Chandler are going to put in the effort to hit the boards and play defense if they are standing around and watching Melo on offense?

      I know that Woodson is smarter than that, and I hope that he has the courage to act like it.

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    2. Don't worry, unknown.

      No single play in basketball works 100% of the time. All coaches have to vary their offensive attack. Jeremy Lin as the PG will oversee that.

      This reminds me. I used to watch John Stockton and Karl Malone. They only passed the ball to each other. Utah with those two and Jerry Sloan would run like 15 plays that all ended up with Malone catching a simple entry pass on the left low block or Stockton and Malone on the high pick and roll for a perimeter jumpshot.

      If I see Woodson running 3 picks on one possession just to get Carmelo Anthony a basic postup that he can get whenever he wants, then I'll complain. I trust that Woodson would know better than that.

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  9. Playing for Coach Woodson with Anthony for 1-2 years would be beneficial for Lin's development.

    I like how Woodson used Lin. Woodson spoke often of teaching Lin how to be an NBA PG and he was doing that. My reference game for the balance with which Woodson deployed Lin, as I've discussed before on this blog, is the 2nd Pacers game of the home/at-home. There's a fine line between conservative and efficient PG play, and Lin played efficiently. While Woodson gave Lin less freedom than D'Antoni, Woodson still relied on Lin to make game-changing plays.

    Efficient and dynamic is a great balance for a PG - that's a Nash and Paul-like balance. The way Lin played the 2nd Pacers game was how Knicks fans hoped Lin would adjust to Anthony's return during the heady days of Linsanity.

    Lin struggled in his last few games, but I blame his knee for that, not Coach Woodson. Chandler, a big Lin fan, has commented that Lin had lost a step before Lin was lost for the season. Knee pain would show up in Lin's jump shot, because Lin uses a great deal of lift from his legs for his jumper. Even in his final stretch of games, though, Woodson showed his trust in Lin in the 76ers game when he relied on Lin - who had shot 1-11 to that point of the game - to take over in the 4Q.

    The developmental curve I like to cite for Lin is Steve Nash on the Mavs, then the Suns. On the Mavs, Sun was a good scorer, but his 1st job was to set up stars like Nowitzki and Finley. Nash was a border-line all-star for the Mavs, floor-generaling the league's highest scoring offense, before he was the MVP with the Suns.

    Remember, Lin is a versatile playmaking college SG converting to NBA PG. Lin can do a lot of things as a guard already, and could be an elite 3rd guard right now as a combo guard, but Lin's PG-specific skills still need refinement. Playing in Woodson's structured offense and deferring to Anthony for 1-2 years would give Lin the conditions to refine his PG play. I wouldn't worry about Woodson repressing Lin. Woodson showed in their too-few games together that when the game on the line, he trusted Lin to make plays.

    Be patient. Anthony will be the centerpiece, but Lin will be the PG, and plays still begin with the ball in the PG's hands even in a structured offense. Let Lin develop his full game as an NBA PG. Steve Nash was a 30-year-old play-off-tested veteran by the time he left the Mavs to become an MVP with the Suns. Lin is a bright talent and years ahead of Nash's pace, but he still has room to grow.

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  10. I'd like to see JLin develop his mid-range jumper game more, and not just rely on his penetration so much. This will create less wear and tear on his body and prolong his longevity. Relying so much on in-the-paint penetration (ala Derrick Rose) will catch up to him and his knees eventually.

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  11. @JLinfan#1:

    Do not mistake what Jared Jeffries is saying. Jeffries was not and is not calling for the Knicks to be Jeremy Lin's team. He was merely calling for the Knicks to run a more traditional NBA offense instead of one based on isolation. To put it another way, Jeffries wasn't calling for the Knicks to go back to what they were doing under D'Antoni. Instead, he was calling for the Knicks to continue what they were doing under Woodson before Lin got hurt, and to build on that in a way that Melo and Lin can coexist and Stoudemire, Shumpert, Chandler, Smith, Novak etc. get involved on a consistent basis. So, Melo would still be the #1 option on offense, but that offense wouldn't be an isolation-based offense.

    Lin WAS NOT trying to be the leader of the team. Lin was only trying to be the team's starting point guard, at which he succeeded. It just so happened that under D'Antoni's system, the starting point guard is the team leader no matter who that point guard is. (Never forget that D'Antoni wanted to acquire Deron Williams to lead the team.) But when Woodson took over, though Lin remained the starting PG until he got hurt, Melo was the team leader.

    Lin has been playing basketball all his life. He knows full well that unless the coach dictates otherwise the leaders of the team are going to be the best, most proven players. Until Lin gets a couple of all-star appearances and big time performances in the playoffs under his belt, on the Knicks that is going to be Melo and Stoudemire. If Lin can be third on the pecking order ahead of 10 year veteran Tyson Chandler and #17 pick in the draft Iman Shumpert next season, he will be doing VERY WELL for himself, and he knows it.

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    1. Good post.

      Lin's February run showed the world that Lin has the talent to be an NBA superstar, maybe even a Hall of Famer. Linsanity can become normal someday when a franchise gives him a superstar contract and builds its team around him. (I nominate the Brooklyn Nets.) Until then, Lin's task is to develop as an everyday starting PG - Mavs all-star Nash first, then Suns MVP Nash.

      That said, assuming he won't be chronically hurt, Lin is on a fast track. I can see Lin becoming 2nd on the team's offensive pecking order behind Anthony next year. Lin as the starting PG automatically is top 5. Lin is already good enough at PG to beat lower play-off teams and he's clutch, which places him in the running for top 3. From there, Chandler entirely depends on teammates to create scoring chances for him, which places Lin in the running for top 2. Stoudamire also depends on a playmaker albeit to a lesser extent than Chandler, may not ever comfortably fit with Chandler and Anthony in the frontcourt, and may be dealing with chronic injuries for the rest of his career, which gives Lin a strong edge to take over 2 on the pecking order.

      Lin will be fine. Woodson already relied on Lin to make gamewinning plays last season. Lin is the PG, so the ball starts in his hands no matter who the alpha dog is, he's clutch, he's still improving as an NBA PG, and next season, Lin will establish himself as a known-quantity NBA veteran.

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    2. Reference my reply to KHuang above. Even if Lin does have the ability to dominate offensively, I hope that he does like other great point guards like John Stockton, Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas has done, which is sacrifice his offensive game in order to lead the team and create offensive opportunities for everybody else. This includes Stoudemire, who can be an outstanding scoring PF if given the pick-and-roll and fast break opportunities like he used to with Nash in Phoenix.

      If that happens, then Lin won't need his own team. Being Deron Williams for the Nets or any other team is inferior to being Isiah Thomas for the Knicks in every way. As mentioned above, these PG-driven teams are fun to watch and put up a lot of points, but they are no better at winning NBA titles than the isolation teams. That is why getting rid of D'Antoni was a good idea. The Knicks were never going to win anything with D'Antoni. Now they have a shot at getting a coach who runs a system that can actually succeed in the playoffs in the NBA. (If Woodson wants to go back to isolation ball, then get rid of him too.)

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    3. Thanks for the Isiah Thomas reference, unknown.

      "Zeke" is my favorite small NBA point guard of all time. A lot of people hated him because he appeared to be a small man trying to be big, but I simply saw him as a great player being great. I also like him very much as an executive and coach, no matter what invectives were hurled at him in NY.

      Dantoni won pretty good with Nash and Stoudemire in Phx. Just because the Suns couldn't get past Dirk, Duncan, and Kobe in the West doesn't mean Dantoni is an utter coaching failure.

      By the way unknown, I see no reason why Carmelo Anthony cannot average over 20 ppg for a championship contending Knicks team. And there's no reason why Jeremy Lin cannot average similar stats to what he did at Harvard.

      The NBA is an isolation league. Defenders in the NBA are so athletic and so well coached that they can disrupt any offensive plan. All championship teams have their "Give the ball to one guy and everybody else get out of the way" play, especially the Bulls and Lakers coached by Phil Jackson and the Spurs coached by Tim Duncan (yes, Gregg Popovich is the "coach").

      I'd also like to see Lin used as an isolation weapon from time to time by Mike Woodson. With defenses collapsing on Carmelo Anthony and supposedly on Stoudemire, Lin will have wide open driving lanes. Opponents would then be caught in a nasty little quandary of trying to figure out who to guard.

      The Knicks with Woodson and Lin have a real chance of becoming contenders.

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    4. In other words, winning is better than losing. I won't argue with that. Being the best player on a losing team will make money for a player but it's also a legacy killer.

      Being one of the most important players on a winning team is a good position to be in. However, being the alpha dog on a winning team is a better position to be in. There's nothing wrong with Lin being Monroe/Pippen to Anthony's Frazier/Jordan if the two win a lot of games together.

      At some point, though, I want Lin to get his own team to lead and that likely won't be the Knicks as long as Anthony is alpha dog. Lin's new team wouldn't be a losing team if he turned it around like Nash turned around the Suns or Kidd turned around the Nets. The main thing I want to see from Lin as a Knick before he gets his own team is whether he's clutch and tough in the play-offs.

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    5. Lin has already supplanted Carmelo Anthony as the true alpha dog.

      Lin is a player who creates for others and makes sure everybody gets a chance. On the Knicks, everybody including Carmelo Anthony looks to Lin to provide that.

      Carmelo Anthony is one of the best individual scorers in the NBA. However, that is not the same as being a guy that creates shots for other players or leads them on defense. Lin is the guy on the Knicks that does that, not Anthony.

      No matter how many points Carmelo Anthony scores or how many individual accolades he gets, the truth is that the Knicks are LIN'S team. While Anthony hogs the ball on offense while leaving his hapless teammates to fend for themselves on defense, Lin steps in and makes sure everybody gets their turn.

      Nobody in basketball likes to play with guys like Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony who hog the shots, shoot their teams in and out of games, exert variable effort on defense, and get mad when their teammates aren't feeding their egos. That's why Kobe needs a Shaq or Pau Gasol to feed his teammates. Carmelo Anthony NEEDS Lin, and that is why Carmelo Anthony has been a huge supporter of Jeremy Lin.
      Teams that cannot figure out that true alphas keep their teammates fed are teams that implode.

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  12. What Stephen A "Lin hater" Smith needs to understand is Melo is the next T-Mac or Vince Carter, one dimensional losers who don't play defense, lead, and can't get out of the first round. Melo has been in the NBA 9 yrs and only out of the first round once. Melo also quit on his old coach which is a red flag.

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    1. Oh please. The Denver Nuggets played in the western conference - much tougher than the eastern conference - and Melo didn't have anybody around him other than an ancient Chauncey Billups. Tracy McGrady played for terrible Toronto and Orlando teams and then injured his back. (By the way, when Tracy McGrady left, Orlando totally collapsed. That is how they got the #1 overall pick for Dwight Howard, remember? And now Dwight Howard wants to leave. The Magic stink, period.) As far as Vince Carter goes ... had he played for any school other than North Carolina no one would have ever considered him to be any good anyway.

      Jeremy Lin has proven that he is a starting NBA point guard. Only about 50 human beings on the planet have the ability, skill, work ethic and intelligence to be an NBA point guard, so Lin is in a pretty select group already. Let Lin have the opportunity to PROVE that he is capable of being more than just an NBA starter first. That is Carmelo Anthony and everybody else in the NBA had to earn first by proving themselves over a longer period of time than 27 games in one season. What is it that you want for Jeremy Lin? Fair treatment or special treatment?

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    2. I'm more bothered by Carmelo Anthony's lack of conditioning than I am his game.

      Mike Woodson is right. Carmelo Anthony needs to get in better shape. With Denver and George Karl playing the uptempo game with Adrian Dantley forcing his ironman thing on the Nuggets, Anthony was every bit as explosive as Lebron James.

      I also believe that Carmelo Anthony can be baited into trying to overpower people instead of playing in the flow of the game. I think that if he focused a little more on making simple basketball plays instead of trying to pound guys physically, he'd draw more fouls and get better shots. Of course, Anthony cannot make those high efficiency plays without better conditioning.

      Hiring Adrian Dantley as an assistant coach would be good not just for Carmelo Anthony but Jeremy Lin as well. Dantley was also responsible in Utah for teaching Karl Malone and John Stockton how to excel in the NBA, and Dantley taught the Pistons how to play before they traded.him.

      Then again, that's probably not going to happen since Woodson is friends with Dantley's mortal enemy Isiah Thomas.

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