So with one month of voting to go (voting ends on Jan 14), Jeremy Lin is 55,000 votes behind Chris Paul. Obviously, Jeremy has not put up All-Star stats. 19 and 7 or 17 and 8 are basically the minimum all star numbers for a pg. I actually believe Jeremy doesn't get voted in unless he really turns it up starting right now. There are three big games coming up in the next few weeks which will decide it:
Friday night vs the Celtics on ESPN
Monday @ the Knicks
Christmas Day at the Bulls
The way he performs in these three games will likely cast the ballot. The biggest problem I see for Jeremy is that the coaching staff and players are just not all-Lin. Even with his breakout game without Harden, I'm not sure too much will change. We can say it's only been 21 games and only one since the 38 point explosion but there are so many troubling signs that I see.
1. Why is Jeremy not getting the outlet pass 98.888% of the time? How many long passes for uncontested layups has he thrown? How many have any of the other wanna be pg's? Parsons should be passing to Jeremy and then sprinting down the court every time. Harden, the same thing. It's not like Jeremy's not gonna pass it back to him. If Harden and Lin are nearby after an Asik rebound, he'll pass it to Harden. The players and coaches just don't respect or trust JLin enough right now.
2. Why can't they set up any back door plays for a JLin alley oop pass? How many has he thrown this season? Is Landry Fields more athletic than Chandler? I don't think so.
3. Why can't we save the Harden iso's for more end of clock situations. That's when you want to go one on one. So many times you see him go and you say no, no, no, oh good shot. Yes, he can make tough shots but it just kills the flow of the offense and JLin is a flow player. It just seems like getting JLin off is an after thought. Why wouldn't you try and get him going more often as you know that Harden can get going pretty much at any time?
4. The 8-10 minutes that Harden is out, JLin and Douglas should be on the court together. I like it when JLin doesn't have to chase the quick point guards around. He actually has an easier time guarding most shooting guards. This saves lots energy for the offensive end, aka James Harden. They did this a bit with Shumpert last season. This tandem worked wonders agains the #1 team in the NBA.
5. You hear Sampson and McHale say that they want the young guys to learn, but how can you learn when you're not in the game? Not playing in the OT vs Portland and 4th vs the Lakers surely doesn't give your young pg experience or instill any confidence, does it? Please coaches backup your talk with action.
6. Harden seems to not make the easy or correct pass. It's almost like he doesn't want the hockey assist because he wants to make sure he either scores or gets the assist. He is not old Westbrook selfish, but he just seems to make it stick a second or two too long especially when getting doubled. It's no wonder that JLin cannot get in synch. I'm not saying JLin doesn't have some culpability, but Harden sure doesn't seem to make it easier for him.
7. How many missed at the basket assists does JLin have? This would be a great statistic to have. This would probably show if he was surrounded by decent finishers, he'd have at least another 1.5 to 2 assists per game. Asik will not get better at this any time soon. Playing Greg Smith more with JLin would seem to make sense.
They are just some of the obvious signs that are so glaring. Can they be overcome by JLin in the next few weeks? I believe the coaching staff's been trying to a certain extent on most of these issues. However remember, without the Harden ankle sprain, there would have been no huge game and we'd be seeing more of #5. But it just seems, like with the media in general, that JLin is expected to just be OK. Instead of saying wow, did you see JLin's All-Star potential vs the Spurs. Imagine what he could do if given the keys like Harden. No, it's we don't need him to be great. We still need to find a second All-Star.
The three big games coming up will have JLin in the national spotlight again. Will he rise up against all odds including his own players and coaches and show the nation that he has All-Star talent? Or will he continue looking like a 3rd or 4th fiddle and not even make it? Or will he end up with more scrutiny and negativity for being voted an undeserving All-Star. This is just another intriguing chapter in the book of Jeremy Lin.