After one pre season game on the other side of the world, it appears the entire Rockets community is ready to jump on the Jeremy Lin as the 6th man bandwagon, but do the assumptions actually match the realities? I find it to be highly questionable.
Here's the 2 basic Jeremy Lin to the 6th man assumption that I'm seeing, which I see major reasons to question.
1. It should happen because Lin doesn't play well with Harden
2. It should happen to avoid too many high usage guys on the same lineup.
Here's a fairly simple counter argument on why those assumptions is very dubious at best.
1. In the last 3 season, Parker + Manu's overall points differential minus the average point differential of Tony Parker.
2012-13 : +0.2
2011-12: +9.5 (!!!!!)
Westbrook + Harden lineups minus average Westbrook
So the evidence is to the exact contrary, Manu + Parker lineups and Westbrook + Harden lineups are more often than not MORE effective not less, this could be discussed deeper, but suffice to say the evidence does not clearly back up the assumption here.
2. Since we're talking usage conflict, then the Heat is obviously the team to look at, given that they've been the most dominant team in the last 3 years and it wasn't really close, so how have they been managing their usage?
most common 3 man lineup last year : James / Wade/ Bosh
most common 2 man lineup last year #1 James / Bosh #2 James/ Wade #3 Wade / Bosh ....
......... so.......... they've been doing the exact opposite. they ended up keeping their highest usage guys together. Boston did this too , sure, we could argue of the rationality of this , but there is a pretty huge sample size of the most dominant teams in the last 5 years all screw the concept of 6th man and rather just suppress one guy's usage in favor of keeping their most talented offense players all on the court at the same time.
This is not really an argument for or against Lin to the 6th man, this is merely pointing out that the 2 basic argument used is full of holes , at the end of the day I fully expect Lin to still start, for the simple reason that if McHale make this change, he's creating a (media fueled ) shit storm that is unlikely to be a positive for any team looking to win, while in reality, making this move or not, the minutes Lin play with Harden, and his overall minutes, are extremely unlikely to be changed in any meaningful matter either way.
So you gain very little, while risking a lot. This is hardly a matter of if Lin's accepting or not of this role, if he doesn't that's obviously a bigger problem, but even if he does, it's extremely predictable that Lin trade rumors will hound the team none stop after every good or bad Jeremy Lin performance (aka, every game.) to the point where you do finally end up trading him....... not because he's not helping, but because it's a distraction. so yeah, let's shoot ourselves in the foot for no obvious reasons.
The Fact is, what is greatly ignored by much of this argument, that minute spread is hardly influenced by starting lineups, it is mostly dictated by how many minutes that player actually plays, the notion that you would have Beverley play less minutes, but start, is a generally self contradicting argument. the real argument for Lin to the bench is a much simpler one, you see, with little doubt in your mind, that Beverley should play 5 to usually 10 min more than Lin every game. no matter what. And there just isn't a ton of rational for that.
For a more extreme example, if you put Tony Parker on the Heat, are you going to argue that he should be the 6th man? that Mario Chalmer is starting is not really as much as because of fit as more due to the blatantly obvious part that Norris Cole sucks. Chalmer is just the lesser of the 2 evil. and even then they still inexplicably play Cole 20 min a game while he racks up one of the worst RAPM in the league and is a bottom 10% player in every advanced metrics.
I should point out that yesterday the Kings started Jimmer Fredett over Ben Mclemore, anyone jumping on the Jimmer the starter bandwagon yet?