So, I've been dreading this piece since I came up with the idea to do report cards because you just know any write up relating to Jeremy Lin where a critique is possible is going to blow up the comments and my Twitter but you can't back down, right? Ah well, it's been my favorite narrative on the year and I refuse to be anything other than honest with you guys, so here goes nothing.
Jeremy came to the Rockets over the summer on a deal that would have cost the Knicks 80 million or so with luxury tax penalties (Funny enough Madison Square Garden stock dropped 90 million dollars when news broke that Jeremy was not going to be retained) and arrived in Houston on a three year 25 million dollar deal. It was his first full NBA Season as a starting point guard. Throughout this season Jeremy experienced the trials and tribulations that come with a young point guard attempting to establish himself after a much-hyped debut. The season started rough but over the course of the year we began to see a more consistent Jeremy and some cohesion as the backcourt learned to play together. Let's do this.
Jeremy averaged 13.4 points/6.1 assists/1.6 steals/2.9 turnovers per game. Jeremy saw these figures after increasing his minutes per game by 5 minutes (27 as a Knick, 32 as a Rocket) and actually decreasing his usage by 8% (28 to 20).
Jeremy assisted on nearly 30% of his possessions while limiting turnovers to only 19% of his possessions so he had a better rate of conversion than James Harden when it comes to taking care of the ball. Jeremy contributed 5.4 wins per his win shares (.099 WS per 48 minutes played). One thing that may leap off the page given how lauded Jeremy was for his steals and his defensive reputation he actually allowed 1 more point per 100 possessions (107 defensive rating) than much maligned defender James Harden (106). On the season Jeremy proved to be relatively efficient with a true shooting percentage around 54% and a nearly 50% effective field goal percentage. These numbers reveal that Jeremy is above average when it comes to the NBA average (Hoopdata: TS% - 53.5) however Jeremy is lagging behind in TS% where the Rockets are concerned (Hoopdata: TS% - 56.4%). There's no cause for alarm here though, as Jeremy was still better than run of the mill and that bodes well for him.
Adjusting throughout the year. Jeremy faced a lot of adversity in his first season. The year began rocky with a great deal of turnovers and a feeling out process that was honestly a bit awkward to watch. Chemistry was present from the get-go on the team as Jeremy's presence gave rise to some fantastic gifs of their pre-game rituals and on-court feats (Shout out to Chrive and jaypride001). On the court, however we saw Jeremy get scared in the lane and turn the ball over on panic-passes, poor decision making once he left his feet, and a lack of aggression. As the season went on we saw Jeremy begin to cut down on his turnovers, play smarter in the lane, and begin making more intelligent plays on the court. Jeremy's court vision seemed to clear up and his movement was more fluid. There's no shortage of reasons to see this improvement (Knee recovery, chemistry with his teammates, lack of a training camp, etc...) in Jeremy and the important part was, we saw those strides. You could make the argument when you see the grade that given where he started he could only go up, but credit where credit's due. This is where I lay the stunner down to start...
Attitude. This has been a long standing joke/troll bait I use on TDS when people would complain that Jeremy didn't show aggression throughout the year the usual cover up was that it was not in his nature and he was humble and meek. We saw flares of Jeremy showing some aggression and when the Rockets offense lagged it really begged for Jeremy to be that second emotional leader on the offense. Sadly as it was inconsistent we saw the emergence of Omer Asik as the charge we needed when James Harden became depleted (Yes, it rhymes, yes, I'm gangsta). Aggression played a major role in Jeremy's biggest knock on the year, his inability to finish drives or take the ball to the hoop. Often times Jeremy left his feet in the lane without a plan or with a clear shot of at least a foul (If not an easy basket) and the result tended to be a poor pass turnover. Jeremy will need to work on dedicating himself to finishing that drive as once he establishes he will do so, teams will stop guarding the pass on Jeremy's drives and he'll cut his turnover numbers down even further.
A return to nasty habits. In the playoffs after his chest injury we saw Jeremy return to his tentative nature. Let's be clear on a couple things before I get complaints. His shooting was not going to be the same, he's not getting knocked for that. The issue was when he returned he had broken so many bad habits back in the regular season that came back to the surface in Jeremy's first playoff appearance. He left his feet without a plan in the lane, he made bad passes, he refused to take open drives, ultimately everything that earned Jeremy an A+ in the regular season returned in a time when there's less margin for error. The young Rockets point guard essentially experienced a second season fraught with the same perils he began the regular season with and it raised the question of just how engrained was his improvement in the regular season.
Jeremy showed all the right traits over the course of the season. He showed he can be coached, he showed he can make improvements, he showed he was adaptable and close to his teammates. All of these traits are critical to have on the guy running your team. Unfortunately Jeremy also showed either a lack of confidence or a lack of retention at times and that can be one of a few things. He either lacks much of a killer instinct (Linsanity casts doubt on this), suffers from confidence issues (again Linsanity casts doubt on this), or he's just early in his career (That's where my money is). Jeremy has a lot of room for improvement and I am confident he will make that improvement but these grades are retrospective, not prospective.
As usual hit me up on @QuestionablyBD to yell at me and criticize me. Complaints can go to the suggestion box (read: spam) at TDSmailbag@gmail.com. I reserve the right to RT all angry tweets with #BeWell attached and lastly, if you're a potential employer, I have better writing samples to offer pursuant to my CV.
Editor's Note: Attached a poll because I forgot to do it when I published it initially. Closed comments to prevent the conspiracy levels from rising.