Why Lin has the edge over Felton at PG

July, 15, 2012
7/15/12
12:15
PM ET
The Knicks acquiring Raymond Felton could signal the departure of Jeremy Lin.

But is that the right move? ESPN Stats & Info says no, utilizing Synergy Sports technology.

Offensively, Lin is more efficient in pick-and-rolls, isolation and jumpers off the dribble, and he's more efficient on defense.

Here's a quick breakdown:

Pick-and-rolls -- Lin and Felton both relied on pick-and-rolls more than any other play type last season. It’s one of Lin’s least-efficient play types, but Felton was worse than Lin. Only three of the 41 players with at least 200 pick-and-roll ball-handler plays scored fewer points per play than Felton, who went to the free throw line nearly three times less often than Lin.

Isolations -- Isolation plays are where Lin excels. He scored the third-most points per play of the 91 players with at least 75 isolation plays last season. Felton ranked 68th. Felton turned the ball over on isolation plays more than twice as often as Lin, who turned it over on 6.5 percent of those plays, the 10th-lowest turnover rate among the 91 players.

Jumpers off the dribble -- Lin is better with the ball in his hands. Last season, he shot 32.7 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers, including 35.9 percent on unguarded catch-and-shoot jumpers. But he shot 47.9 percent on jumpers off the dribble. Of the 102 players who attempted at least 90 jumpers off the dribble, only Stephen Curry and Steve Nash shot a higher field-goal percentage than Lin (47.9). Felton ranked 85th of those 102 players, shooting just 32.7 percent.

Transition -- Lin and Felton, who scored the exact same amount of transition points per play, were both very inefficient on transition plays last season. Jamal Crawford and Al-Farouq Aminu were the only two players with fewer points per transition play of the 130 players with at least 50 plays.

Passing -- As far as passing on pick-and-roll plays, Lin and Felton are almost identical. Felton passed the ball on 54 percent of his pick-and-roll plays, while Lin passed it 53 percent of the time. And both players’ teammates had nearly the same field-goal percentage and points per play on those passes. Felton passed it to the roll men more often, while Lin hit the cutters and spot-up shooters more often.

Felton passed the ball more often (29 percent) on isolation plays than Lin (17 percent). Lin was better at passing to cutters on isolation plays, resulting in a higher field-goal percentage and more points per play by his teammates on those passes. But with Lin’s high efficiency on isolation plays, it may not be such a bad thing that he only passes the ball on 17 percent of his isolation plays.

Defense -- Lin held opponents to fewer points per play and a lower field-goal percentage (37.8) last season than Felton (41.6). Of the 235 players to defend at least 300 plays, Lin allowed the 78th-fewest points per play, while Felton ranked 133rd.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsC. Anthony 8.1
AssistsP. Prigioni 3.5
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2