Friday, November 23, 2012
Trainer: Lin not adjusted to new system
By Jared Zwerling
Jeremy Lin's numbers as a point guard are lower than other starters, and his longtime trainer, Brandynn Williams, said he knows why. It's the different offensive system in Houston.
"(Mike) D'Antoni's model was more of you shoot or pass the ball," he told ESPNNewYork.com on Friday. "In Houston, I wish they would do more pick-and-rolls for him because, in my opinion, that's the way he plays best. Different doesn't mean deficient at all, but when you get into a different system, you're going to have to learn how you can play and use your abilities best in that particular system.
"He wants to be the point guard. He wants to make guys around him better. He doesn't want to be the guy all the time. I just hope Houston gives him the ball more. In my opinion, he's best with the ball; he's not best off the ball, running to the corner."
Through 12 games, Lin is only averaging 10 points and 6.3 assists per game. The bulk of the facilitating is coming from his new teammate, James Harden. But Williams, 31, who's trained Lin, 24, since Lin was a kid, said people need to be patient with the Rockets point guard.
"You've got to give the guy, in my opinion, a few years," he said. "His shooting is coming around. You kind of have to give it time. This is almost really, in my opinion, like his second season. And then he was hurt last season. This year, he's going to do his thing, but really wait until he gets fully, fully healthy."
Williams said Lin's left knee "wasn't right" in the offseason, when they worked together in June and July at Pinewood School in Los Altos, Calif. After Lin received physical therapy at Sparta Performance Center in the mornings, he met with Williams, who focused on polishing his passing and timing in pick-and-rolls, and making sure his head was up when dribbling and that he kept the ball alive, especially with a hesitation move to get around defenders.
Former Knicks assistant Kenny Atkinson and Lin's personal shooting coach Doc Scheppler were also in the gym working on other elements of his game.
Williams said that when Lin heard the news the Knicks didn't match the Rockets' offer sheet in mid-July, Lin wasn't disappointed.
"He was just kind of like, 'Man, this is the NBA,'" Williams said. "He thought he was going to be a Knick, but when it happened I think he was prepared for anything. I think his mindset is more like, 'I just want to play basketball. That's all I do and that's all I really want to do.' He loves the game, man."
When asked to envision Lin getting along with Carmelo Anthony this season, Williams thought it would've worked.
"I think so, man," he said. "What's cool about Jeremy is that he's not really about him. He's not selfish. I think with him and Melo healthy, I think that would've been beautiful, man."
But Williams feels Houston's "a good spot" for Lin, and it will only get better over time. His defense (1.9 steals per game) is already near the top of the league.
"At the end of the day, he's going to be a baller," Williams said. "He's going to be a great player because of his work ethic. He lives in the gym."
Off the court, Williams said Lin enjoys the privacy more in Houston. Even with Linsanity following the point guard wherever he goes, Williams said his longtime friend hasn't changed.
"He's a real simple dude, doesn't need to have the glitz and glamor, doesn't party, very responsible, man," he said. "I'm older than him and I look up to him. He's just a real guy. How he acts with you, how he acts with the media and how he acts with me is how he acts with his mom. I've never met a guy in my life who with the bigger he gets, the cooler he is to me. He's big-time, but he's still chilling in Palo Alto with his people."