Stats & Info: Jeremy Lin

Keys to victory: Rockets 111, Spurs 98

December, 25, 2013
What were the keys to the Houston Rockets' win over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday?

Harden brilliant in the fourth
James Harden saved his best for last, scoring 16 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter. It was the second time this season that Harden scored 16 points in a fourth quarter. He also did so against the Spurs on Nov. 30.

Harden was 6-for-7 from the field in the fourth quarter, including 3-for-4 when guarded by Kawhi Leonard. He missed all four shots he took with Leonard guarding him in the first three quarters.

Harden ranks second in the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring, averaging 7.2 such points per game.

Lin and Howard handle their men
Rockets starters outscored Spurs starters 98-45, and one of the reasons for that was that Tim Duncan and Tony Parker were a combined 7-for-23 from the field.

Duncan was 4-for-11 when guarded by Dwight Howard (who also had his NBA-best fourth game this season with at least 20 rebounds). Parker was 2-for-8 when guarded by Jeremy Lin.

The 3-point shot
Chandler Parsons made 5 of 9 3-pointers, helping the Rockets shoot 12-for-24 from long range for the game. The Spurs were a meager 5-for-20. The Spurs have given up at least a dozen 3-pointers three times this season. In two of those instances, their opponents were the Rockets.

This marked only the second time in the past five seasons that an opposing team came into San Antonio and outscored the Spurs by more than 20 points from behind the arc. The other instance was the Trail Blazers last season.

As the shot chart below notes, the Spurs didn't shoot the ball well from anywhere. They shot 41 percent from the field, their lowest percentage in any game this month.

Two best All-Star scorers take the floor

February, 16, 2013

NBAE/Getty Images
Kevin Durant (left) and LeBron James have the two highest scoring averages in All-Star Game history.
We preview the NBA All-Star Game with 10 facts you need to know.

• Kevin Durant won his first All-Star Game MVP award last year after scoring 36 points. He’s scored 30 or more points in two straight All-Star Games, the only player in NBA history to accomplish that feat. His career scoring average (28.3 points) is an All-Star record (minimum 60 career points).

• LeBron James, making his ninth All-Star appearance, ranks second in career scoring average (25.9 points) in the game. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, James has scored at least 20 points in each of his past seven All-Star Games, the longest such streak for any player in NBA history.

• Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett were selected to the All-Star Game for the 15th time. Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has more career selections (19). Bryant’s 15 selections have come consecutively, the longest active streak. His 271 career points are the most in NBA history and his four MVPs are tied with Bob Pettit for most all time.

• Bryant and Dwight Howard are slated to start for the Western Conference, but the Los Angeles Lakers enter the All-Star break in 10th place in the West. According to Elias, the Lakers could be the fourth team since the merger (1976-77 season) to miss the playoffs in a season with two All-Star starters on the roster. The last team to do so was the 2005-06 Rockets (Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming).

The Lakers will also become the first team in All-Star Game history to start two different centers in back-to-back years (Andrew Bynum in 2012).

• The Miami Heat lead the way with three All-Star selections -- all three of whom will start -- becoming one of eight teams with multiple selections. According to Elias, they’ll be the sixth trio of teammates to start the All-Star Game following a championship season, and the first since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and James Worthy in 1986.

• Kyrie Irving is the sixth-youngest player ever selected to an All-Star team (he’ll be 20 years, 331 days old on Sunday).

• David Lee earned the Golden State Warriors' first All-Star selection since 1997 (Latrell Sprewell). That leaves the Milwaukee Bucks and the Sacramento Kings as the teams with the longest active streaks without an All-Star (nine seasons).

• Stephen Curry is averaging 21.0 points per game this season, the highest average for a player not selected to an All-Star team. Monta Ellis is fourth on that list (18.4), but he’s got the highest career points per game without ever being selected to the All-Star Game (minimum 400 games played).

Jeremy Lin
• Jeremy Lin of the Houston Rockets was the only player among the top 10 vote-getters who was not selected to the All-Star Game. He finished ninth, between Howard and Blake Griffin. Bryant led the way with more than 1.5 million votes, just ahead of James.

• The Eastern Conference leads the series 36-25, but the West has won two straight and three of the past four games. A third straight victory by the West would be tied for its longest win streak (three straight from 2002 to '04).

Lin has smaller role, production in Houston

December, 17, 2012

Dan Lippitt/NBAE/Getty Images
Jeremy Lin returns to Madison Square Garden for the first time since leaving the Knicks.
One of the biggest sports stories last year was Jeremy Lin’s run with the New York Knicks. On Monday, Lin returns to Madison Square Garden as a member of the Houston Rockets.

The two teams played earlier this season in Houston where the Rockets blew out the Knicks, 131-103. Lin scored 13 points in that game on 6-for-12 shooting with seven rebounds and three assists.

His numbers this season are a far cry from what he did as a starter with the Knicks, but a lot of that can be attributed to the Rockets’ style of play and Lin’s usage.

Last season, Lin flourished in the pick-and-roll. His role has changed with the Rockets -- James Harden has the ball most of the time, leaving Lin in more spot-up situations.

No player has seen his role on offense diminish more than Lin has. His usage percentage (percentage of team plays used by the player while he’s on the floor) has gone from more than 27 percent as a starter with the Knicks to less than 19 percent with the Rockets -- that’s by far the largest drop in the NBA (among 121 players to start a third of their team’s games the past two seasons).

Lin’s role in the offense also shifts based on the personnel on the court. His usage percentage is 17.0 with James Harden on the court and 27.5 when Harden’s on the bench. Lin is averaging 14.3 points per 48 minutes with Harden on the floor and 26.3 points per 48 minutes with Harden on the bench.

Houston’s lineup turnover this season has resulted in a more up-tempo style of play. Last season the Rockets were 11th in pace (94.3 possessions per 48 minutes) -- this season they lead the league with 99.1.

It’s worth noting that with Lin as a starter the Knicks averaged 97.4 possessions per 48 minutes, which was second in the NBA in that span.

Jeremy Lin’s Top Moments
February 10, 2012

38 Points, 7 Assists in 92-85 win vs Lakers
In his third career start, Lin torched the Lakers for a career-high 38 points, making 13 of 23 shots from the field.

February 14, 2012
27 Points, 11 Assists, game-winning 3-pointer in 90-87 win vs Raptors
Probably his most memorable moment last season was a game-winning 3-pointer with less than a second left on Valentine’s Day to give the Knicks a win over the Raptors, their sixth consecutive victory.

February 19, 2012
28 Points, 14 Assists in 104-97 win vs Mavericks
Lin had a career-high 14 assists to go with 28 points in one of his most complete games as a pro as the Knicks beat the Mavericks.

December 10, 2012
38 Points, 7 Assists in OT loss to Spurs
In easily his best game as a Rocket, Lin took more of a scoring role with Harden sidelined by a sprained ankle, tying his career-high with 38 points. Despite the effort, the Rockets fell to the Spurs in overtime.

Lin struggling to create own shot

November, 16, 2012
Scott Halleran/Getty ImagesJeremy Lin is scoreless on 14 isolation plays this season.
Did Jeremy Lin make a mistake by leaving the New York Knicks and signing with the Houston Rockets?

We're only seven games into the season and Lin is still adjusting to his new team, but thus far it looks statistically like he was better off with the Knicks.

Last season, Lin was one of the best isolation players in the league, according to Synergy Sports. He ranked third in the NBA in points per isolation play among the 91 players with at least 75 plays, just behind his new teammate James Harden.

The Knicks led the league in isolation plays and points last season. Their primary offense consisted of spreading the floor and letting Lin and others attack off the dribble.

But was Lin the right fit for the Knicks or were the Knicks the right fit for Lin?

There were two contrasting offseason theories:

• Lin's isolation prowess could help the Rockets, who ranked 20th in isolation points last season and 22th in isolation plays.

• Lin, who bounced around from team to team before finally finding a role with the Knicks, was only successful in New York because the Knicks relied so heavily on isolation plays and were able to spread the floor. He wouldn't be as successful in Houston with a more team-oriented offense that doesn't rely so much on isolation and doesn’t have as much talent to spread the floor.

The latter theory is proving true thus far.

Lin is shooting 0-for-8 with six turnovers and zero points on 14 isolation plays this season.

The issues? Turnovers and lack of aggressiveness.

Not only is he settling for outside jumpers more often -– he’s attempted 3-pointers on 29 percent of his isolation plays after that number was 15 percent last season -- but he hasn’t gotten to the free throw line on any of his isolation plays. Last season, Lin attempted free throws on 18 percent of his isolation plays, the fourth-highest rate in the league among the 91 players with at least 75 isolation plays.

Lin has turned the ball over on 43 percent of his isolation plays this season -– the highest percentage in the league -- after turning it over on just 6.5 percent of those plays last season.

The fact that Lin and Harden both ranked among the best isolation players in the league last season gave the Rockets hope, as it appeared the Rockets might have the best isolation backcourt in the NBA.

But that's not the case thus far. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

The Rockets are shooting just 28 percent on isolation plays this season, the fourth-lowest percentage in the NBA.

Not only is Lin struggling is isolation, but Harden is as well. Harden is shooting just 24 percent, the worst isolation field-goal percentage of the 19 players with at least 25 plays this season, although Harden has found other ways to score – he’s shooting 51 percent on non-isolation plays (Lin: 39 percent).

The Knicks and Thunder both had plenty of talent spread throughout the court, thus allowing Lin and Harden to excel in isolation without teams being able to collapse on one single player.

The Rockets are different. Lin and Harden are the clear focal points of their offense – they’ve combined for 74 percent of their isolation plays this season.

If Lin is going to become a more efficient offensive player, he’ll have to learn how to score in other ways. As of now, it appears that he still has a lot of room for improvement.

An inside look at the 2012-13 schedule

July, 26, 2012
No lockout means a return to normalcy in this year's schedule, where each team visits each city at least once and no team has to play a back-to-back-to-back. Last season, there were 40 back-to-back-to-backs.

Also this year, the regular season will start almost two months earlier (October 30) and will end nine days earlier (April 17) than last season.

• NBA Finals rematches: Christmas Day in Miami, Valentine's Day in Oklahoma City.

• Eastern Conference Finals rematches: October 30 in Miami, January 27 in Boston, March 18 in Boston, April 12 in Miami.

• Western Conference Finals rematches: November 1 in San Antonio, December 17 in Oklahoma City, March 11 in San Antonio, April 4 in Oklahoma City.

• Check out the notable "return" games this season in the chart at right, including Carmelo Anthony making his first trip to Denver this year. Because of the lockout-adjusted schedule, the Knicks did not play at the Nuggets last season.

• Teams appearing the most frequently on ESPN networks: Los Angeles Lakers (16), Miami Heat (15), Oklahoma City Thunder (15), New York Knicks (15), Los Angeles Clippers (14), Chicago Bulls (12), Boston Celtics (11).

• The Heat and Celtics will play each other on Opening Night, October 30 in Miami. Not only will it be Ray Allen's first game against his most mates, LeBron James is 0-3 vs Celtics in season-openers (0-1 with the Heat in 2010, 0-2 with the Cavaliers in 2008 and 2009).

• Based on last season’s records, the toughest months of the season schedule-wise for the Heat will be the start of their season in October-November. But they'll follow that with their easiest month in December. And that includes a Christmas Day showdown with the Thunder.

• It hasn’t been easy for teams to defend their title recently. There’s been only one repeat champion in the last 10 years (Lakers 2009 and 2010). The last two teams defending their titles were bounced in the 1st Round (2012 Mavericks) and Conference Semifinals (2011 Lakers). The last time the Heat defended their title, in the 2006-07 season, they were dealt injuries to Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal and knocked out in the 1st Round.

Lin, Howard would be nice pick-and-roll duo

July, 18, 2012

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesWith Jeremy Lin now officially a member of the Rockets, is Dwight Howard next?
It’s official: Jeremy Lin is a Houston Rocket... but that doesn’t mean Rockets GM Daryl Morey is done wheeling and dealing. With Lin in the fold, how might he fit in a potential partnership with Houston’s other target, Dwight Howard?


In addition to being a defensive force, Howard is the best pick-and-roll finisher in the NBA. He averaged 1.38 points per play as the roll man on pick-and-rolls last season, best in the league among players with at least 35 plays.

On the surface, it might not appear Lin would be the ideal pick-and-roll point guard to pair with Howard. On all of his passes out of the pick-and-roll, Lin ranked in just the 40th percentile in points per play.

However, when going exclusively to the roll man, Lin ranked in the 72nd percentile (fifth of 35 point guards with 100 plays). That compares favorably to both Howard’s current and preferred point guards.

Orlando’s Jameer Nelson ranked 15th among that group of 35 point guards while the Nets’ Deron Williams came in at just 29th on points per play generated on passes to the roll man.


What about Lin playing off of Howard?
Dwight Howard
Despite missing 12 games, Howard still led the NBA with 181 passes to spot-up shooters last season and commanded a hard double-team 5.8 percent of the time he posted up.

Only Andrew Bynum and LaMarcus Aldridge were doubled more frequently so the ability to spot up, spread the floor and punish teams for doubling Howard is important when playing alongside the big fella. Unfortunately, this is not an area in which Lin excels.

Lin shot just 32.0 percent from the 3-point line and ranked in the 55th percentile in spot-up situations (0.94 points per play) last season. He ranked in the 43rd percentile in catch-and-shoot situations (0.86 points per play).


One of the keys to Lin’s success with the Knicks last season was his freedom to make plays. Of the 148 guards with at least 500 minutes last season, Lin’s usage rate of 27.4 ranked 10th. Some players he outranked? Chris Paul, Brandon Jennings and John Wall.

For comparison’s sake, Nelson’s usage rate has been under 23.0 in each of the past six seasons and Lin’s usage rate last season (27.4) would be the second-highest ever among Howard’s backcourt teammates.

The highest rate posted by any guard teammate of Howard’s was 28.4 by Steve Francis during Howard’s rookie campaign in 2004-05.

Despite all the success, plenty of mistakes came along with the freedom Lin enjoyed in New York. Lin averaged 4.7 turnovers per game as a starter, last among the 39 players who made at least 20 starts at the point last season.

Will Lin transition to Rockets' offense?

July, 16, 2012
The Houston Rockets need players. On Tuesday, Jeremy Lin could help them fill that void. That’s when the New York Knicks must decide on matching the 3-year, $25-million offer Lin signed with Houston.

What would Lin mean to the Rockets?

The impact surely extends off the court with marketing and ticket sales. But Lin’s on-the-court impact can’t be denied. First, consider what’s currently on Houston’s roster.

With Goran Dragic, Kyle Lowry and Samuel Dalembert all departing, the Rockets will be without their top three players in PER (player efficiency rating) from last season. That leaves Kevin Martin as the top returning player. He finished 94th in the NBA in PER last season, right behind Mike Dunleavy Jr.

If he winds up in Houston, Lin catapults to the top of their point guard depth chart, a spot currently occupied by former teammate Toney Douglas.

Houston received strong production for the point guard position in 2011-12. The now-departed point guards combined to average 16.8 ppg and 7.7 apg last season, both in the top seven in the NBA. However, there’s reason to believe Lin would still be an improvement. His 19.6 points per 36 minutes and 8.3 assists per 36 minutes were better than both Lowry and Dragic.
Lin’s starting stretch for the Knicks provides a hint of his potential production. From February 6 to March 24 (the period one might call “Linsanity”), he averaged 18.2 ppg and 7.7 apg. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only NBA player who matched him in both total points and assists over that period was Chris Paul.

Isolations are where Lin excels. He scored the 3rd-most points-per-play of the 91 players with at least 75 isolation plays last season. Only Chris Paul and James Harden were more effective in isolation.

Given the wholesale roster changes, it’s difficult to project Houston’s offensive style. But last season, the Rockets had one of the better transition offenses in the league. They shot 58.7 percent in transition (9th in the NBA) and averaged 1.16 points per play (8th in the NBA).

Lin struggled in transition last year. Out of 130 players with at least 75 plays in transition. he ranked 129 in turnover percentage and tied for 197th in points per play.

Lin’s biggest impact could be close to the basket. Houston ranked 24th in the NBA with only 41 of its made field goals coming from within five feet of the basket.

While Lin was on the court last season, 57 percent of the Knicks' made field goals came from within five feet of the basket.

Felton over Lin? Might be a mistake

July, 15, 2012
Debby Wong/US PresswireJeremy Lin might not be playing in a Knicks uniform anymore.
Are the New York Knicks making a mistake if they let Jeremy Lin go, and proceed with Raymond Felton as their starting point guard?

From a pure basketball perspective, the numbers say yes, they are.


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, trailing only Chris Paul and James Harden. Felton ranked 68th.

Felton turned the ball over on isolation plays more than twice as often as Lin, who committed just six turnovers on his 93 isolation plays. And only Andrea Bargnani, Chris Bosh and Harden got to the free throw line more often than Lin on isolation plays.


Among the 41 players who were the ball-handler on at least 200 pick-and-roll plays last season, Felton scored the fourth-fewest points per play. Only John Wall, Rajon Rondo and Jamal Crawford were worse. Lin, who ranked 26th, got to the free throw line nearly three times as often as Felton on those plays.


Despite shooting just 33 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers last season, Lin shot 48 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. Felton ranked 85th of those 102 players, shooting just 33 percent.


Felton and Lin both passed the ball on most of their pick-and-roll plays. 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 on isolation plays than Lin, who was better at passing to cutters, 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 passes the ball on only 17 percent of his isolation plays.


So if Lin seems to be the better offensive player, for the Knicks to justify this move, they must think Felton is the better defender, right? That may not be the case.

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 ranked 78th in fewest points per play, while Felton ranked 133rd.


Why is Lin better off with the Knicks than the Rockets?

Isolation plays are Lin’s bread and butter. He’s among the best in the league. No team had more isolation plays last season than the Knicks. Isolation plays accounted for 17 percent of the Knicks' offense, the highest such percentage in the league.

The Rockets, meanwhile, ranked 22nd in isolation plays, which accounted for just 9 percent of their offense. The Knicks had nearly twice as many isolation plays as the Rockets.


Based on the above analysis using Synergy Sports Technology, it seems that Lin would be the better choice for the Knicks. And Lin might not thrive in Houston the way he would in New York.
Both of Sunday afternoon's ABC games provided unique and historically significant statistical achievements and results. Below is a quick-hit look at the best of the best from the New York Knicks at Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat at Los Angeles Lakers.

• Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo provided one of the great individual games in NBA history. Rondo (18 points, 17 rebounds, 20 assists) became just the third player in NBA history to record at least 15 points, 20 assists and 15 rebounds in a single game, joining Oscar Robertson in 1961 and Wilt Chamberlain in 1968, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

• The last Celtics player to tally 15 points, 15 assists, and 15 rebounds was Larry Bird on April 1, 1987, in a regulation win against the Bullets.

• The Celtics have won their last 11 home games against the Knicks (since Feb. 28, 2007). According to Elias, its Boston's longest current home winning streak against any opponent.

• Jeremy Lin had 14 points, 5 assists and 6 turnovers, his 3rd game since becoming a starter in which he recorded more turnovers than assists.

• LeBron James recorded his 16th double-double of the season, which came in his 36th game. Last season, he had 31 double-doubles in 79 games. In other words, last season he averaged a double-double in 39 percent of his games; this year, that number is up over 44 percent.

• While James did record a double-double, his effectiveness declined considerably when he was guarded by Metta World Peace. Against World Peace, James shot 4-13 with eight points and two turnovers; in all other situations, he was 8-13 with 17 points and one turnover.

• Dwyane Wade fouled out of a game for the first time since October 29, 2008.

•  Not only did Wade foul out, but, like James, he found one matchup to be particularly frustrating. When Kobe Bryant guarded Wade, he made just one-third of his shots (3-9), while racking up almost as many turnovers (four) as points (six). Against all others, he shot 50 percent from the field (4-8), had 10 points and just one turnover.

• Bryant, on the other hand, was much the opposite. When guarded by Wade, he was made four shots on six attempts, had nine points and committed zero turnovers; when guarded by all others, he missed 7 of 17 shots taken and had three turnovers.

Lin-vestigating History

February, 15, 2012

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesJeremy Lin is rewriting the record book in his first two weeks as a starter, but not all the records are positive.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Jeremy Lin’s 136 points in his five NBA starts is the highest point total for any player in his first five starts since John Drew tallied 139 points for the Atlanta Hawks in 1974-75. Among players who began their career since 1970, when Elias became the official statistician of the NBA, the high mark for the first six starts is 162 by Bob Lanier and Charlie Scott.

Standing Alone
Also from Elias, Lin is the only player to go undefeated and score 20 or more points in each of his first five starts since the ABA-NBA merger in 1976-77.

Better Late Than Never
Lin excels as the game progresses. During the New York Knicks six-game win streak, Lin has scored exactly twice as many points in the fourth quarter as the first quarter. In fact, his point production has improved each quarter (27, 38, 42, 54).

Two of a Kind
In the NFL this season, "Tebow Time" was the final nine minutes of the fourth quarter, in which Tim Tebow’s total QBR of 85.3 ranked third. In the final nine minutes of the fourth quarter in the NBA this season, Lin ranks fourth in Player Efficiency Rating (min. 85 minutes).

Tonight’s Game
The Sacramento Kings are among the league’s worst teams at defending the rolling man in pick-and-roll offenses, ranking in the bottom five in Points Per Play. Additionally, 15 percent of the points the Kings have allowed on those plays have come at the free-throw line, third-highest in the NBA. The Knicks offense ranks first in free-throw percentage in those situations.

Room for Improvement
Yes, there are aspects of Lin’s game that haven’t been spectacular. Lin has committed at least six turnovers in each of his last three games. According to Elias, he could tie the Knicks' record for consecutive games with at least six turnovers (a statistic that has been officially recorded for individuals since 1977). Ray Williams (1978-79), Bob McAdoo (twice during 1977-78) and Patrick Ewing (1993-94) all had streaks of four games in a row.

St. Knick?
Lin has scored at least 20 points and dished out at least seven assists in each of his last six games, tying Walt Frazier and Micheal Ray Richardson for the longest such streaks in Knicks history.

Expect Linsanity to Continue vs. Kings

February, 15, 2012
AP Photo/The Canadian PressNew York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin celebrates his game-winning 3-pointer Tuesday against the Toronto Raptors
Just when you thought Linsanity couldn’t grow any more, a game like Tuesday’s against the Toronto Raptors happens.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Jeremy Lin is the first player since the NBA/ABA merger to score 20-or-more points and have his team win in his first five career starts.

Tuesday, Lin excelled when the pressure was greatest. In addition to hitting the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds left, Lin hit three other shots when the shot-clock was under four seconds.

Due to his surprising rise from last man on the bench, to starter, to international icon, many have asked “when will Lin’s incredible run end?”

We can’t answer that, but don’t expect it to happen Wednesday as the New York Knicks go back home to Madison Square Garden to host the Sacramento Kings.

Sacramento is among the league's worst teams at defending the rolling man in pick-and-roll offenses, ranking in the bottom five in PPP (points per play).

With Amar’e Stoudemire back in the Knicks offense, Lin has yet another pick-and-roll big man to utilize. In his first game back Tuesday, Stoudemire went 3-5 and scored 9 points on the pick-and-roll (including free throws).

The one downside for Lin is that 21 of his 31 turnovers over the last six games have come on pick-and-rolls.

The Knicks should also find success taking it to the rim as the Kings are allowing opponents to shoot 66.5 percent on attempts within five feet – worst in the NBA.

That plays right into Lin’s game as he has taken 66 of his 137 shots (48.2) this season from within five feet.

-- Evan Kaplan, John Parolin and Kenton Wong contributed to this post

Can Linsanity continue with stars' return?

February, 13, 2012
ESPN Stats & InformationThe New York Knicks are averaging nearly 11 more points per 48 minutes with Jeremy Lin on the court.
By now it’s no secret that a certain point guard has taken Lin-Y-C by storm during the New York Knicks season-high five-game win streak.

While the wins have been nice, the elephant in the room looms large with the imminent return of Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. How do they fit in with Jeremy Lin?

Prior to Lin’s breakout game against the New Jersey Nets on Feb. 4, the Knicks ran a greater percentage of isolation plays than any team in the NBA. However, they averaged just 0.7 points per play while shooting 33 percent on such plays, each of which ranked among the five worst marks in the league.

Over the last five games, they have completely overhauled their style of play. What was once the league’s most iso-heavy offense is now running more pick-and-rolls than any team in the league with Lin ranking among the league’s best.

Lin utilizes the pick-and-roll himself on 48 percent of his possessions (only Steve Nash runs a higher percentage). When single covered, he averages 1.14 points per possession (sixth in the NBA).

Lin is especially efficient when going to the roll-man, ranking among the league’s best P&R set-up men (see chart to right). That’s where Stoudemire comes in.

In 2009-10 (his last season with the Phoenix Suns), Stoudemire was involved in more pick-and-rolls and scored more points as the roll man than every player in the NBA except David Lee. Nearly 18 percent of his offensive possessions came with him in that role.

From an efficiency stand point, he ranked in the 80th percentile in points per play (1.18), scoring on 59 percent of those plays.

Flash forward to now. In his worst season statistically since he was a rookie, Stoudemire has been involved as the P&R roll man on just 6 percent of his offensive plays.

Instead, he is relying on heavy doses of isolation (26 percent) and spot-up situations (16 percent) in which he has shot just 35 and 43 percent from the field, respectively.

In limited opportunities, he is shooting 52 percent on pick-and-roll attempts. Stoudemire could benefit from a return to the same offensive philosophy that made him an All-NBA player in Phoenix.

What about Anthony? Conventional wisdom suggests that he can’t coexist with another high-usage player. Lin ranks fourth in the NBA in usage rate.

However, Anthony played alongside Allen Iverson for parts of three seasons with the Denver Nuggets. In 2007-08, their only full season together, both ranked in the top 20 in the NBA in usage rate. Anthony averaged nearly 26 points per game while shooting a career-best 49 percent from the field.

So how does he do it this time around? For starters, he can get involved in the pick-and-roll game with Lin. Anthony has only been the roll man in a pick-and-roll play once this entire season.

Don’t confuse lack of utilization with lack of ability. In 2007-08 Anthony was an incredibly efficient roll man, averaging 1.21 points per possession. He ranked 17th in the NBA among players with at least 30 plays.

In the new system, Anthony will need to be an effective spot-up shooter. Over the last five games, 22 percent of New York’s offense has come from spot-up situations. Anthony has posted a respectable 48 percent effective field goal percentage when spotting up this season.

Past history suggests that Stoudemire and Anthony can blend in to the new-look Knicks.