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Jeremy Lin: How to Beat the NBA's Hottest Player

Ben WittensteinContributor IIFebruary 14, 2012

Jeremy Lin: How to Beat the NBA's Hottest Player

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    The so called "Linsanity" is hitting America with full force. 

    Around the NBA, Lin's No. 17 jersey has been the NBA's No. 1 selling jersey since February 4th, and Knicks merchandise sales are No. 1 overall in the NBA since Lin's breakthrough game. 

    There's no denying he's a hot topic around the sporting world these days. 

    His playing style has captured the attention of millions of NBA fans around the globe, not to mention the 29 other teams around the league. After five amazing performances by Lin and the sparseness of game tape, teams are still trying to figure out how best to play him. 

    Now, I'm rooting for Lin to succeed as much as the next guy, but after watching his enormous success in the past week there have been some key weaknesses of Lin's that teams will be looking to exploit.

Make Him Shoot Three Point Shots

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    As good and athletic as Lin is inside the three-point arc, it's a whole different world for him outside it. 

    Lin struggles to find his three-point shot constantly during games. Shooting a dismal 17 percent (3-17) from outside the arc, Lin cannot be counted on to shoot threes.

    So what an opposing team needs to do is force Lin to stay on the outside—whether that means playing a zone or sagging off him in order to prevent him from driving in the lane and forcing him to take an open three.

    It's important to not let him get inside where he is shooting an astonishing 59 percent within the three-point arc. 

    Force Lin to shoot outside shots and let him take the open three because most likely he'll miss. And you're going to need the extra bodies down low to get the rebound.

Force Him Left

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    After watching game highlights from the Lakers and Wizards games, it is evident that while he can drive the ball whenever he wants, Lin struggles using his left hand.

    He uses his right hand tremendously, but with the minimal time that he does use his left hand to dribble and drive, he rarely makes it all the way to the basket; he usually is forced to take an off balance shot.

    If a team wants to minimize Lin's effect at driving the ball, the defenders need to force him out of his comfort zone and make him beat them with his left hand, which he has shown he can't do. 

Slow the Pace Down

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    While Lin doesn't get the majority of the rebounds, the guys that do tend to get Lin the ball very quickly. And for someone who is 6'3',' 200 pounds, he moves very quickly and with a purpose.

    In order to stop him from beating you to the hoop (see photo), it's important to try and slow the pace down. If you miss a basket, it's important to hustle back on defense and not loiter around trying to steal the ball. Lin will outrun you in a race to the basket if you do. 

    Additionally, Lin can kill you passing in transition. 

    Getting back on defense is the key because if not, not only can Lin beat you with his dribble, but his court vision can kill you. That's why it's important to slow the pace of the game down. In effect, this will force him to make more decisions—something that he has struggled with accumulating 30 turnovers (most for a player in his first five starts) in his last five games.

Cut off the Paint

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    What makes Lin so dangerous is that he is teammates with Tyson Chandler. 

    Chandler and Chris Paul made quite a pair—and quite a team—in New Orleans. It looks like Lin is complementing Chandler just as well as Paul did. 

    Most of Lin's highlight tape over the past couple days have been his tremendous passes down low to Chandler who easily takes it for the dunk. And with Lin's average of eight assists in the past five games, it's apparent that he loves to share. 

    In order to stop this formation of the Lin-Chandler dynamic duo, all a team needs to do is close up the lane. Sag off of him a bit as he gets into the lane. Not so much as to let him drive completely, but just enough to make sure that he doesn't have a lane to pass in. Also, help defense and rotations will be crucial to defeat Lin's passing game. If defensive players are playing help defense, especially on Chandler, it will become more difficult for Lin to dump it to him.

    As good as Lin is, there are ways to stop him. And after teams have been able to analyze him more as he continues to play more, we will start to see teams playing Lin better. 

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