Ranking Jeremy Lin's Favorite Passing Targets in 2013
With the New York Knicks rumored to be willing to match the Houston Rockets offer sheet to point guard Jeremy Lin, any hopes of the Knicks contending for a championship will now rest on the ability of Lin to run the New York offense effectively.
The good news is that he won't be short of options to pass the ball to, as the Knicks should be able to run a very talented team onto the floor on a nightly basis.
Who will benefit the most from Lin having a full season quarterbacking the Knicks offense?
Let's take a look at who will be Lin's favorite passing targets in 2013.
7. Iman Shumpert
Shumpert is out until January recovering from a knee injury sustained in the first round of the playoffs against the Miami Heat.
In addition to not starting the season in uniform, consider that out of Lin's 216 assists a season ago, 156 of them came on three-point shots, dunks or close attempts.
That's not exactly Shumpert's game.
Shumpert will have success playing with Lin, but, with the talent that will be on the floor, he likely will be Lin's last option.
6. Marcus Camby
Camby might not see as much time with Lin, as he will be coming off the bench, but just consider how Tyson Chandler's offensive game took off playing with Lin a season ago.
Also consider that 49 percent of Lin's assists came on plays close to the rim, so there is a very good chance that Camby will be more involved offensively than he has been the last few years of his career.
5. J.R. Smith
Smith had some success playing with Lin when he arrived in the Big Apple, and Lin likes to penetrate and find shooters on the perimeter.
How much Lin and Smith will connect remains to be seen, as Smith is a player who needs the ball in his hands and likes to hold onto the ball.
A good part of his success will come from creating for himself and not from Lin's playmaking abilities.
4. Carmelo Anthony
Similar to Smith, Anthony needs the ball in his hands and, if he's having success, he's slowing the game down and creating for himself.
Lin will have an impact on Anthony's game, but Anthony will have a majority of his success playing "Meloball."
However, if things are going really well with Lin running the Knicks attack, then Melo's numbers should go down a little bit.
3. Steve Novak
Novak emerged as a weapon and led the NBA in three-point shooting a season ago.
But it's no coincidence that Novak took off around the same time that Lin did.
They showed great chemistry playing together, and Lin found Novak for a ton of wide-open looks—50 of his assists came on shots from behind the arc, with a good percentage of those going to Novak.
I would expect the duo to pick up right where they left off in 2012.
2. Tyson Chandler
i expect Chandler to be a much bigger part of the Knicks' attack this season, especially having played with Lin for an entire season.
I mentioned earlier that 49 percent of Lin's assists came on close shot attempts and 40 percent of those came on dunks, with a good percentage coming off lobs to Chandler.
Chandler averaged 11.8 points per game last season, but he really became a post threat when Lin was inserted into the lineup.
He had his best scoring month of the season in February, averaging 12.8 points per game, but once Lin was injured that number dropped to 9.7.
Chandler could be a big part of the Knicks' offense in 2013.
1. Amar'e Stoudemire
If healthy, and with a full training camp ahead of him, I fully expect a bounce-back season from Stoudemire in 2013.
A Stoudemire-Lin pick-and-roll combination could be a very good one. While I expect a slight drop in Anthony's numbers, I expect a rise in Stoudemire's.
For the Knicks to contend, Stoudemire will have to have a big year and remain on the floor for all of it.
He has a point guard that will keep him involved, so I expect the results to be there for Stoudemire.