Breaking Down How Jeremy Lin Will Run Pick-and-Roll for Houston Rockets
The Mike D'Antonio system fit Lin perfectly, but it remains to be seen whether he'll show the same level of comfort playing with the Houston Rockets.
Everything in New York was set up for Lin to succeed. He was playing alongside Amar'e Stoudemire, one of the best pick-and-roll finishers that the NBA has to offer, and Tyson Chandler, who's also more than capable of finishing the play at the rim.
When Lin came off of a screen—almost always going to his stronger right side—he had a ridiculous amount of options, all of which were difficult for the opponent to stop. He could pull up and shoot a jumper, drive to the rim, pass the ball to the cutting screen-setter or kick it out to Steve Novak, Landry Fields or one of the other spot-up shooters.
The defense would always know what was coming, but it wouldn't matter. Much like Steve Nash during his prime with Amar'e and the Phoenix Suns, Lin's pick-and-roll game was nearly impossible to stop on a consistent basis.
Lin's court vision and patience made it even more difficult to slow him down.
Using a soft show and sending a second defender out to challenge Lin after he worked around the pick worked at first. Then he became more decisive and picked apart the more vulnerable defense by either driving hard to the rim or finding the open cutter.
Hedging and hard shows worked even worse against Lin, as he would patiently wait to drive or find the big man for an easy finish in those respective situations.
The best way to truly stop Lin's pick-and-roll game was to trap and force him to the left side, where his driving abilities were drastically reduced.
Taking away one of the primary options enabled the other choices to be guarded with much more ease. Once Lin's drives to the bucket were less of a threat, defenses could focus more on the passing lanes and force more turnovers.
Lin can expect to see a lot of that with the Rockets, because he doesn't have nearly the same options that he did at Madison Square Garden.
Other than Omer Asik, not a single major contributor to the Houston frontcourt has more than one year of experience. So Lin and his new teammates will be learning on the fly. Plus, it's not like Asik is an established offensive powerhouse.
Lin is going to have to keep the ball in his hands more often than he did with the Knicks and rely both on his jump-shooting and knack for getting to the rim and finishing in traffic. There isn't an Amar'e or Chandler for him to count on to consistently finish.
As this team matures, quality pick-and-roll players will develop, but it's going to be a work in progress during Lin's first season in red.
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