Last year's Linsanity may be over, but that doesn't mean Jeremy Lin can't improve his performance this season.
Many are quickly writing off Lin's first 15 games as a starting point guard, but maybe they should take a step back and remember a few things.
Lin is a first-year starter in the NBA. People judging him harshly tend to forget that.
He deserves one year at the helm before you can really judge him from a season's look. At this point next season, if he continues to struggle, then I would be all for the overly harsh criticism.
Did you really expect him to produce like he did last year?
I mean, really? Did you really think he would bury game-winning shots and be able to penetrate the lane at will without any defenses being able to stop him?
This is the NBA with the best scouting and professional coaching in the world. Teams adjust and adapt to stars like Lin and learn how to defend him.
Lin is averaging 10.3 points, 6.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds per contest. He is only shooting 37.7 percent from the floor and 25 percent from the perimeter.
Are those great numbers? No, but are they numbers that don't signify some type of production? Can't this kid improve his shooting slightly?
Where does it say that Lin can't improve his game in his first season as an NBA starter? He may not be producing like last year, but it's not like he's been terrible, either.
Lin has solid point-guard promise
Lin may not be whom we thought he was judging by last season's takeover of the NBA, but he is capable of being an above-average point guard who can do several things on the court to help his team.
We have seen him score the basketball at a great rate, he has the ability to see the floor, he can rebound the basketball well for his position and he can create turnovers with his quickness.
What makes him have that extra edge is his ability to take over a game. We saw it last year; his performance couldn't have been 100 percent luck. There was some essence of skill in his game, and we have seen it manifest several times.
Lin has provided an inconsistent 15-game stretch, but he has done many great things. Here are three of his best performances of the season:
Tuesday, Nov. 27 vs. Toronto
Jeremy Lin loves playing against the Toronto Raptors apparently. We all remember his game-winning shot in Toronto last season, but his performance this go-around was a little less flashy.
Lin dropped 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting while adding 10 assists, four rebounds and three steals. Lin didn't force the issue en route to his double-double performance.
Friday, Nov. 2 at Atlanta
Lin didn't have the best shooting day (6-of-16), but he did record his first double-double of the season after posting 21 points and 10 rebounds.
He also added seven assists.
Friday, Nov. 16 at Portland
Lin provided yet another double-double after scoring 11 points and adding 11 assists. He also contributed six rebounds, two blocks and a steal.
Each one of these performances had one thing in common: three turnovers or less. Lin was consistently providing turnover numbers in the six, seven and even eight region last year.
Last season, he turned the ball over 3.6 times per game. This year, as the starter, Lin has averaged below three per game.
Through 15 games, Lin is averaging more assists, rebounds, steals and blocks and fewer turnovers than one year ago. The only major difference is that he scored 14.6 points per game last year, and he's only averaging 10.3 this season.
So is the criticism justified?
The biggest area coaches, analysts and fans wanted to see a difference in was with his turnovers, and he has made the change. He has improved his facilitating, he has rebounded the ball well for his position and he can create havoc on both sides of the floor.
Maybe he's not the Linsanity of last season, but he doesn't need to play that role if he can continue to be a successful NBA point guard. Through 15 games, Lin has been just that.
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