Jeremy Lin's success with the New York Knicks last season wasn't a fluke by any means, but the Houston Rockets floor general won't realize his true potential with his current team.
For some players in the NBA, the system in which they play means everything. The same holds true for Lin, who is playing in a much different system than the one he enjoyed so much success with last season.
That system was, of course, Mike D'Antoni's.
Under D'Antoni, Lin flourished en route to some historic performances for the Knicks. Not only was he shooting at a solid clip for New York, but Lin was also making incredible plays with the ball, setting up his teammates for easy buckets.
That was mostly a result of the pro-offensive style that D'Antoni coached with. It is notorious for making decent point guards great, and it was a major reason why Steve Nash rose to greatness as a member of the Phoenix Suns with D'Antoni on the bench.
Lin was the man in that system, as the ball was always in his hands, enabling him to make plays in what was a frantically-paced offense. Sure, turnovers were plentiful, but Lin was able to make it work with his solid decision making and ball skills.
But that system is long gone now that Lin has arrived in Houston.
The ball isn't always in his hands anymore, and Lin certainly isn't commanding a free-flowing offense either. Because of this, Lin's numbers are down—slightly in some cases—and that began last season when Mike Woodson took over coaching duties with the Knicks from D'Antoni.
Lin's scoring is down by about four points from last season, and his assists have remained at a standstill from his 2011-12 numbers. On top of that, buckets aren't as easy to come by for Lin, so naturally his field goal percentage is down as well.
The only bright spot in a more relaxed offensive system is that Lin's turnover numbers are down from last season. However, that number isn't down by a significant margin, and each turnover Lin commits is far more detrimental because possessions aren't as plentiful in the current system as they were in D'Antoni's.
Also different from last season is the fact that Lin isn't the only distributor on the team anymore. With the Knicks last season, the team was extremely weak at the point guard position, so if a point guard was running things, it was almost always Lin creating the offense.
James Harden has proven to be a very good passer with the ability to set up his teammates for easy scores on any given possession. So not only is Lin running the offense, but from time to time Harden is also.
On the season, Harden is just one assist per game behind Lin. That will no doubt cut into Lin's numbers as the season moves along and could stop the Rockets point guard from being more productive in the assist category.
All of this isn't to say that Lin won't be a solid point guard in the future, but he certainly won't be the point guard many had envisioned him to be when he burst onto the scene last season.
Lin will need Mike D'Antoni as his coach if he hopes to do that.
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