Houston Rockets

Dummy's Guide to Shutting Down Jeremy Lin

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 27:  Jeremy Lin #7 of the Houston Rockets is knocked to the court against the Toronto Raptors at the Toyota Center on November 27, 2012 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Jonathan WassermanNBA Lead WriterDecember 9, 2012

In order to turn Jeremy Lin into a liability for his team, you have to take away his strengths.

Lin's strengths center around his quickness off the dribble, cleverness as a finisher and peripheral vision as a facilitator.

Once he penetrates the first line of defense, there's space for him to either attack the rim, use a floater or set up a teammate. The objective of the defender: Eliminate the space.

Rule No. 1: Pressure The Ball

Jeremy Lin isn't a great ball-handler. He wasn't even a point guard in college. Lin hates relentless ball-pressure and tends to panic and make a rushed decision when he encounters it.

He also doesn't have great length. Most defenders have longer arms than Lin, making it easy for them to disrupt his passing lanes and prevent him from making a simple pass.

Last year Miami was the first team to really pressure Lin full-court, and he consequently had his worst game of the year as he shot 1-of-11 and had eight turnovers.

Here is Mario Chalmers picking up Lin full-court:

Lin allows his dribble to come up too high, making it easy for pick-pocketers to strike.

By pressuring the ball, it takes away any comfort zone Lin has to operate as a ball-handler.

 

Rule No. 2: Hedge on Ball-Screens

Two men pressuring Lin is better than one. That big man needs to hedge hard and cut off Lin's angle, while his original defender comes over to trap and force Lin to pick up his dribble.

Again, when Lin is pressured, he panics and rushes:

 

3. Ball-Defender Goes Under Ball-Screen

This is only a recommended strategy against quick guards who can't shoot.

By going under the ball-screen, it prevents Lin from attacking the basket, but it gives him an open look for a pull-up jumper. You'd much rather Lin take a jumper than get to the rim.

He's a lot deadlier once he's penetrated the heart of the defense. If anything was a fluke last year it was his shooting percentages from mid-range and downtown.

He's shooting a woeful 37 percent from the floor this season, down from 44 percent last year. Keeping him on the perimeter makes for a less effective Jeremy Lin.

 

4. Stay in Front

Lin's short wingspan affects his shot-release. He's not able to shoot over defenders who have hands in his face and is often forced to send high, low percentage floaters over the reach of outstretched defenders.

If you can manage to stay in front of him, you're going to force Lin into difficult shots all night long.

By pressuring Lin, keeping him out of the lane and fronting him on the perimeter, defenses can turn Jeremy Lin into a liability for the Houston Rockets.

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