Why do people get so offended when I say that Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin is overrated? This is my opinion, but it’s based on facts. Feel free to disagree with me, but at least hear me out.
Whether you agree with me or not, one thing is indisputable: the sample size. We are all evaluating Lin on just 25 starts and his breakout game against the New Jersey (now Brooklyn) Nets on February 04, 2012. But if you can say that Lin is the real deal after just a few games, I can certainly say that he’s overrated over the same sample size. It works both ways.
I will admit that Lin played like an elite point guard in his breakout game and the 10 games that followed. He was so good that we called his magical run Linsanity. During this stretch of games, Lin averaged 23.9 points and 9.2 assists per game. He shot 50% from the field. These were Steve Nash-like numbers. Like everyone else, I jumped on the bandwagon. Lin was for real.
Then on February 23, 2012, reality replaced Linsanity. The Miami Heat stifled Lin, holding him to eight points and three assists. Lin shot a woeful one for 11 from the floor. His numbers dropped from that game on. In these last 15 games, Lin averaged 14.5 points and 6.5 assists. This put him below the top 10 point guards in the NBA. Lin also averaged 3.9 turnovers a game and shot just 39.3% from the field. That put him in the bottom half of NBA point guards.
So in this small sample of games, we actually have more games that show Lin playing a just above average. While everyone has Linsanity burned in their memories, the actual numbers provide some eye-opening facts.
We also have to consider the surprise factor with Lin. Nobody expected him to play this well. So no player respected his play in the beginning. And Lin took advantage of this by playing aggressively. But there is a big difference between an unknown player lighting it up and a top player who can score when defenses are gunning to stop him.
Finally, Lin hasn’t played a game since March 24, 2012. That’s when he opted for knee surgery to repair a meniscus tear. You can’t overlook this injury. Who knows if his knee will hold up? Who knows if he’ll be the same player?
Put aside Lin’s story, his background and his media attention. Look at what he’s done lately. In Lin’s last 15 games, he looked less like an elite player and more like a good player. I don’t think he can consistently drop 24 points and 10 assists on teams like he did last February. In fact, no NBA point guard did that last season. But if Lin comes close, he’ll be among the elite point guards such as Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams and Chris Paul. Then I’ll eat my words. Then you can call me Linsane for writing this.
Edwin Torres was born in New York City. He has been a Knicks fan since the early 1980s. He has visited Madison Square Garden on many occasions to watch the Knicks and his favorite player, Patrick Ewing. For more articles, follow him on Twitter @FlipPoker.
NBA – Statistics – Yahoo! Sports