Jeremy Lin has been inconsistent thus far this season.
While he’s averaging 11.8 points and 5.1 assists with an eFG% of 50.6 this season, he’s averaged just 7.3 points and 4.3 assists on an eFG% of 25.0 in his last three games.
He’s certainly had some outstanding games, however, such as an 18 point, 11 assist outing against the Minnesota Timberwolves last Friday. Similarly, he had a solid 15 point, 10 assist game on an eFG% of 93.8 in a victory against the Atlanta Hawks back on November 18.
There’s certainly the potential that Lin could become a solid contributor for the Lakers.
However, it appears as though he’s uncomfortable at times and hasn’t quite learned how to play alongside Kobe Bryant just yet.
His usage percentage (USG%) is his lowest since his rookie season at 18.9, and his assist percentage (AST%) of 25.6 is far lower than what it was in his breakout 2011-2012 season with the New York Knicks (41.0).
Nobody is expecting Lin to live up to the “Linsanity” hype he achieved during that particular season, but it’s clear that Lin prefers to have control of the offense, and can be quite successful when he creates a rhythm for himself and others.
That is why I’m proposing the Lakers consider bringing Lin off the bench.
The benefits are that he would be the primary ball-handler with the second unit, and would have a solid option in Nick Young — who is effective both with the ball in his hands and off-ball — to run with.
Additionally, Lin displayed an offensive chemistry with Ed Davis early on this season, and the two coming in together off the bench could provide a solid spark.
Davis, for his part, has fallen off drastically in the offensive department as of late, so the move could be mutually beneficial.
Similarly, if a fluid offensive game is generated between the three aforementioned players, it would more than likely translate to added energy on the defensive side of the ball as well.
As for who would start in Lin’s place? Well, there’s a couple of options.
The first option would be Ronnie Price.
A steadying hand good for a three-point bucket here and there, with a certain tenacity on defense. Price currently holds an AST% of 24.9 this season, meaning he is well-equipped to help control the offense, although he doesn’t quite penetrate the way Lin does.
However, the 6-2 point guard is a career 29.0 percent shooter from behind the arc, averaging just 25.8 percent this season.
The other option at the starting slot would be Wayne Ellington.
While Ellington isn’t a point guard, the Princeton offense doesn’t necessarily call for a traditional point guard. Additionally, Kobe Bryant is always going to be the primary playmaker on the team, whether Lin is on the floor or not. For edification, Kobe currently holds an AST% of 25.3, which is just above his career mark.
Ellington, for his part, is a solid three-point shooter at 37.5 this season with an eFG% of 57.1 .
This could help Kobe and the rest of the team spread the floor and improve spacing.
Regardless of who starts alongside Kobe Bryant, it may be beneficial for the Lakers to experiment with Jeremy Lin coming off the bench.
It would allow Lin to get into a rhythm as the primary ball-handler when he’s on the floor, which may result in better overall play when finishing ballgames. Additionally, him having more control of the ball could make things easier on the second unit as well.
Byron Scott recently stated he is considering making a lineup change, and I’m proposing the first one be moving Lin to the second unit.
Previously, I would have lobbied for moving Wes Johnson and Carlos Boozer there as well, but the two have actually provided some consistency as of late. Moving either one — or both — of them to the bench would possibly have a negative effect on both the players and the team.
Moving Lin to the bench, however, could be mutually beneficial for Lin and the team as a whole.
Kobe Bryant And Jeremy Lin Have Differing Opinion On Playing Mad