There is nothing wrong with rooting for someone of your own ethnicity, especially when there aren't many of them playing in the top league of the game you love, and when we live in arguably the most diverse region on the planet here in the Bay Area.
However, up until this point there really has not been a plethora of highlights with the appropriate context to base these movements on. YouTube had highlights of Yi Jianlian playing in China and ESPN had video of his pre-draft workout, albeit with no one else but a trainer on the floor. That's a lot more than we had for Singh, Ming Ming, and Sun combined!
This time we have someone legit. Someone who is performing at the NCAA Division-I level. Someone who is consistently dropping impressive numbers and highlights on ranked, big-time college programs such as UConn and Boston College. And like so many of you, his parents are immigrants and he grew up here in the Bay Area. His name is Jeremy Lin and with that, I present to you...
"Based On What?"
I've been following Jeremy Lin's progress since the beginning of last season when he was a junior at Harvard, and the four eye-popping stats I'm about to tell you have not been written about by any other observer, ever. If you know the story of how Jeremy led Palo Alto to California's high school state championship, then you know that Jeremy has that je ne sais quois. I will now reveal what makes him the special player that he is...
Eye-popping stat #4: He is among the nation's leaders in dunks
I wrote about this before, but it was buried in my preview of the UConn game, which I dubbed David vs Goliath II, in his head-to-head matchup with UConn's star guard and projected NBA 2nd-round pick, Jerome Dyson. Jeremy is amongst the nation's leaders in dunks for guards.
Here is a preliminary sampling of comparables, through 12/14/2009:
- Cal's Patrick Christopher: 7 dunks in 9 games played.
- Ohio State's Evan Turner, who could be considered a small forward and who is now out for 8 weeks with an injury: 5 dunks in 8 games played.
- Willie Warren of Oklahoma State, who is also a combo guard considered the next-best point guard NBA draft pick (a definite lottery pick): 1 dunk in 9 games played.
- John Wall of Kentucky, the consensus #1 NBA Draft pick for 2010: a super-human 14 dunks in 9 games played.
- Xavier Henry of Kansas, a tall shooting guard on the #1-ranked team in the NCAA: 8 dunks in 9 games played.
- UConn's Jerome Dyson, who is projected to be picked in the 2nd round: 5 dunks in 8 games played.
Jeremy Lin has 7 dunks in 9 games played! I have been one of the privileged few to witness an Asian man be the most athletic player on an NCAA Division-I basketball court. Here's his second dunk in the game against 13th-ranked UConn...
In the first game of the season against Holy Cross (unfortunately, not televised nor streamed on the Internet), Jeremy had a game-changing two-handed dunk in traffic which was described as...
"Yeah I was in the first row behind the harvard bench. Best dunk i've seen live." -- YouTube user etizzle1
"Up fake, Jab fake left, two dribbles middle, two hand flush in traffic, unreal.. the whole crowd just went WHAT!?" -- Twitter user CoachNags
In last week's victory at Boston College, he had a soaring one-handed dunk attempt in traffic that clanged off back-rim. Facebook user V.Cheah described it as follows...
Oh man! We sat fairly far because the seats were donated to me and the kids I coach. But in the Conte Forum, there honestly isn't a bad seat in the house, the view was excellent.
Anyways it was a transition play where I believe Lin caught the outlet right before half court. He got a second shift in gears when he got inside the 3 point line and started to glide for what looked like a Jordan logo layup. Instead, he just kept on rising haha and he definitely cleared the rim, but I believe the angle was slightly awkward where his wrist couldn't get the ball in. He had like one guy beneath him and one on his back. It would've made top 10 on espn easily if he made it.
Thankfully the UConn game was televised, otherwise 100% of his dunking exploits would still be of legend.
Eye-popping stat #3: He is 4-for-8 in buzzer beaters thus far this season
4-for-8 would be a pretty good stat in the NBA for buzzer-beaters, but remember, the college game only has two halves and, therefore, only two opportunities to perform a buzzer-beater, which makes Jeremy's stats in this category even more impressive. Here they are, one-by-one:
- Floater in the lane at the first half buzzer against Boston College (12/9/2009)
- Three-pointer at the first half buzzer against New Hampshire (11/25/2009)
- Missed three-point attempt at first half buzzer against Army (11/23/2009)
- Three-pointer at the first half buzzer against Bryant (11/20/2009)
- 1-for-3 in buzzer beaters of the famous triple-overtime walk-off vs William & Mary (11/15/2009)
- Missed three-pointer at the first half buzzer against Holy Cross (11/13/2009)
Here is the famous buzzer-beater against William & Mary in its Top Plays Of The Week #3 form on ESPN SportsCenter (#4 was Dwyane Wade!)...
Eye-popping stat #2: In "important" games, he is averaging 14.3 points per 2nd half
I have already written that Mr. Crunch-Time averaged 11.2 points per 2nd half last season. This season, he has actually increased it to 11.4!
I also noticed that his worst 2nd-half outputs have occurred during blowouts, except for one game, in which Army held him to only 6 points total. It came as no surprise to me that the Army coach was an assistant for perennial Ivy League champion Cornell last year. Jeremy had his worst game against Cornell last year. Also, Harvard committed 30 turnovers (8 of them committed by Jeremy), 20 of them by the end of the first half, against Army and Jeremy missed 7 free throws that game.
The following is a list of games and scoring outputs (first half + second half = total points for that game) this year, with the blowout wins crossed out:
- 5+19 = 24, won 87-77 at Holy Cross
- 8+11 = 19, won 87-85 vs William & Mary
8+4 = 12, won 77-51 vs Bryant
- 4+2 = 6, lost 53-56 at Army
11+7 = 18, won 78-60 vs New Hampshire
- 3+16 = 19, won 78-70 at Boston University
8+6 = 14, won 85-64 vs Rice
- 8+22 = 30, lost 73-79 at UConn
- 9+16 = 25, won 74-67 at Boston College
I wish someone could tell me how many points Stephen Curry averaged for Davidson in 2nd halves last season!
Gottlieb wrote in a follow-up article (ESPN Insider account required):
In preparing for my television call of Connecticut's home game against Harvard on Sunday, I asked Penn guard Zack Rosen about the Crimson. His response? "Jeremy Lin, he is their whole team. They have some good young guys inside and all, but Lin takes over games in the second half."
If you watch the following highlight, you'll notice that Jeremy tallied 21 of his 30 total points at UConn with 1:37 remaining. He scored 9 points in 1:37 against #13 UConn (well, actually 11 in the final 1:38!).
As I have written before, the better the competition, the better his teammates, the better he plays, as evidenced most recently by...
- 25 points, including 10-for-12 from the line against Boston College of the mighty ACC, and 17 for his last 20 dating back to the UConn game,
- 30 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks against 13th-ranked UConn,
- 27 points, 8 assists, and 6 steals (six!) last year 1/7/2009 against a 17th-ranked Boston College team that had just upset #1 and eventual national champion North Carolina.
It goes without saying that in the NBA, he'll have better competition and better teammates. I saw him in a closed summer scrimmage playing against other high-caliber players (that's all I can say at this point, but details will be revealed sometime next year); Jeremy Lin delivers the ball and is a playmaker. He only scores when he absolutely has to.
Eye-popping stat #1: He is averaging 1.2 blocked shots per (and is a leader in steals)
Again, for guards only, and by the way, it's 1.22 to be exact. Do you even realize how sick 1.22 blocked shots per game for a guard is? Maybe if you look at Dwyane Wade's stats, you'll understand:
|2009 - Dwyane Wade||22||38.3||8.9||20.7||42.8||0.9||3.6||24.1||8.4||11.0||76.4||1.3||4.1||5.4||5.9||3.2||1.7||1.2||2.4||27.0|
That's right, D-Wade is currently at 1.23 blocked shots per game. That's the most for any guard in the NBA. Okay, Wade has already played in 22 games, but then if you are going to discount me on that, then I must ask for it back because an NBA game is 48 minutes compared to the NCAA's 40. Relatively speaking, it wouldn't be a far stretch to say that Jeremy Lin is the Dwyane Wade of the NCAA right now as far as defense is concerned.
It would be a far stretch if I had pulled that out of thin air, right? So, "Based On What?" Based on actual stats and comparison, sir.
Am I really going out on a limb to say that Jeremy is probably the nation's leader in blocked shots for guards, although I have not done the research on the blocked shot leader board to see which of those many names are guards?
As far as steals, we already knew that. He has consistently been up there in this department: 2.1 steals per game as of this writing. Not leading the nation because there are plenty of quick guards out there, but still extremely impressive.
I wonder how many of the nations' steals leaders are as big as Jeremy at 6'3" 200 lbs. Something tells me all the players ahead of him are probably smaller and skinnier (i.e., D-Wade leading the league in steals is even more incredible because he's ahead of smaller and more nimble guys like Brandon Jennings).
Oh, and in case you weren't paying attention, Dwyane Wade is currently averaging 1.7 steals per game in the NBA format.
Show me an NBA GM who wouldn't want defense as part of the investment in a first-round pick, in a 6'3" 200-lb point guard, no less. All this talk about offense, what were the scouting reports pertaining to defense on the 16 point guards taken in the 2009 NBA Draft?
Here are Jeremy's stats averages overall...
|2009 - Jeremy Lin||9||32.7||5.4||10.6||51.6||1.4||3.9||37.1||6.2||8.4||73.7||1.1||4.2||5.3||4.2||3.3||2.1||1.2||2.4||18.6|
In fact, he was the only Division-I player in the nation to finish in the Top 10 in all major offensive and defensive categories last year, to which the UConn TV announcers, among which is the renowned Doug Gottlieb of ESPN, said:
Here's his incredible swat of Jerome Dyson on a fast break...
ASIDE: I actually originally had this eye-popping stat swapped at #1 with the points-per-2nd-half, but when I re-read it and added the Dwyane Wade numbers, I'm back at my favorite aspect of the game: defense which, again, I wrote about at the beginning of the season.
What could go wrong
I hope you have jumped on the bandwagon by now. If not, then you are saying, "Well, Jeremy Lin can't ________."
At that point, you need to ask yourself those three words, "Based on what?"
Still, the road to the NBA could be derailed. Any number of things can happen:
- Knock on wood, but he could get injured, which is the same risk for any other future draft pick out there, so this is not really saying anything.
- NBA people could continue to discount the fact that he is Asian and they have not seen an Asian player produce like this. You would like to think, however, that Jeremy being Asian would actually help him make the NBA, due to the marketing potential.
- Harvard could start playing bad, causing Jeremy to fall off the radar no matter what numbers he puts up. This is because Harvard is in the Ivy League. I don't know if you noticed, but in the NCAA, the exciting parts are the early non-conference battles (like UConn vs Kentucky last week), the conference tournaments and the NCAA Tournament itself. League play gets to be pretty mundane unless you are in a powerhouse conference. To make matters worse, for whatever reason, the Ivy League does not have a season-ending conference tournament (the Pac-10 didn't even have one until several years ago).
- Harvard could continue to play well, but not finish first in the Ivy League and therefore probably not receive an NCAA Tournament bid. Yes, it's a little early to be talking about the NCAA Tournament, but Harvard's already in the top 65 in RPI rating. If you are not playing in the NCAA Tournament, then you are not on national TV. That could cause Jeremy's stock to plummet. It should be noted that there are three other invitational tournaments, one of them the NIT, at the end of the season.
- Every team could start playing like Cornell and Army and, as a team, stop Jeremy Lin. However, I have concluded that most teams are either not talented enough to handle all of Harvard's weapons, or are too talented such that it is impossible for them to sacrifice as a collective unit to stop one man, as have the powers that be at Cornell and Army been able to do. In short, I think we're okay with this one.
- You might not tell anyone about Jeremy Lin, which will result in him still being a secret. Let's remember one thing: NBA offices have human beings sitting behind computers hooked up to the Internet these days. Last week, the blogosphere erupted after ESPN's cadre of college basketball analysts poured the praise on (I have a whole collection of links below, don't worry!). In this day and age, you can make a difference. Remember, social media played a huge role in Barack Obama getting elected as President.
Even the detractors will say, at least now, that Jeremy will be welcomed to play professionally somewhere. However, if you're an Asian-American, you should hope he makes the NBA because it will help eliminate the discrimination on America's playgrounds.
To make the NBA, you need to be on the draft boards, which I've yet to figure out who the sources are (NBA agents?). You need to perform, as Jeremy has been helping himself in doing, and you need to win, of course. Once you're on the draft board, you need to have great workouts, but you need to be drafted. There are only 60 slots available. If you're drafted in the first round, you're in good shape; there is almost no chance that any NBA executive would let you play anywhere else but the NBA, because that executive has got to prove his pick was worth the investment. If you're drafted in the 2nd round, you've been labeled "NBA-caliber", but you can't screw it up in Summer League or training camp, and it depends on the roster of the team that selected you.
But if you're undrafted, there are only so many people named Anthony Morrow or Will Bynum out there.
Here's what ESPN's Dana O'Neil said in an ESPN chat transcript:
The NBA is so frustrating to me. They pick on upside and measurements and all this who-ha instead of whether or not a kid can play. I heard it about Jameer Nelson for two years. He was too small, too this. And now he's an All-Star. So I don't know if Lin will get drafted. I do, however, think he could help a team smart enough to take him.
Another more notable analyst from ESPN, Chad Ford, said this (Insider required):
Lin is a terrific scorer, quick, has good leaping ability and is a nice size for a point guard. The fact that he's an Asian-American guard playing at Harvard has probably kept him off the NBA radar too long. But as scouts are hunting everywhere for point guards, more and more are coming back and acknowledging that Lin is a legit prospect.
It doesn't look like he cracks anyone's top 30 at the moment. However, if he finishes strong and has great workouts against some of the better prospects in the draft, his stock could soar.
The most famous ESPN college analyst on TV, Jay Bilas -- the one who covers the NBA Draft -- paid the ultimate compliment (Insider required):
Lin can play anywhere, in any league.
When you look at the basic stats, you don't see a whole lot of difference from mid-first-round to late-second-round. Every guard's got respectable numbers in the high teens in scoring and maybe four or five assists per game. It's the national TV and hype that moves you up.
We can actually do something about that hype. We can show the world that people want to see Jeremy play, that we would buy tickets to his games if he makes it into the NBA. And as someone who has bought each and every Harvard game video streaming package available under the sun (every college is responsible for streaming its own home games), I can tell you that it has been worth every penny. Certainly worth more than what the Warriors charge!
Maybe it was meant to be that Facebook and Twitter started becoming mainstream this year?
Maybe it was meant to be that GSoM picked up Poor Man's Commish on their staff right about this time. This blog gets picked up by all of the national distributors. If you believe in Jeremy Lin, forward this article to anyone you think might be interested, asap!
What's next? Mark January 4th on your Bay Area calendars!
Jeremy's next game is on Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 11th-ranked Georgetown (yikes!), which has a potential NBA lottery pick in 6'11" sophomore center Greg Monroe. Unfortunately, Georgetown doesn't have any guards that are ranked as highly as UConn's backcourt for the mano-y-mano versus Jeremy, but the fact remains, Georgetown as a collective unit is way, way up there. Also, the game is the only one on Georgetown's schedule that will not be televised. See what I mean?! Luckily, it will be on their video stream. For me, 425 x 300 pixels is better than nuthin'!
Then, Harvard makes a quick trip out to the West Coast, first up to Seattle University on January 2nd, 2010. Actually, there's an even longer-shot NBA prospect in point guard Charles Garcia, that ESPN's Chad Ford wrote about (Insider account required):
Two weeks ago we said that Seattle U's Charles Garcia was a potential draft sleeper ... but he appears to be a sleeper no longer. More and more scouts have him on their radar screen and he's wowing them with his versatility and production. One minute he's playing the 4, the next he's playing the point. It's virtually impossible to deny the talent. However, don't go overboard just yet. As an increasing number of scouts start to see him play, they're also digging into his background and the early reports don't sound good. Does he have the talent to be a first-round pick? Maybe. But scouts are expressing concerns about enough background questions to keep him out of the first round until teams feel like they have all of the answers.
This should make for a nice head-to-head matchup against Jeremy.
You should go to Harvard at Santa Clara, Monday, January 4th, 2010 (7:00pm)
Finally, Jeremy makes a "homecoming" appearance as Harvard travels to Santa Clara for a game on 1/4/2010. Tickets are already selling briskly. There are not many Lower Reserved seats remaining next to the Harvard bench.
Any and all basketball fans should go, but at least every Asian who is in town that day and enjoys basketball, went to Harvard, or wants to help the advancement of Asian-Americans ought to be at this game. I'm hoping the game will be packed with Jeremy Lin supporters.
The game isn't being televised, so if you're remotely interested, you'll need to carve out arrangements for this. Even though it's not televised, I hope that the YouTube revolution will continue and some of you attending the game will capture this potential history-making event.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org. They've got discounted tickets.
The literal translation from Jeremy's household language of Mandarin is, "add fuel." But for all intents and purposes, it's the Chinese way of saying, "Let's go!!!"
If you hear this chant on Monday night, January 4th at SCU's Leavey Center, please join in!
If you could've gone, and you don't end up going
Remember, it still remains to be seen if fate will allow him to be drafted by an NBA franchise this summer. If he doesn't or, for whatever reason, he does not end up making an NBA roster, then you will have missed a golden opportunity to see him play in the Bay Area, live.
He would probably end up playing in Europe and we all know how much coverage we get here in the U.S. on Euro-basketball: none.
This could be your last chance.
More links for you to gobble up
To stay updated on Jeremy Lin you can...
- Follow me on Twitter @poormanscommish
- Friend me on Facebook at http://facebook.com/dreamleague
- Subscribe to my YouTube videos at http://youtube.com/dreamleague
- Check out my blog (RSS feed available there), Poor Man's Commish
If someone wants to help me continue keeping track of his and others' dunks, buzzer beaters, or whatever other stat, speak up!
I'm sure you don't have the time to read all of these, so drop your questions in the comments!
- Photo gallery of Harvard-UConn including Jeremy's dunk and swat: http://www.courant.com/sports/uconn-men/hc-uconn-men-harvard-pictures,0,932976.photogallery
- ESPN's Dana O'Neil and her article entitled Immigrant Dream Plays Out Through Son that set the Twittersphere ablaze last week and was the cover story on ESPN.com's College Basketball section: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/columns/story?columnist=oneil_dana&id=4730385
- Gottlieb's praise that accompanied the O'Neil article (Insider required): http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=4731117&name=ncbexperts
- More from ESPN college basketball analyst O'Neil as well as Andy Katz: http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/tag/_/name/jeremy-lin
- Dana O'Neil's chat transcript: http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/chat/_/id/29844/ncaa-bb-with-dana-oneil
- Jay Bilas saying "anywhere, any league": http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=4721259&name=bilas_jay
- Chad Ford: http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=4734046&name=nba_draft
- Many, many quotes put on one page by GoCrimson.com: http://www.gocrimson.com/sports/mbkb/2009-10/releases/091210_MBB_Quotes
- Jason Kidd's college stats with 9.1 apg, 6.9 rpg (off the charts!), in case you were interested: http://www.basketballreference.com/players/playerpage.htm?ilkid=KIDDJA01
- Steve Nash's college stats with 6.0 apg, 3.6 rpg: http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/n/nashst01.html
- Chauncy Billup's college stats with 4.8 apg, 4.9 rpg (eerily similar): http://www.basketballreference.com/players/playerpage.htm?ilkid=BILLUCH01
- Deron Williams's college stats with 4.5 apg, 3.0 rpg: http://statsheet.com/mcb/players/player/illinois/deron-williams
- Dwyane Wade's college stats with 3.4 apg, 6.6 rpg: http://statsheet.com/mcb/players/player/marquette/dwyane-wade
- Chris Paul's college stats with 5.9 apg, 3.3 rpg: http://statsheet.com/mcb/players/player/wake-forest/chris-paul
- Jeremy's up-to-date stats on ESPN: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/player/profile?playerId=32762
- ESPN's 2010 draft board: http://insider.espn.go.com/nbadraft/draft/tracker/position?id=1&draftyear=2010
- NBADraft.net's draft board: http://www.nbadraft.net/2010mock_draft
- DraftExpress.com's draft board: http://www.draftexpress.com/nba-mock-draft/2010/
- John Wall's sick stats this year: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/player/profile?playerId=45885
- Willie Warren's stats. Comparable at 6'4" 199 lbs and similar offensive stats, but Jeremy outshines on defensive rebounding, blocked shots, and steals: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/player/profile?playerId=41570
- Greivis Vasquez's stats. He's 6'6" but only 190 lbs. I have not seen him play (yet) and I've read that he's not the most humble player, which may be chickenfeed for NBA competition: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/player/profile?playerId=32018
- Iman Shumpert's stats. He's comparable at 6'5" 209 lbs. Only 8.3 ppg and 2.3 rpg as of this writing, though. I have not seen him play: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/player/profile?playerId=40975
- Armon Johnson's stats. He's comparable at 6'3" 195 lbs and I have not seen him play. Again, similar numbers but Jeremy shines on defense and game-breaking ability: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/player/profile?playerId=36326
- NCAA's current leaders in blocked shots. I wonder how many of these are guards: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/leaders?groupId=50&cat=blocks&sort=AVG&seasonYear=2010
- Compendium of Jeremy Lin blogposts on Poor Man's Commish: http://www.dreamleague.org/blog/category/jeremylin/
- Poor Man's Commish: The Legend of Jeremy Lin Part 1 of 2 (I said it first: "He will make the NBA.")
- Poor Man's Commish: The Legend of Jeremy Lin Part 2 of 2 (the possibility that there might not be a fairy tale ending)
- Poor Man's Commish: The Revolution will not be televised (most comprehensive scouting report on Jeremy thus far)
- Poor Man's Commish: Meet Mr. Crunch-Time (2nd half scoring, the dunk at Holy Cross)
- Poor Man's Commish: JL4 does it again (the William & Mary buzzer-beater)
- Poor Man's Commish: Status check on the Megatron star (more links!)
- Poor Man's Commish: Jeremy Lin's stats plunge (blowout vs Bryant and debacle vs Army)
- Poor Man's Commish: David vs Goliath II (includes dunk tallies)