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Ranking all of Steph’s teammates: #25 — Jeremy Lin

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In Lin’s first NBA stop, he played tremendous defense that got overlooked by his lack of offense.

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

During his time with the Golden State Warriors, Steph Curry has had 106 teammates who have appeared in at least one game. Some played in exactly one game, while others played in hundreds. Some never actually played in a game that Curry was active for, while others formed historically great partnerships with him.

And I’m ranking all 106 of them before a new season starts and he adds to the tally. Better get a move on.

Players are ranked — and stats are shown — based only on their time as Curry’s teammate. How good/bad they were in other organizations doesn’t matter. How good/bad they were on pre-2009-10 Warriors teams doesn’t matter.


#25 — Jeremy Lin

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) left, and Houston Rockets’ Jeremy Lin (7) hug after their basketball game held at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. The Houston Rockets went on to win the game 116 to 107. (Doug Duran/Sta Photo by MediaNews Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images

Games: 29 (69th out of 106)
Points per game: 2.6 (90th out of 106)
Rebounds per game: 1.4 (T-85th out of 106)
Assists per game: 1.1 (T-53rd out of 106)

This is a ranking that most people will probably disagree with. Strongly disagree with, for that matter. Warriors fans tend to like Jeremy Lin, who was raised in the Bay Area, starred at Palo Alto High School, and made his NBA debut with the Dubs. But he isn’t exactly remembered for being good during his lone season with Golden State.

And that’s understandable. Lin was assigned to the D-League on three different occasions during the year, and ended the season averaging 2.6 points per game on 38.9% shooting, including 20.0% from beyond the arc. Those are the types of numbers that make you think that I’ve placed him about 60 or 70 slots too high on this list. And if we’re just judging his offensive production, then I did exactly that.

Here’s my counterargument: Lin was a sensational defensive player while with the Warriors. Had they been a good team in 2010-11 — which they emphatically were not — he could have been an impact player. But on a bad team, it’s hard to make minutes for an offensively-challenged player, no matter how good they are on defense, and it’s really hard for that player to give an impression of being valuable.

Lin’s Defensive Box Plus-Minus (DBPM) with the Warriors was 4.4. For comparison, Draymond Green, during his Defensive Player of the Year season in 2016-17, led the league with a DBPM of 3.9.

Does that stat tell the whole story? Not in the tiniest bit. But it’s in line with other stats, as well as the eye test and Lin’s reputation at the time. He was really good defensively.

I maintain that if you could pick up 2010-11 Lin and magically transport him to the 2014-15 Warriors, we’d remember him as a defensive ace who was vital in the pursuit of some rings.

Instead, he’ll be remembered as a player who struggled, while this blogger tries to convince you that he was actually quite good.

With fewer than 30 players left, I’m going to start listing the remaining names in alphabetic order, to help out with determining whether someone is properly ranked. Here they are:

Leandro Barbosa, Harrison Barnes, Jordan Bell, Andrew Bogut, Willie Cauley-Stein, Marquese Chriss, DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Durant, Monta Ellis, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Damion Lee, David Lee, Shaun Livingston, Kevon Looney, Corey Maggette, JaVale McGee, Zaza Pachulia, Eric Paschall, D’Angelo Russell, Klay Thompson, David West, Andrew Wiggins, Dorell Wright

Poll

What do you think of Jeremy Lin’s ranking?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    He was better than #25
    (281 votes)
  • 24%
    #25 is about right
    (144 votes)
  • 28%
    He was worse than #25
    (168 votes)
593 votes total Vote Now