Jeremy Lin provided a major spark in the 36 games he played for the Brooklyn Nets. Not only was his scoring a major boost for the team, his role as a point guard was missed as well. Lin’s veteran experience was needed, with relatively inexperienced NBA playmakers Spencer Dinwiddie, Isaiah Whitehead, Yogi Ferrell and Sean Kilpatrick splitting time at the point guard spot. The Nets really showed their potential in the back half of the season with a healthy Lin on the floor in Brooklyn black and white.
Kenny Atkinson installed a new offense in his first season as Nets head coach. Despite the team’s struggles, the Nets ranked as one of the fastest paced teams in the league. Brooklyn also shot a bunch of three-pointers. Lin was signed to be the leader of the Nets’ charge. Greivis Vasquez was also signed to be a veteran floor general for the Nets off the bench. Vasquez seemingly was not fully healthy and his Nets career ended after only three games. Lin’s injury struggles were well documented. The Nets missed the two and Atkinson’s offense surely did as well.
But in his games where he was healthy, Lin was a revelation. His aggressiveness going to the basket really opened the floor up for the Nets’ shooters, and Lin’s willingness to push the ball helped Brook Lopez as well. The Brook-Lin combo really showed their efficiency late in the season, giving Nets fans a source of optimism.
Pushing the Pace
One aspect of Lin’s game that stood out was his ability to push the pace. The Nets’ fast pace was set in stone by Atkinson. Ideally, a fast pace generates easy looks around the basket or open looks from the perimeter. It also can catch the defense sleeping if they don’t set up properly early. No other Nets point guard really pushed the pace to this extreme, choosing to run the Nets’ motion offense right away. With Lin back, he exploited the pace to the Nets’ advantage. Let’s take a look at some of Lin’s mastery at pushing the pace.
Brooklyn Nets vs. New York Knicks
Against the New York Knicks, Lin finds Brook Lopez in the paint. Lin barely crosses half court when he tosses the pass to Lopez. Lopez is in the deep post, with Willy Hernangomez fronting him. Lopez simply turns around and he’s right at the rim. He throws down a big emphatic dunk. For Lopez, the worst that could happen was a foul. It was an easy basket for Lopez, set by Lin pushing the pace with a pass.
Here, Lin doesn’t pass to push the pace. This time he takes the ball himself. Coming off of a New York Knicks miss, Sean Kilpatrick grabs the rebound. Lin catches the pass and rockets ahead. His defender, Derrick Rose hasn’t anticipated Lin pushing the ball. Rose tries to draw the charge but he doesn’t really seem committed. None of the Knicks’ big men were in the paint either, so there was no last line of defense. Lin scoops the ball to the rim for an easy layup. It extends the Nets lead to 18, 65-47. An easy basket with the defense sleeping, spurred by Lin pushing the ball.