Mar 13, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Houston Rockets guard Jeremy Lin (7) during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Lin: The Artist Formerly Known as “Linsanity”

Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

Linsanity. That seems like a long time ago…

To say Jeremy Lin has been in a rut lately is not a bold proclamation. After the last three games, I’ve wanted to say a whole hell of a lot worse, actually. Ever since Patrick Beverley went down and Lin moved back into the starting line-up, things have become really bad.

Like, Need For Speed bad.

In his first start since #Wolverine – thank God that nickname debate is over! – went down, Lin was an absolute train wreck against the Los Angeles Clippers: 32 mins, 1-of-9 shooting, 10 pts, 2 asts, 2 rbs and 3 to. Eight of his derisory ten points came from the charity stripe.

F’n A, Cotton! What happened to that Linsanity magic?

Seriously, go look at some of those games in that time-span. I’ll wait. In the middle of that streak against Dallas, Lin had 28 pts, 14 asts, 5 stls on 50% shooting from 2 AND 3-pt range. WTF, Jeremy? You’re a shell of your former self. You’re like the Tim Tebow of basketball! All the media. All the hype. None of the skills. That’s it; from now – on my columns – you’re gonna be known as, The Artist Formerly Known As Linsanity.

Or, TAFKAL, for short.

TAFKAL plays PG with the best shooting guard and the best center in the league, but is only 39th in the entire NBA in assists with 4.2 per game; tied squarely with the immortal Josh McRoberts, who also happens to be a power forward. Since TAFKAL is a back-up, I figured his Assists per 48 minutes (AP48M) would be much more in-line with his position’s normal production…

Nope! TAFKAL actually falls down a couple of spots to 45th in the league with 7.0 AP48M.

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Well, if he’s not a distributor then maybe TAFKAL‘s adding something with his scoring. After all, the Rockets run-and-gun style pushes up James Harden and Chandler Parson’s numbers, allegedly. But after looking at the ranks, TAFKAL‘s 12.5 PPG average comes in at 90th place… 90th!!!!

Let that number sink in for a second, because his point per 48 minutes (PP48M) is even worse. TAFKAL tumbles out of the Top 100 rankings, in that metric, into a three-way tie with (surprisingly) Chandler Parsons and “Mystery Player A” at 102. Let’s compare TAFKAL and “Mystery Player A” over the last 10 games (because this sample size is important) and review their overall P.E.R. this season:

M. P. A.: 28.4 MPG, 12.8 PPG, 5.9 APG, 2.3 RPG, .442 FG%, .400 3P%, PER (this season) – 13.5

TAFKAL:  28.6 MPG, 13.3 PPG, 4.7 APG, 2.9 RPB, .423 FG%, .406 3P%, PER (this season) – 14.2

“Mystery Player A” makes about $884k this year. TAFKAL makes $8MM. Is there even a question anymore on why Daryl Morey was trying to move TAFKAL at the trade deadline, but couldn’t find any takers? If you cheated and looked up the stats, you would know “Mystery Player A” is Aaron Brooks. As in, former Houston Rocket Aaron Brooks… As in, the Aaron Brooks! As in, OUR Aaron Brooks!!!

Damnit, TAFKAL.

The bottom line is Linsanity is gone. And it’s not coming back again. It was clearly a statistical outlier and if you ever want to see it again, you’re probably gonna have to go buy the 30-for-30 documentary.  I want to be pissed. Really, I do. We let Goran Dragic leave and Kyle Lowry isn’t walking through that door. The Rockets are basically paying Jeremy Lin what Chandler Parson’s contract should be, and vice-versa.

But when I was looking up all these stats on ESPN.com and NBA.com, the answer was right in front of my face. Look at these numbers:

’13-’14 Season: 29.0 MPG, 12.5 PPG, 4.2 APG, 2.6 RPG, .444 FG%, .342 3P%, .815 FT%, 2.5 TOPG

Career Average: 27.2 MPG, 11.8 PPG, 4.9 APG, 2.7 RPG, .441 FG%, .336 3P%, .798 FT%, 2.6 TOPG

Shocking! At this point, it is what it is (copyright: Tracy McGrady) with TAFKAL. All he’s been doing is regressing to the mean this season. So don’t be mad at him, because it’s not his fault he’s over-paid. All we can do now as Rockets fans is hope Pat Beverley comes back in time for the playoffs. Or that Isaiah Canaan runs over Tony Parker, Chris Paul and Russell Westrook in a freak traffic accident. Or hope that Linsanity has one more anomaly still left in him. But I don’t see that happening. Therefore, we need to change our expectations. What we have left is a solid, if not terribly average, back-up point guard. A $15MM bill made out to Les Alexander for next season and The Artist Formerly Known As Linsanity.

Or, TAFKAL, if you ask me.

 

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