Monday, July 13, 2015
What I learned at the Jeremy Lin press conference in Charlotte Monday:
1) Coach Steve Clifford plans to play Lin and Kemba Walker together at times. "He can play with Kemba and that's what I like," Clifford said. While Walker is a point guard only, Clifford envisions Lin as a combo guard who can team with Walker when the team goes with a smaller lineup, which would mean Nicolas Batum would shift to forward (Batum, Clifford believes, can play shooting guard and both forward positions -- the "2, 3 and 4," in basketball lingo).
Clifford notes that one of the trends in the league is "downsizing." Many teams make do with only one true post player on the floor at a time now, and sometimes none (the best example being Golden State, which uses small forward Draymond Green as a center in what I believe is its most effective lineup). This will also be a way for Lin to get more minutes than he would as only Walker's backup. Walker averaged 34 minutes per game last season.
2) Lin believes the primary way he can help the team is to attack the rim. As Lin said in his press conference: "One thing I ... really wanted is to get back to who I am as a player, which is trying to be aggressive, playmaking, always on the attack. I'm always charging toward the rim and that's going to create easier shots for this team."
Lin also had this message for the Hornets' fans: "We want to make the playoffs. And we don't want to just sneak in at the eight spot."
3) Lin also thinks that some of the criticism of his game is outdated and is a residue from the "Linsanity" days of 2012, when he made the cover of Sports Illustrated for two straight weeks but then had his game picked apart after being placed on that high pedestal.
Lin said he was worked on each of the four primary criticisms from those days -- too many turnovers, questionable shooting percentage, inability to go left and defense -- to the point where he believes he is a more "refined" and "all-around" player than he was in 2012 when he briefly set the league aflame.
4) Clifford said the perimeter spots are all set in the starting lineup -- Kemba Walker at point guard, Batum at shooting guard and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at small forward (Lin will be a reserve). The interior rotation, he said, is more uncertain -- although the coach noted that Al Jefferson was "still our best player" and said he believed Jefferson was doing everything he could to return to being the player he was two years ago.
Posted by Scott Fowler at 3:04 PM