Even More Important for Lin to be THE Floor General this Season

Last season I wrote a post about how Rockets are more dangerous with the ball starting out in Lin’s hands during end of game situations. Well, this season, with the addition of Dwight Howard and the emergence of Parsons as a near All-Star, it is even more critical for the ball to start out in Lin’s hands not just in end-of-game situations, but for the majority of the game. The reasons I gave in the post I referred to last year become magnified even more now that we have two superstars and a near All-Star in Parsons.

Harden is an elite scorer, but Lin is still a better floor general. Lin is all about the ball finding the optimal scoring situation, whereas Harden is more about scoring the ball himself. But the Rockets are no longer a one-man team (not that I thought it was last season). Now we have four great scorers in our starting lineup (Harden, Howard, Lin, Parsons), so we need to have the ball in the hands of the guy who’s all about the ball finding the optimal scoring situation, Lin. Lin was like this even back in high school. This is the creed that Lin lives by as a baller. Also, as the season progresses, I’m sure Howard is going to figure out that he’ll have more opportunities to score if the does PnRs with Lin vs. Harden, since Lin is an even more willing passer than Harden is. So if McHale wants to make Howard happy, he should let Lin be the main distributor. I just hope McHale figures all of this out. If not, then Rockets won’t be as good as everyone expects them to be this year. But if they do figure this out and Lin’s usage rate surpasses Harden’s then Rockets will be in the Western conference finals and I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up winning the whole thing this year. It always takes time to gel, of course, but they’ll gel much quicker if Lin is allowed to be THE floor general. I just have very little confidence that McHale will let Lin do what Lin does best. I think it’s more likely that McHale will decrease Lin’s role even more and let Beverly take away even more minutes from Lin this season. Let’s hope McHale wakes up.

A recent article, pointed out to me by one of our readers CH, speaks to the importance of letting Lin be the main distributor on the team. I have written about many of the points that this writer makes in his article, so just wanted to highlight it for you all who may have not seen the article. I’m glad to see someone in the somewhat mainstream media echoing a lot of things that I’ve been writing about here.

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26 thoughts on “Even More Important for Lin to be THE Floor General this Season

  1. I can’t wait for the season to start. Another chapter in the Jeremy Lin legacy. And, I think similar to you, what I can’t wait to see is whether Houston Rockets have decided to move forward away from their pre-formed ideology that mid range jumpers are bad, point guard should move the ball and nothing else, 4th = harden’s iso quarter, and most importantly, whether McHale has matured enough to let his young players develop and blossom into real players by not micromanaging them and let the floor general do his thing while giving better treatment to bench players instead of riding only the veterans.

    Not McHale the person but I really despised the way he coached last season. People give McHale credit for Houston finally making the playoffs last year. Conversely, I truly believe they could have made it to the playoffs with much more ease had only McHale used more of a hands off approach and let the players decide the plays themselves. After all, it’s not like McHale is a play making strategist who keeps the opposing team guessing what play he’s going to call. Everyone knows it’s going to be a Harden isolation after each time out.

    McHale might be credited for preserving Lin’s legs and his surgically repaired knees by cooling Lin off by benching him whenever he’s hot. You see, I can find the silver lining to McHale’s insipid coaching style too. However, although even with Lin often giving McHale credit as being a coach who is “hard nosed” about defense, I never saw McHale give a crap about defense cuz he never reamed into a player for missing a defensive assignment (which you clearly have pointed out in one of your videos). And, the drawback to this is Lin over extends himself on defense beating picks and double teaming down low because Houston bigs can’t rotate on picks and can’t defend in the paint (except Asik) which does nothing good for his ailing knee.

    So anyways, I truly believe the key to Houston’s success is McHale’s transition from a bad coach to a coach that doesn’t get in the way of his players. This is what I will be looking for from game 1 onwards. If this happens, I think everything else will start clicking on its own. DH will slam down Lin’s lobs. And, if that doesn’t work, Lin can hit either Harden or Parsons standing at the wings for corner 3s. This team can easily devastate, roll over teams with 20-30pts differential if ONLY McHale will give ALL his players the same confidence that he gave Harden last season.

    Heck, Houston could have done this easily last year if not for McHale’s woeful and interrupting coaching style. (I am almost done with my rant). McHale is always calling his players “young” and “got lots to learn”. Hope he can take it as well as well as he dishes it because as a coach he’s about as green as a D-league hopeful.

    • Thanks for the comment, etane. Please, rant away. That’s what we’re here for. As long as there’s no counter-productive name calling between commentators, I’m all ears. Of course, I’m in agreement with nearly all if not all of your rant so no need to respond with a long reply to your comment. But just wanted to thank you for speaking up!

      I’ll be looking for the same things you’ll be looking for this season. I also feel strongly that McHale impeded the Rockets standings last season, through his over-reliance on Harden–especially during end-of-game situations. That better not be the case this season. If it is, then McHale really doesn’t have a clue about X’s and O’s of coaching. Rockets have four very dangerous weapons on the floor now, they need to capitalize on all four weapons anytime those guys are out there and the best man to do that is Lin! I just have a feeling I’m going to be even more pissed off at McHale this season. Because at least last season, he could kind of hind behind the albeit false idea that Houston is a one-man show. This season I would be really pissed at him if he (and Harden) pulls the same stunt in end-of-game situations.

      • Thanks for allowing me the space to rant. Well, I thought it’s common knowledge that McHale is not a XnO coach:

        “It was a learning experience,” said Carter, who will see McHale and the Timberwolves on Wednesday at the Pepsi Center. “He didn’t really know all the X’s and O’s, but he had a good assistant coaching staff that was helping him out with a lot of plays. He kind of let us run whatever we wanted.

        “He was trying to draw plays, and it was like a little Etch and Sketch. Like a kid just messing around. … He just gave the clipboard to the assistant coaches sometimes.” –source

        So, it’s not like McHale is going all of a sudden start thinking up plays like a D’antoni or a Jackson, so the best he can do is do nothing. Honestly, I have no idea why McHale is a headcoach of any NBA team. He’d be more interesting sitting next to Charles Barkley making color commentaries.

      • Yeah, McHale is not known for being an X’s and O’s coach. I’ve come across that Etch and Sketch comment about McHale numerous times.

        What McHale is good at is gaining respect from his players and players want to play for him. He’s good at psyching his players out–all the soft stuff, which is actually more important, in my eyes, than X’s and O’s. He’s also surprisingly good at match up battles and made some bold and very unconventional calls in the playoffs that payed off. I actually was impressed with his coaching in the playoffs and was very surprised that he more than held his own. I expected that he would falter, but he actually out-coached the Thunder’s coach, which isn’t anything to brag about. But still, I expected him to be lost, being new to the experience. So he does have some good qualities as a coach, however, I think he’s better off in the role of a motivation/energy guy in the coaching staff, rather than head coach. But he’s still new, so we’ll see if he is able to learn and grow in the position. He just seems too stubborn to be open to learning from his mistakes, though.

        His issue with Lin is a separate thing (as I’ve explained in detail in my YouTube video). Even if he learns and grows in the position and becomes a slightly above average coach, I don’t see his views on Lin changing anytime soon. But I’m still hopeful. Will just wait and see how it all shakes out. I think Lin is in great position to excel this season. He finally has a great PnR partner and I think he improved his outside shooting immensely over the summer. I think a lot of people will be surprised with his outside shooting consistency this season. I expect Lin to average 8+ assists and to shoot 40%+ from three point this season. The 40%+ is very bold, but I think he can pull it off. (Probably going to be more like 38% or something, but I’m sticking with 40%+.) Lin’s success this season depends on how soon McHale recognizes the importance of Lin to this team and whether or not McHale will get out of the way.

      • lol mrpingpong! saw it only a few days ago and incredibly impressed with it and appreciate standup’s time and effort he put into it. it seems no matter what i did last week led me to this blog. started my own blog and wanted to see whether the name i thought up was used and low and behold it was. then, wanted to write a blog about the dynamics between mchale and lin and sure enough the same guy already did an incredible video on the same subject.

      • etane, so you are the first to call our Philosopher standup! You are a standout alright! Yep, those liberal arts Ivy Leaguers can sure write. And I appreciate that. If only standup can talk like the bro here, then I would appreciate him even more…

        Have a good laugh everybody, wherever you are on this WEB!

  2. I agree with you that McHale garners a lot of respect from players because McHale has a lot of credibility as a HOF big man. However, after players have played for the said coach, they usually want to bolt if they have the chance to do so such as Lowry and Dragic did. Perhaps it’s a perception pov thing, but I don’t think his players were motivated by him in fact they all have to suffer his irrationalities which you also have touched on in one of your videos.

    Here’s some contradictions. McHale is often praised as being one of the best power forwards ever. How come the Rockets have excellent but raw talent at the PF position but they haven’t been developed for better post up moves and defensive positioning? Why is it that Greg Smith still can’t keep his 250lb body between the basket and the defender? Why is it that Terence Jones is perpetually on the bench and never given the chance to strut his stuff? Why is it that dMo asked to be shipped to D league instead of learning from the master himself?

    And, I agree with you that McHale is not one to change his views on Lin nor on anything else. Rather think he’s the obstinate type. So, based on this, again, the best McHale can do for both the Rockets and Lin is that he does nothing and let the floor general and assistant coaches do the coaching.

    Regarding your projecting on Lin’s production, agree with you that there should only be upsides from 13 and 6 with the addition of Howard as well as Lin starting the season healthy, in great athletic condition and with better mental preparation. How he will produce though will be mainly be dictated by things outside of his control: 1) will he be used at a SG instead of a PG? 2) who will be primarily feeding Howard in the paint? 3) will Bev continue to eat away at Lin’s minutes? 4) who will opposing teams defense prioritize on when playing Houston? and 4) how will he handle being yo-yo’d on and off the bench like he was last year?

      • Also, regarding the game that McHale supposedly out-coached the Thunder’s coach, perhaps the credit goes more to the assistant coaches. At least, in this article, McHale wasn’t explicitly given credit for the win.

    • It’s my personal opinion that McHale doesn’t understand or appreciate the point guard position. So I don’t think he does a good job of handling his point guards. At the same time, I think Lowry is not the easiest guy to get along with or coach, so he’s not the best example to use. I’m not totally familiar with the Dragic situation, but i think he left for a better contract. Most of the guys on this team seem to really want to play for McHale and also guys like Garnett and Love loved playing for McHale. But I think it’s mainly because McHale is a fun guy to be around. I think that’s why players enjoy playing for him. That, and they respect him as a Hall-of-Famer.

      Last year, McHale worked with what he had and Rockets didn’t have any star Power Forwards (and still don’t). So he didn’t emphasize that position much in his coaching. We have a very promising player in TJones and I do see him as our missing piece and have blamed McHale last season numerous times for not playing TJones. But I don’t blame McHale for not really focusing his attention on developing those players, since he had so many other things to think about. As a coach, you are only one man, so you work with what you got and we got a team that was all about running up and down the court. Not a team that would do too many post up plays. So I think McHale did what he had to do last season. This season, you can see him working with Howard and developing Howard, so we’ll see how that goes. DMo went to D-League because he didn’t want to sit around on the bench and thought getting experience in D-League was better than sitting on the bench. So that had nothing to do with McHale’s lack of ability to teach him what McHale knows–except for the fact that McHale didn’t play him.

      I think Lin will average 8+ assists pretty easily this season. You think about how terrible of a position Lin was in last season and he still got 6 assists, even though Asik would drop at least two easy buckets fed from Lin per game. So that’s why I don’t think it’s a problem for Lin to get 8+ assists. That’s the thing, even with Lin’s very low usage rate last season, he still managed to average 6 assists. So even if Lin’s usage rate doesn’t increase and McHale uses Lin the same way this season, I still expect Lin to average 8+ assists, because Howard isn’t going fumble as many balls as Asik did last season. Only way Lin doesn’t get 8+ assists is that Beverly takes away significant minutes from Lin or Lin ends up coming off the bench for whatever reason.

      As for the whether or not it was McHale or the assistant coach…I have read that Q/A with Bickerstaff when it came out. No one really knows what goes on behind the scenes. I do think McHale’s assistant coaches do know more about X’s and O’s than McHale. But the way it works is, the head coach gets all the credit and all the blame, because, after all, even if one of his assistant coaches comes up with an idea, he’s the one that has the final say. This is why I blame McHale for everything that goes wrong and I give him credit where credit is due. The buck stops with the head coach. It might not be fair, but that’s the way it is. Plus, we never really know what goes on behind the scenes, so might as well just give the head coach the credit and the blame for coaching-related things, otherwise, we’d be cherry picking when to give him credit/blame and when not to give him credit/blame. And I don’t think that’s fair.

      • I completely get what you’re saying that there are many priorities that a head coach has to juggle and developing power forwards isn’t on top of that list although to some degrees I have to disagree.

        First of all, that’s the glaring weak spot 1 through 5. I think the 4 should have been a top priority from last year’s preseason onwards. But, I understand that not everyone thinks or agrees with my thinking so I will let it slide.

        But, my point is, and we agree that McHale is not one to understand the importance of point guards or know how to use them correctly, but we can’t use the same excuse for McHale not knowing how or unwilling to develop the raw PFs and not keep them perpetually on the bench.

        I want to say that McHale probably doesn’t know HOW to work with raw talent but you pointed out that he’s done some good stuff with players in minny so going to give McHale benefit of the doubt here.

        Definitely don’t disagree wtih you that Lin’s upside is high. But, I am an eternal pessimist. I mean McHale keeps surprising me with new ways how he could destroy Lin’s games last year. I just have to keep holding my breath and see for myself that he’s not going to do the same this year too.

        And, regarding the Thunder game, I am not going to take away the credit for winning the game from McHale as he did the right thing which is to do nothing and let his assistant coaches do the coaching. That’s what he should do the entire 2013-14 season too. I just don’t think McHale could have thought up the going small strategy on his own.

      • Yeah, the jury is still out for me, too, on whether or not McHale knows how to work with raw talent. So far, I haven’t seen much from him in this area.

        Also, one thing that’s good about McHale is that, from what I’ve read, he’s very open to listening to his assistant coaches. Probably because deep down he knows he’s deficient in a lot of areas with respect to coaching. Whatever the case, I’m glad at least he has a very open coaching style. His offense is also free-flowing hypothetically. But it would be free flowing in actuality if he lets Lin do what Lin does best. Lin is all about a free flowing offense. This is the crazy thing, McHale’s got THE perfect point guard for his offense–especially with the addition of Howard.

        My hope is that circumstances will force McHale to use Lin the way Lin is supposed to be used. One of those circumstances is Howard realizing that Lin is an important piece of the puzzle to his success and will demand that Lin be the floor general. Morey and Les should be smart enough to figure out that if you have a team of four great scorers you need Lin to quarterback the offense. So I’m hoping that McHale will get lots of pressure this season to let Lin play the way Lin is supposed to play.

      • If I’m coach KM, I’d be loosing sleep over the following X’s and O’s.

        1. Have Lin dribble down court, pass the ball to H13 and go stand in a corner. But then D12 will never get the ball that way and will be unhappy.
        2. Have Lin dribble down court, pass the ball to D12 and go stand in the other corner. But then H13 will never get the ball and will be unhappy.
        3. Have PB dribble down court, run around the perimeter, bump into his defender’s knees, and shoot a trey. But that will make the whole OKC team unhappy.

        Boy, it’s hard to coach them Rockets and please everybody. But it’s a job…

  3. MrPingPong! That video breakdown is hilarious! Drunken Monkey Joint! Sounds like a Spike Lee kung fu movie.

    Now on to the serious analysis. Looks like Lin took three steps after he picked the ball up.

    *hides*

    • Of course not. Feel free to share my videos, as well as my blog posts anywhere. Spread the word! That’s what they’re there for.

      Just please don’t steal things that I’ve written or said without acknowledging me. Ha ha. MrPingPong knows exactly what I’m talking about. Someone basically copied and pasted something I wrote in the description of a YouTube video that they posted without acknowledging me. MrPingPong just happen to come across the video and brought it to my attention. Not a big deal. But it’s only right to give people credit for their work.

      • Thanks! I added some commentary. If you’re not comfortable with anything I wrote just let me know. In case you don’t already know, just click my name to go there.

      • Ha ha, first Jeremy Lintelligence, and now The Lintelligentsia!
        etane: I like the name of your blog. There is something radical about it.
        This is fun!

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