Jeremy Lin’s boxscore from last Saturday’s victory at Brown seemed a bit anemic, as he got himself in foul trouble early and only played 9 minutes in the first half. He finished with just 5 points, but still had 7 assists, 6 of them in the 2nd half, in just 25 minutes of play out of a possible 40. He shot an un-Jeremy-like 1-for-6 from the field.
This was less than 24 hours after he fouled out against Yale, in what was eventually an overtime nailbiter that Harvard eeked out by three points. In that game, he scored 18 points but had to sit on the bench with his 5th personal foul and still two minutes on the clock, usually the climax of the Jeremy Lin Show — remember, he scored 11 points in the last 1:38 of play against UConn! Instead, Jeremy finished with just 32 minutes played out of a possible 45.
Does this mean his draft stock has plummeted?
To prolong the metaphor, Jeremy doesn’t even have his stock listed at this point, in terms of being on any of the major NBA Draft board websites such as NBAdraft.net or DraftExpress.
Tonight, Harvard plays Cornell in another most-important-game-ever matchup. If Harvard wins, they tie Cornell for second place behind Princeton. Then, after a few more “should-win” league games, face Princeton for the last Ivy League game on 3/6. If Harvard wins out, then they will at least tie Cornell and Princeton for the best record, at which point there would be a playoff for the championship. The champion gets an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. Second- and third-place probably result in being shut out of the NCAA Tourney, but will likely earn an invitation to one of three possible lesser-known post-season tournaments.
Harvard has been playing “small ball” with starting center Keith Wright out with an Achilles injury, power forward Pat Magnarelli questionable with a high ankle sprain he sustained in January, and backup power forward Andrew Van Nest out with pneumonia.
Against Cornell’s 7-footer Jeff Foote, once again the tallest players available for Harvard will be 6′7″ Doug Miller and Kyle Casey, with the 6′7″ but green Jeff Georgatos off the bench. Foote dominated against Wright and Van Nest in the first meeting.
Cornell’s been mired in a shooting slump over the past couple of games, but I doubt that will continue. They are due. There’s a chance that Casey’s recent heroics for Harvard will throw Cornell off a little, and maybe their shooters will be too eager to atone for recent brickfests and will ignore the post-ups of Foote, but remember, Cornell has a myriad of weapons and is extremely well-coached. Basically, it doesn’t look good for Harvard and Jeremy Lin.
The good news is, Jeremy’s draft “stock” won’t plummet because he doesn’t have any. The bad news is, he doesn’t have any, much to my great disagreement with these online draft boards (something I will write about in due time). This means that it all boils down to his invitation and potential performance against other NBA hopefuls at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament the week after the Final Four.
He’s already on the radar especially after the UConn performance, the SportsIllustrated piece and making the second-to-last Cousy Award cut, but the conclusion on Jeremy as it pertains to the NBA Draft is currently “wait-and-see”. NBA people already know he can play, but it’s too early to say (or reveal) if expending a 2nd-round pick would be worthwhile for any given NBA franchise.
I would even say that the recent “superficially sub-par” numbers have shown the more attractive side of his NBA potential: that of distributor. As reported in the Harvard Crimson campus newspaper…
“It looks like his point production has dropped, but his effectiveness hasn’t changed any,” Brown coach Jesse Agel said. “As his teammates have developed, he’s had to do less, and he’s done more facilitating, all to the greater good of their team.”
And, as Yahoo/Rivals.com put it in their Ivy League team-by-team report…
Ivy League coaches have four years worth of film on the senior, and the defenses he is seeing now reflect that. Teams are determined not to let Lin beat them with his shot, and he isn’t getting the looks he often saw in nonconference play.
That puts pressure on him to find his teammates, and on those teammates to make opponents pay for mistakes. Against Brown on Feb. 13, Lin was held to a season-low five points and was hounded all over the court, not even getting a shot off in the first half. But he had six second-half assists to lead his team past a pesky Bears squad.
So, it doesn’t really matter until Portsmouth. With the publicity he’s received thus far, an invite to Portsmouth is a virtual lock no matter what he does on the court during the remainder of the season, NCAA bid or not.
The only thing that could derail this path that fate has laid out is if he miraculously topples both Cornell and Princeton in the next three weeks. He has forced fate’s hand before, though.
You might also like:
- There and back again: Coast-to-coast to see Jeremy Lin (3/4)
- Jeremy Lin’s stats plunge
- From deity to defeated: Coast-to-coast to see Jeremy Lin (4/4)
- There and back again: Coast-to-coast to see Jeremy Lin (2/4)
- Portsmouth prospecting: the assist machine Jeremy Lin
- Jeremy Lin heads to “The Heart of High Country”
- Meet Mr. Crunch-Time: Jeremy Lin
- Portsmouth prospecting: Jeremy Lin’s hidden numbers