How to stop Jeremy Lin

Debby Wong - US Presswire

New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin (17) dribbles the ball during the second half against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.With Jeremy Lin exploding onto the NBA scene, opponents must now determine how to defend him on isolation plays and the pick-and-roll, the two situations he has been most dangerous in this season.

In one-on-one scenarios, opponents would be wise to force Lin to his left. He has driven right on 72.4 percent of isolation drives this season, and he is much more successful going that direction, scoring 1.14 points per play to his right, compared to 1.00 points per play when driving left.

Isolation Drives by Direction
Jeremy Lin This Season

Regardless of direction, Lin will likely look to reach the hoop in these instances. In 35 isolation plays, he has pulled up for a jumper only seven times, making two shots.

The best way to defend Lin in isolation appears to be sagging off him to allow a pull-up jumper, or forcing him to his left as he drives.

Lin’s specialty has been the pick-and-roll, where he has scored more than 44 percent of his points this season. His sample size is admittedly small, but no player in the NBA has been better at going away from the screen on pick-and-roll plays. He scores 1.57 points per play in that scenario, just ahead of Kevin Durant, who is second with 1.55 points per play.

Pick-and-Roll by Court Position
Jeremy Lin This Season

When he does use the screen, Lin drives to the basket exactly half the time, but he is only shooting 39.1 percent when he uses the pick, as opposed to 69.2 percent when he goes away from the screen.

Lin is also most effective scoring off pick-and-rolls on the left side of the court, at 1.33 points per play, which ranks second in the league. He’s much farther down the list running pick-and-rolls in the middle of the court (0.98 points per play, 24th in NBA) and on the right side (1.06 points per play, 27th in NBA).

In summary, the ideal way to slow Linsanity on the pick-and-roll appears to be forcing him toward the screen and to keep him away from the left side of the court, where space opens up for him to drive with his dominant right hand.