Don't sell on Jeremy Lin yet

Are slow starts of Jeremy Lin, Ersan Ilyasova and Rodney Stuckey permanent?

Updated: November 29, 2012, 12:26 PM ET
By Neil Paine |
Jeremy LinTroy Taormina/US PresswireIs Jeremy Lin playing at his actual level or has adding James Harden actually hurt Lin's game?

We're a month into the 2012-13 NBA season, so it's a good time to analyze players going through slow starts. While a poor first month doesn't mean a whole lot in a sport like, say, baseball, individual stats tend to stabilize more quickly in basketball.

Explanations for poor starts abound, many of the "convenient narrative" variety, but there may be a kernel of truth in each. So what's myth, and what's reality? Is it just a matter of going through an ill-timed slump -- a little bad luck in a small sample? Or is there something real behind the disappointing starts we're seeing from a handful of players thus far?

Let's dig into the numbers and try to solve three slow starts. No one can deny the following players have been performing at a much lower level than we would have expected before the season, especially considering their solid campaigns in 2011-12, but do the casual conclusions and observations used to explain their struggles hold up to scrutiny? Here are three players who most seem to think were hurt by the offseason. But were they really?

Neil Paine writes for FiveThirtyEight, the data-supported sports, politics and culture site coming soon from ESPN.