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Stopping the Linsanity

2/22/2012 - NBA Jeremy Lin New York Knicks + more


How do you game-plan for the unknown? That's the conundrum for
teams facing Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin, who balled in obscurity on
the mean streets of Harvard and the NBA D-League before going all
Tebow on the NBA. Opposing coaches -- many of whom will get their
second look at Lin in March -- are surely parsing game film for the
best way to contain the Knicks' suddenly efficient pick-and-roll. We
asked our coach, ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy, for his prescription for
Linsanity. Here's our man's three-point plan.

1. The Smother
The setup: As Lin [1] dribbles [A] and Amar'e Stoudemire [4]
screens [B] to launch the pick-and-roll, Stoudemire's defender jumps
out to trap Lin [C].

"I would trap Lin hard and trap him early," says Van Gundy, whose
2000-01 Knicks led the league in points allowed. Lin's ability to
extend his dribble is unique, but he's also turnover-prone. Trapping
him high on the pick-and-roll keeps him from his comfort zone in the
open court. According to Synergy Sports, Lin's turnover rate in the
pick-and-roll soars, from 5 percent when single-covered to 22 percent
when the D sends help. "He won't fall apart in a hard trap," Van Gundy
says, "but when a guy's on a roll, you can't let him play with the
ball."