Lin's Turnovers Create a Minor Linterruption to Linsanity

Published by Juliet Spies-Gans on February 16, 2012 at 10:12PM

Since the New York Knicks’ game against the New Jersey Nets on Feb. 4, it seems that no one can stop Jeremy Lin ’10.

That is, no one except Lin himself.

While all the buzz has been about Lin’s record setting scoring, points aren’t his only stat that has shot up. In his first five starts, the Harvard alum recorded 30 turnovers—a number that sets the record for most turnovers in a player’s first five starts since the NBA/ABA Merger.

On Wednesday night, when his Knicks took on the Sacramento Kings, the turnover streak continued as he committed six on the night. Proportionally, how bad is this? Well, he alone accounted for 33% of his team’s turnovers. Some of this can be attributed to his position, true, but if we compare his 36 in the last six games to the stats of other players, it does not look good for the second-year player.

The league’s leader in turnovers, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook, has committed 121 in 28 games. If we take Lin’s current numbers and correlate them to what they would be after 28 games—let’s just say that it would be 47 more than Westbrook, a guy known around the league to leave the ball in the hands of the opponents.

Overall on the season, which includes the games before he was Linsational, Linsane, or even Lincredible, he is averaging 6.4 turnovers per every 48-minute sequence. The guys in front of him on this list are people like Ryan Ried of OKC, for example, who has played four minutes on the season, and committed one turnover during that time, shooting his TOP48 rate up to 12.5. Or Eddy Curry…who is infamous for being, well, Eddy Curry.

If we look through Lin’s game tape, there are a couple obvious reasons why he commits so many turnovers.

Firstly, he often telegraphs his passes all the way through, leaving little doubt for the defenders on which way they should cheat. Secondly, the guy goes to the hoop. A lot. Anytime that happens, there is bound to be some instances where he dribbles it off his foot or tries to force it to a teammate in just too much traffic. The point isn’t that his turnovers are unwarranted, it is that there are just so many of them.

As he plays more and adapts to the highly intense world of being an NBA regular, these mistakes will go down. But for right now, despite his extraordinary play, his turnovers have just been too numerous for this hype to continue for much longer. While his points and assists have been consistently high for the last week and a half, Lin must do something, and fast, if he wants to correct this Linterruption to his quickly-growing legend.