The Evolution of a Point Guard
By HOWARD BECK
ORLANDO — The most captivating strand of the Jeremy Lin mystique is that he came from nowhere, emerging overnight to become a star, after being underestimated and overlooked, disregarded by college coaches, ignored in the N.B.A. draft and waived twice in two weeks.
The narrative is well-established, factual in its broadest strokes and altogether flawed, or at least woefully incomplete.
Jeremy Lin’s rise did not begin, as the world perceived it, with a 25-point explosion at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 4. It began with lonely 9 a.m. workouts in downtown Oakland in the fall of 2010; with shooting drills last summer on a backyard court in Burlingame, Calif.; and with muscle-building sessions at a Menlo Park fitness center.
It began with a reworked jump shot, a thicker frame, stronger legs, a sharper view of the court — enhancements that came gradually, subtly, through study and practice and hundreds of hours spent with assistant coaches, trainers and shooting instructors over 18 months.
Quite simply, the Jeremy Lin who revived the Knicks, stunned the N.B.A. and charmed the world — the one who is averaging 22.4 points and 8.8 assists as a starter — is not the Jeremy Lin who went undrafted out of Harvard in June 2010. He is not even the same Jeremy Lin who was cut by the Golden State Warriors on Dec. 9.
Beyond the mystique and the mania lies a more basic story — of perseverance, hard work and self-belief.
“He’s in a miracle moment, where everything has come together,” said Keith Smart, the Sacramento Kings coach, who was Lin’s coach with the Warriors last season.
Smart can hardly recognize his former pupil these days. Nor can Eric Musselman, who coached Lin in the N.B.A. Development League for 20 games. Nor can Lamar Reddicks, a former Harvard assistant coach, who fondly remembers a freshman-year Lin as “the weakest guy on the team.”
“I look at him on TV now,” Reddicks said, “and I’m like, I can’t imagine that he’s this big!”
What scouts saw in the spring of 2010 was a smart passer with a flawed jump shot and a thin frame, who might not have the strength and athleticism to defend, create his own shot or finish at the rim in the N.B.A. The evolution began from there. ...
Yet an outside shot would not be enough. Lin needed to be able to consistently convert shots in the lane. And to do that, he needed to withstand the contact.
On Scheppler’s advice, Lin sought out Phil Wagner, a physician and trainer who owns Sparta Performance Science in Menlo Park. Wagner saw a player with enviable athleticism, but who lacked the explosiveness of an elite N.B.A. player.
“Most basketball players can create force very quickly,” Wagner said, referring to a player jumping off the floor. “Jeremy couldn’t.”
He compared Lin to a stretched-out rubber band — flexible, but lacking that snap-back quality. The goal was to make him “stiffer,” through a training program of heavy weights and low repetition, in conjunction with a high-protein diet. With the added muscle, Lin pushed his weight to 212 pounds from 200, while increasing his vertical leap by 3.5 inches, Wagner said. The result is evident every time Lin barrels into the lane this season.
“The biggest thing I see is when he gets intro traffic, he’s able to maintain his direction and his balance, because he’s stronger,” Wagner said, adding, “He’s a physical guard. That’s where I see his hard work and the program he did with us paying off.”
It's a turn-around jump shot
It's everybody jump start
It's every generation throws a hero up the pop charts
Medicine is magical and magical is art
The Boy in the Bubble
And the baby with the baboon heart
And I believe...
These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long distance call
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all