Jeremy Lin is a starting point guard in the NBA. He is one of thirty players who has been deemed talented enough to lead a team’s offense. For better or worse, on a regular basis, he squares off against the likes of Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker and the other top-tier players at his position.
Now, does any of that make him one of the 100 best players in the NBA? Opinions will vary. In the eyes of the good folks at Sports Illustrated, though, it does not.
The new NBA season is more or less around the corner, and that means ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Sporting News and other respected publications will all soon compile their rankings of players/teams based on mostly arbitrary factors that matter to some and not others.
Mind you, nobody who puts these lists together claims to be objective – everyone prioritizes things in their own way. What one writer considers important may not be what another writer considers important. A specific weight on a certain statistical category may be one person’s prerogative, but not another’s.
With that in mind, here is what SI wrote about Lin and how they justified not including him in the top 100:
Jeremy Lin, Houston Rockets (G, 25)
2012-13 stats: 32.2 MPG, 13.4 PPG, 6.1 APG, 3.0 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 44.1 FG%, 33.9 3FG%
2012-13 advanced stats: 14.9 PER, 5.4 Win Shares, +0.4 RAPM
The Man, the Myth, The Linsanity Legend came hurtling back to earth in his first year in Houston. In a rocky 2012-13 season, Lin started slowly, ceded crunch-time minutes on multiple occasions and ended on a whimper because of a chest injury that caused him to miss time during the playoffs. Recapturing his magical run in New York was never really on the table, but Lin admitted that he dealt with sleeplessness and self-doubt as he tried to revise his expectations and make the transition to second fiddle behind James Harden. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is still selling Lin’s upside, citing his point guard’s youth and limited NBA experience. It’s possible that Lin cracks the top 100 in future iterations of this list, but it’s more difficult to envision him as anything more than a slightly above-average starter. — BG
Now that we know Lin didn’t make the list, let’s take a look at the last five people who rounded out the top 100:
100. Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic (C, 22)
2012-13 stats: 33.2 MPG, 13.1 PPG, 11.9 RPG, 1.0 BPG, 51.9 FG%
2012-13 advanced stats: 17.8 PER, 5.7 Win Shares, -0.4 RAPM
99. Jarrett Jack, Cleveland Cavaliers (G, 29)
2012-13 stats: 29.7 MPG, 12.9 PPG, 5.6 APG, 3.1 RPG, 45.2 FG%, 40.4 3FG%
2012-13 advanced stats: 15.9 PER, 5.6 Win Shares, -0.7 RAPM
98. Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks (G/F, 32)
2012-13 stats: 30.5 MPG, 10.9 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 45.7 3FG%
2012-13 advanced stats: 13.9 PER, 6.4 Win Shares, +0.7 RAPM
97. Matt Barnes, Los Angeles Clippers (F, 33)
2012-13 stats: 25.7 MPG, 10.3 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.0 SPG, 46.2 FG%, 34.2 3FG%
2012-13 advanced stats: 15.5 PER, 6.3 Win Shares, +0.9 RAPM
96. Danny Green, San Antonio Spurs (G, 26)
2012-13 stats: 27.5 MPG, 10.5 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 44.8 FG%, 42.9 3FG%
2012-13 advanced stats: 14.1 PER, 5.9 Win Shares, +0.4 RAPM
95. Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns (G, 23)
2012-13 stats: 20.4 MPG, 8.5 PPG, 3.1 APG, 3.0 RPG, 20.4 MPG, 44.5 FG%
2012-13 advanced stats: 17.5 PER, 3.7 Win Shares, +1.7 RAPM
Did Barnes have a more positive impact on the Los Angeles Clippers than Lin did on the Rockets? Using the specific stats that SI decided to use – sure. However, Barnes also played seven fewer minutes per game, was asked to play a much smaller role, had a far more stacked team and didn’t have to play with a guy that forced him to completely re-adjust the way he had played basketball throughout his entire career. Same goes for Danny Green and Eric Bledsoe.
That being said, again, rankings like this never claim to be anything other than what they are: Someone’s idea of how people should be ranked – not a definitive, infallible list that shouldn’t be argued with.