Jeremy Lin Should Start at Shooting Guard for the Charlotte Hornets

During the off-season, the Charlotte Hornets made a lot of noise with their acquisitions of some big name players like Jeremy Lin, Jeremy Lamb, and Nicolas Batum. The team was set to have a strong support of wing players but on major injury changed that very fast for the Hornets and has forced them to rethink their tactics going froward.

The Charlotte Hornets are facing many difficult questions since the Michael Kidd-Gilchirst injury. With the injury to MKG, the team has beenn forced to change their starting line-up from their original plans. The team’s original starters were set to be Kemba, Batum at shooting guard, MKG, and Al Jefferson with the only questing being the power forward position but the MKG injury has obviously created more questions and unsolved problems for the team going forward.

The Charlotte Hornets will now be forced to move Batum to the small forward position which he was familiar with because that was his position while he was in Portland. But now the questions arises as to who is going to start for the team at shooting guard? 

Many thought at first that it would be Jeremy lamb who was acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder over the off-season. The original plan was to have a strong offensive bench with Lamb and Lin coming off of the bench but now the team is forced to go in another direction. Lamb was first inserted as the team’s shooting guard when MKG went down and even started a preseason game for the Charlotte Hornets. He hasn’t quite lived up to what the team might expect out of a starting shooting guard. He has played well though don’t get me wrong just not as well as a starting shooting guard should.

When the Charlotte Hornets first signed Jeremy Lin they thought that he would come off of the bench and be the Charlotte Hornet’s sixth man and back-up point guard. He would have likely seen a lot of minutes each night and commanded the second unit. He would have also gotten playing time alongside the starters.

Head coach, Steve Clifford, envisioned playing Lin alongside Kemba and have a two point guard set at some points during games. That may now be the team’s reality going forward. Not just sometimes but it may be the team’s best starting line-up with Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin both starting.

Lin has played great off of the bench for the team as their sixth man and back up point guard so far this preseason. He has looked faster than ever and his shooting, passing, defending, and decision-making are on point as well. In the team’s second preseason game in Shanghai, China, Lin actually started as the team’s starting shooting guard. He played good once again.

Throughout the preseason, Jeremy Lin is leading the team in scoring at 14.0 points per game, third on the team with 3.2 assists per game, and third in minutes with 24.1 per game, while shooting 52% from the field, and 50% from the three-point line. Lin has played great so far during the preseason and has built a strong case for himself to be inserted into the starting line-up as the everyday starting shooting guard.

The obvious concern would be on the defensive side of the ball because of the mismatches that it would create against other guards in the NBA. Kemba Walker is already a smaller point guard at 6’1″ and Jeremy Lin is only 6’3″. Many of the shooting guard in the NBA could be anywhere from 6’4″ to 6’7″ and they are much bigger than Walker or Lin. This could create a mismatch on both sides of the ball. If the Charlotte Hornets could play solid team defense and also defend the post and paint well enough then the mismatches created from this line-up shouldn’t hurt them too bad.

Lin is not a bad defender and neither is Walker. They could hold their own on the perimeter and every other Charlotte Hornets’ starter has good enough individual defense and help defense so the mismatches shouldn’t be too much of a problem. There aren’t any huge issues with the starting line-up with Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin going forward.

Another part to the argument would be if Lin starts then who would be the backup point guard for the team off of the bench?

Brian Roberts has played great over the course of the preseason so far and soared past original expectations. He was set to be the team’s third string point guard but with how well he has looked and how good he has played he may be in the conversation for the team’s back up point guard now.

Roberts has averaged 11.2 points per game and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 62% from the field during the preseason so far.

If the Charlotte Hornets want to make this move of moving Jeremy Lin to the starting line-up, it might benefit the team as a whole. Jeremy Lamb would be able to move back to the bench where he was going to come from all along and he might be more comfortable. It would also give Brian Roberts way more minutes than he probably would’ve seen. And it would give the Hornets an interesting and unpredictable starting five.

It could be related to what the Phoenix Suns are doing and what the have done with their two smaller guard line-ups.

The Suns would run two point guard together like Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. Both were primarily point guard and on the smaller end of the spectrum but they managed to work well together and cause many problem for team’s facing them.

Charlotte Hornets beat writer, Rick Bonnell, of the Charlotte Observer said on ESPN730 that “Jeremy Lin has played so well.. they started him at SG.. worked well.. Kemba, Jeremy & Batum makes them unpredictable.”

It does make them unpredictable and they have looked very well together. This could solve the problem for the Charlotte Hornets about who should start at shooting guard and it would solve the problem about their wing depth coming off of the bench because Jeremy Lamb could return to the bench and be a solid sixth man.

It is unclear if this is a thought of the team yet but they should be strongly considering it. It could be the answer to a lot of their problems going forward. It will be difficult at times but it could also work in the Charlotte Hornets favor and propel them into playoff position this season.

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