Jeremy Lin is the surprise of the year in the NBA. Who could have possibly seen the undrafted Knicks point guard becoming a star?
Well, one person did. And his name is Ed Weiland.
Two years ago, Weiland wrote the following for the website Hoops Analyst: "Jeremy Lin might be the #2 PG available in this draft. If he can get the passing thing down and handle the point, Jeremy Lin is a good enough player to start in the NBA and possibly star."
Weiland is not exactly Mel Kiper, Jr. He's not even Jay Bilas. He's closer to Jonah Hill's character in Moneyball -- a little-known numbers expert who sees talent way beyond dimensions and demographics. You'll never hear Ed Weiland touting a player simply because he's "long" or has a huge wingspan.
At least he knows it: "I thought Jeremy Lin would be a good guy to start with," Weiland wrote in 2010, "because he’s the one player I probably differ on with the rest of the draft pundits by the biggest margin."
What was his reasoning? Two statistical categories: Two-point field goal percentage and something called RSB40. Weiland explains that a high score in both categories "shows dominance at the college level on both ends of the court."
Other NBA players who have high marks in both include: Andre Miller, Jason Kidd, Gary Payton, Allen Iverson, Steve Francis, Penny Hardaway and Rajon Rondo.
Weiland explains that Lin's Harvard background hurt his draft prospects because most experts never watched him play. But Weiland noticed Lin averaged 23.3 points per game in a three-game stretch against UConn, Boston College and Georgetown. That sold him.
Did Weiland get lucky? Perhaps. But note his other sleeper pick in 2010 was Landry Fields, who was also a big Knicks surprise and made the NBA's All-Rookie First Team. The only think Weiland might have been wrong about was putting Lin second. Right now, the Harvard grad is arguably ahead of top pick John Wall.
So here's to a well-deserved moment in the sun, Mr. Weiland. Oh, and by the way, Brad Pitt's on Line 1.
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