As Kemba Walker continues his tear for the surging Charlotte Hornets, Jeremy Lin continues to struggle shooting the ball. It’s important to note what Lin’s doing for Charlotte, because he remains an important factor on a Hornets squad headed for the playoffs. Note that Lin’s current shooting woes aren’t keeping him from getting off shots — in just 22 minutes Lin was fourth on the Hornets in shot attempts during the team’s 122-113 victory over the Pelicans. Lin shot just 3-of-10, but — again importantly for the playoffs — got to the line six times and shot 100% there. Lin’s ability to penetrate and get to the line will become more important in the playoffs, where those points and the foul trouble he can cause will be at a premium.
Lin also committed no turnovers against New Orleans, another important playoff factor as possessions are critical in deep playoff runs. Lin plays two different roles for Charlotte now. When the team goes small Lin can be on the floor with Walker — a tandem Steve Clifford was decidedly more excited about before the season began. But Lin’s role as the backup point guard becomes even more important as Walker shoulders more of Charlotte’s scoring load. Walker is shooting at a high percentage and Charlotte needs the minutes he’s not on the floor to be productive so Walker can be fresh when he’s in there. It’s a different kind of Lin-Walker tandem than Clifford spoke about in the preseason, but just as critical. If Lin raises his FG% just a bit, you’re seeing 16 points in 22 minutes. That makes Charlotte really dangerous.