Since the database at basketball-reference.com only allows us to search individual games back to the 1984-85 season, we cannot evaluate Lin's awful 1 for 11 with 8 turnovers game against games played before then (at least not very easily).
So, let's do a few searches, assuming that the game played by the player had to end in a loss. Why? I really do not want to search to find actual accounts of how a guy went 1 for 40 but his team somehow won because he got a key rebound or drew a charge or boxed out a bigger player. If you use only losses, you know the guy did nothing to contribute somehow to a win.
So, if you look here you will see that it is very, very rare to have under 9 points and under 4 assists and yet have 8 turnovers. The only other two guards to accomplish this in losses were Brent Price and jason Williams. Price only played 18 minutes and Williams only played 25 minutes, making their turnover statistics incredibly horrible. Yet Lin managed to log 34 minutes and jacked up way more shots (11 versus 3 or 5). Lin was more productive -- with 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
Going 1 for 11 or worse with 3 assists or fewer and 8 turnovers or more? Never been done by anyone other than Lin. (For some reason they won't let me add my link -- but take my word for it).
OK, so how about guys playing 30+ minutes in a loss and going 1 for 11 or worse with at least 5 turnovers? http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pgl_finder.cgi?request=1&player=&match=game&year_min=&year_max=2012&age_min=0&age_max=99&team_id=&opp_id=&is_playoffs=N&game_num_min=0&game_num_max=99&game_month=&game_location=&game_result=L&is_starter=&is_active=&is_hof=&pos_is_g=Y&pos_is_gf=Y&c1stat=mp&c1comp=gt&c1val=30&c2stat=tov&c2comp=gt&c2val=5&c3stat=fg&c3comp=lt&c3val=1&c4stat=fga&c4comp=gt&c4val=11&order_by=pts
There have been some truly, truly great stinkers. You would have to say that Kidd and Alston were better (many more assists). Latrell had 11 rebounds. I think a good pro-Lin argument could be made that his game last night was better than Miller's, Rhodes, and Drew's.
The worst game on the list? I think a very good argument can be made that Dwyane Wade's effort in a November 22, 2010 loss to Indiana is right at the very top. He played 38 minutes, shot 1 of 13, made only 1 of 5 free throws, had 5 assists and scored only 3 points while turning it over 5 times. Wade must also be docked for the fact that he played so piss poor despite his tremendous physical talent.
Jeremy Lin just played a game ranking among the bottom 7 in the last 26 years for a guard playing in a loss.
The worst 7 (from best to worst)
7 -- Lin (aided by the fact that no one has ever had 8 turnovers or more while also going 1 for 11 or worse).
6 -- Andre Miller March 27, 2004 -- 1 of 15, 7 turnovers, 7 points
5 -- Rodrick Rhodes -- January 19, 1998 -- 1 of 11, 6 turnovers, very few positive stats
4 -- Larry Drew -- April 22, 1990 -- 1 of 16, 6 turnovers, 5 assists and 5 rebounds, only 4 points
3 -- Jason Williams December 6, 2002 -- 8 turnovers, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 points
2 - Dwyane Wade November 22, 2010 -- Wade shot under 8% from the floor, 0% from 3, 20% from the line, and put up 3 total points in 38 minutes. He also turned it over 5 times. The Heat, at home, lost to Indiana by 16 points despite good games from James and Bosh. Wade narrowly avoids the worst spot because he did have 4 steals+blocks and his 5 turnovers were offset by an equal number of assist.
1 -- Brent Price -- 0 assists and 8 turnovers in 18 minutes, no assists means his assist to turnover ratio was 0, turnovers to assists was undefined and he would average an infinite number of turnovers before getting an assist. Had he played Lin's 34 minutes, he would have had over 15 turnovers and still no assists at the pace he was going.