The New York Knicks needed a point guard to lead their star-studded lineup. Proof of this was their 8-15 start to a season of high expectations. Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony weren’t playing well together, and Toney Douglas was doing everything that he was expected not to do. Baron Davis wasn’t coming back from injuries and kept on facing set backs. Head coach Mike D’Antoni was on the verge of being fired.
Then comes a 6-foot-3 man by the name of Jeremy Lin.
After four stints with the D-League and being cut by two teams (Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets), Lin joined the Knicks as the last man on the roster, but has played sensational to the point where he’s the starting point guard.
In the four games Lin has played legit minutes for the Knicks, he’s averaged around 25 points a game, seven assists, and three rebounds. The team is 4-0 and hasn’t played with stars Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony during this span. He’s taken over Madison Square Garden by storm, having people chanting “MVP” when he takes free throws.
People have been in love with this guy since he first came off the bench against the New Jersey Nets on Feb. 4. There have been many nicknames for him (Linsanity, Linning, all he does is Lin, etc.) and even being compared to Denver Broncos QB Tim Tebow. Sports Illustrated has already claimed Lin is one of the greatest undrafted players who ever played the game.
It might be early to say this, but I believe this “Linsanity” as most people call it now is here to stay for a while, and it might get bigger with the return of Stoudemire and Anthony.
Jeremy Lin has been a stud at every level of the game before he hit the NBA.
On his high school team, Palo Alto High School in California, he was a senior captain and led his team to a 32-1 record, including a big upset win over nationally ranked Mater Dei 51-47 to claim a CIF Division II title. Lin was named first-team All-State and Northern California Division II player of the year.
His legend would only grow at Harvard University. During his sophomore season, Lin averaged 12.6 points per game and was named All-Ivy League Second Team. Junior year, Lin was the only player in NCAA Division I men’s basketball to be top 10 in the conference for shooting, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and three-point shot percentage. He finished his career as the only player in Ivy League history to record at least 1,450 points, 450 rebounds, 400 assists, and 200 steals.
The reason why he went undrafted and got cut by two teams is because the depth of that position and systems the teams ran. The Golden State Warriors have enough guard depth in Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis, so there was no need for his services. The Houston Rockets needed a center more than a guard, and had Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin already. They released Lin to sign center Samuel Dalembert.
Lin has excelled with the Knicks thanks to the system Mike D’Antoni runs, rather known as the “run and gun.” This system runs off a lot of pick and rolls, and needs a point guard with speed and ability to see the floor. He’s another version of Steve Nash, where he’s extremely fast off the dribble and can shoot but lacks defense.
During his short tenure as the Knicks starting point guard, he has outplayed players like Deron Williams, Devon Harris, John Wall, and Kobe Bryant. If that doesn’t stand out to you, then I don’t know what will.
People have been critical of Anthony and Stoudemire killing the team’s chemistry during their first 23 games of the season. The problem is Carmelo Anthony isn’t a point guard, and D’Antoni forced this upon him before the season started. Both Anthony and Stoudemire are shoot-first players, and they needed a point guard to evenly dish out to both players.
Lin is going to make this team a lot better. If you don’t remember in Pheonix, Nash and Stoudemire complimented each other very well. This will reflect in New York for years to come. With Anthony buying into the fact to pass the ball more, he’ll get his amount of touches and still be a big factor.
Right now, the Knicks are Linning without their stars. When Stoudemire and Anthony come back, the Knicks might be Linning the NBA Finals.