Up until Feb.4, the New York Knicks were floundering at 8-15 and their two high-priced superstars, Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, were NOT developing any kind of team chemistry for their Madison Square Garden fans. Then, Stoudemire went on bereavement leave following the death of his brother and Melo went down with a groin strain. Up from the end of the Knicks bench and his brother’s sofa has rose Jeremy Lin, and nothing in the Big Apple has been the same since.
The Knicks went on a five-game (and counting as of writing this blog) winning streak, with the 6’-3” Lin leading the way from the point guard position. Averaging 39 minutes, 26.8 points, eight assists, five rebounds and two steals a game, the Knicks are now scoring and passing more as a team, and giving up fewer points too. Lin’s week was good enough to be awarded the Eastern Conference’s Player of the Week. In fact, he’s had the greatest start of any NBA career in the last 36 years. Nobody, I mean nobody, saw this coming! Why? Well let’s see…..Lin received no basketball scholarships out of high school and was undrafted out of college (he graduated from Harvard with an economics degree and a 3.1 GPA). He was waived twice by NBA teams (Golden State and Houston) and got demoted to the NBA’s Developmental League four times….playing for the likes of the Reno Bighorns and Erie Bayhawks. His unbelievable perseverance and hard work have paid off. When the guy finally got his chance though, he has delivered-BIG time!
His confidence on the court, especially after getting rejected so often in the past, is what is truly remarkable. Lin is one of only three players from Harvard to ever play in the NBA (the other two each lasted only one season). He is also the very first American-born Chinese player in NBA history……..the “Jackie Robinson of American-Asian NBA players”! It is unconscionable that for the most part Lin’s basketball savvy was unrecognized by NBA talent scouts. His former Harvard coach says, “He knows what to do with the big stage”, and Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni (whose job was probably saved by Lin’s play) says, “I have never seen anything like this. What he’s doing is amazing”. What’s most mind-blowing is that when Stoudemire ($18.2M/yr) and Anthony ($18.5M) finally return, THEY will have to fit into Jeremy Lin’s ($762K-the NBA min. salary) Knicks! I can see Stoudemire flourishing under this same kind of up-tempo, passing offense D’Antoni ran with him and Steve Nash in Phoenix. Melo, on the other hand, cannot continue to hold the ball and throw up shots. Otherwise, he’ll soon be on the outside looking L-in. With Carmelo Anthony, it’s always been all about him….at Syracuse and in Denver. He’s too concerned about getting his shots. That will all have to change if the Knicks are to continue this resurgence in the Mecca of basketball!
Interestingly, all the Lin-sanity began AFTER the NBA All-Star game voting and other player invites took place. NBA Commissioner David Stern will no doubt have to creatively find some way for Lin to participate Feb. 26 weekend and give the fans what they want. Perhaps a special request to play in the “Rising Stars Challenge” game?
Two Knick games should have marked your calendars… the Feb. 19 vs. Dallas game at the Garden, and the Feb. 23 match in Miami. Can’t wait to see what Labron and the gang will do to try and stop Lin’s team. By then, both superstars will be back in the fold and “adjusting” to the new style of play. The NBA is always better when Knick fans and Spike Lee are excited about basketball again. Keep the Lin-sanity rolling!
- Jeremy Lin: 4 Reasons the New York Knicks PG Will Be an NBA All-Star Next Season (bleacherreport.com)
- Miami Heat contains Jeremy Lin, defeats New York Knicks – MiamiHerald.com (miamiherald.com)
Filed under: Pro Basketball
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