Before the 2011-12 season began, no one in the basketball world thought a Harvard alum named Jeremy Lin would become the Tim Tebow-like figure in the NBA.
And no one in their right mind thought the New York Knicks would let their media darling slip between their fingers. Well, as of Tuesday’s 10:59 p.m. CST deadline to sign the offer sheet by the Houston Rockets, the Knicks did exactly that.
Lin is now a $25.1 million man, not as a Knick, but as a Rocket.
My immediate reaction to this was “Oh wow”.
“Linsanity” brought something to New York that wasn’t in Madison Square Garden for quite some time. The phenomenon brought energy, excitement and a sense of a winning culture in the near future that wasn’t around when the Knicks traded for superstar Carmelo Anthony during the previous season.
When Anthony was signed it was, awesome, they have a superstar who is going to score a lot of points, but not play much defense. Lin brought a new dynamic to the team in the form of a point guard who could make plays for Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire to score points and not look like stationary figures with the basketball while the rest of the team stood around looking like clowns.
Lin seemed to be the answer for the Knicks to make Stoudemire and Anthony coexist on the same team. The “Asian Sensation” didn’t need to be the main man on the team to be a very impressive contributor. He scored when needed, but more importantly, keep an often stagnant New York offense moving.
Sure, he was a new face that the media blew up to an unseen level, except for the NFL’s and the New York Jets’ Tim Tebow. Let’s not get it twisted, Lin is not the second coming of the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose or the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul.
On the other hand, even in the media’s over exaggeration, he is an up and coming point guard who can play in the NBA. His numbers in the two week peak of “Linsanity” were unmatched by anyone except for legendary, Hall of Fame members.
This is why I don’t understand the Knicks treatment of the situation. The Knicks James Dolan deserves every bit of criticism he will endure for this dumb decision. I wonder if the team is thinking of rehiring Isiah Thomas? At least he had motives behind his bad moves.
Instead of resigning Lin, who could have a very high ceiling, the Knicks signed 39-year-old Jason Kidd and made a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers for Raymond Felton.
I am a huge fan of Kidd, but not the old man version. He is a first ballot Hall of Fame selection who should be spending time with his family while he waits the five years to officially be inducted. He should not sign a 3-year contract with the Knicks. I don’t blame Kidd because ball players want to play ball and human beings want to make money; the blame of the bad signing goes to Dolan and the Knicks.
Felton is a good player. At this point in their careers, Lin and the former-Trail Blazer are about the same player. However, when Lin was putting up insane numbers, his ceiling didn’t show a sign of being taller than Felton’s but presented a possibility of a 10-floor extension.
In seven NBA seasons, Felton averages 13.4 points (with a high of 17.1 as a Knick for 54 games during the 2010-11 season), 6.7 assists, 1.4 steals, 3.3 rebounds and 41% shooting from the field in 34 minutes per game.
Lin has played in 64 games (29 with the Golden State Warriors during his rookie season) over two seasons with averages of 9.2 points (14.6 last season), four assists, 1.4 steals, 2.2 rebounds and 45% shooting from the field in 19 minutes per game.
If Lin had the same amount of experience as Felton, I believe his averages would be better than the longer tenured NBA player.
We’ve seen what Lin can do with opportunity. He had the whole country, maybe even the entire world, believing in Linsanity for quite some time. A good month of people patting an unknown player on the back for sensational play is a vast achievement in a sports world where only so many people “make it”.
At the same time, his highs came against below average point guards, defenses and overall teams while his lows came against the cream of the crop in the NBA.
Lin is only a two-year player and has plenty of time to show he wasn’t a two month sensation and can repeat his miracles. This time in another conference, time zone and on a different team with less scoring options.
New York better hope Felton continues to play like an above average point guard and Lin plays at a Lin-level, not at Linsanity. Otherwise, this move will be added to the long list of horrible decisions linked to Dolan and the Knicks.