by Mike Cannon
The sudden popularity of 23 year old New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin has gotten out of control and gained national attention. The undrafted guard out of Harvard is surprising everyone with his basketball IQ and quickness to the hoop. Him dropping 38 on the Lakers showed everyone he can ball. As a Knicks fan, I couldn’t be more thrilled. All year they have been lacking at point guard and they finally got one. It also may have been the spark the Knicks needed from someone to get them going. With Lin playing, the Knicks have now won 5 in a row, and most of those games were without stars Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony to work with.
Lin seems to be the definition of someone who takes advantage of chances that are given to him. It seems he has been underestimated his whole career. Lin couldn’t even get an athletic scholarship coming out of high school! He starred at Harvard and then went undrafted. I first noticed him after this ridiculous shot. He only signed a partial contract with the Warriors because it was near his hometown growing up. And let’s be honest, him being the first Asian-American NBA player might have something to do with him not getting the fair shot right away just from a perception level. But he can play, he tore it up in college, he did great in the summer league. He was sent down to the NBDL for one game and got a triple-double. The guy needed a chance. Finally, almost as a last desperate attempt, D’Antoni gave him a shot and Lin shined, ultimately saving D’Antoni’s job. The story in itself is just unbelievable, and it’s so rare for this to happen in basketball. It really is just fun to watch and you can’t help but feel happy for him. He was living on his brother’s couch before this.
What’s working for the Knicks and Lin is pretty obvious. It’s D’Antoni’s system. His offensive schemes rely heavily on point guard play, but the right fit in the system can make anyone’s job at point guard much easier. Lin is great at driving to the hoop and making plays, he knows the pick and roll well and makes smart passes underneath. He’s a natural point guard. He also isn’t afraid to take a shot when needed. I would say his one weakness right now is his ability to be consistent with his outside shot, but things like that are fixable and can be improved. I think he is here to stay. Lin is not Chris Paul or Derick Rose. Don’t let that fool you. But he doesn’t have to score 38 points every night, nor even 25, just be a solid guard who they can rely on for a scoring and passing option every night. It’s something they’ve lacked all year, and they finally have got it.
What’s also working is that his name is so god damn punnable. “LINsanity” “LINning,” LINcredible, “the missing LINk”, etc. have all been puns given to him this past week, and I’m sure they won’t stop any time soon. It will be interesting to see how this turns out and how he can work with Stoudemire and Melo, but for now just sit back and let the Jeremy Lin madness continue.