They are calling it Linsanity, and media outlets are falling over themselves trying to cover New York Knicks point guard sensation Jeremy Lin. One of the reasons he has been playing so well is that he does just play, and has not let the hype affect him in a negative way. But nine games into what is a fantastic run, the Linsanity continues to grow, and the much abused Knick fans are really starting to believe. But can the kid keep it up, and more importantly, can Linput a moribund Knicks team in the playoffs? Well let’s take a look.
There are a lot of things to like about the kid’s game, and the strong mindset that Lin brings to the court. But the scrutiny he is under could potentially become a negative burden, and people seem to be overlooking a mounting turnover total that would set records over the course of a full season.
One of the interesting things about Lin is that he is listed at 6’3, but several NBA scouts seem to think he may be slightly taller. Interesting, as usually height is blown up. At 6’3 he has good size for an NBA point guard. Though not a freakish athlete, he has shown some quickness and a good ability to create when he is driving in the lane, so the physical tools are there.
Though the turnovers are a concern, a lot of turnover prone players at times start to shut down – it is a true testament to Lin that despite turning the ball over, he keeps on playing, distributing and putting the ball up. Really it is an attribute of great players that they continue to play and do not dwell on their last mistake. Sure he needs to cut down on turnovers, but I like the way he does not dwell on them and he continues to look to be the playmaker.
One of the things that popped up this week – a newscast looking for holes in his game mentioned ‘Chink in the Armor’ and it was a runaway news item because of the racial slur. This is just stupid. Sure the term ‘holes in his game’ could have been used, but ‘chink in the armor’ is a perfectly acceptable way of describing someone’s shortcomings. This type of media frenzy has not affected Lin much, as he continues to sit in the maelstrom and take it all in without it messing with his game.
But the Knicks are still not a good team. Carmelo Anthony will be back, which will affect the chemistry a bit. Additionally, veteran point guard Baron Davis will be available soon, and until Lin’s emergence it was Davis who was to be the franchise savior.
But my problem with the Knicks is the same as it was before Lin’s emergence. The problem is coach Mike D’Antoni, whose short rotations and difficulty meshing the talent on this team have been apparent all year. This will only get worse with a full roster. I called for D’Antoni’s head earlier in the year, and I still call for it. I would not allow the emergence of a solid young player save D’Antoni.
D’Antoni is literally stupid enough to bench Lin and play Davis when he is available. The minute he submits a starting lineup without Lin this year, he should get his walking papers.
Perhaps Lin has helped lift the team from a potential lottery pick into the playoffs, but with the current coach and philosophy, they are still no where near a title contender. And it is fair to wait on a final judgement of Lin to see how he plays in the playoffs, where defenses are much tighter.