Linsanity, Super Lintendo, Linderella, The Linspiration — his nicknames have been the recent topic of debate, but there’s no arguing the magnitude of Jeremy Lin’s recent performance for the New York Knicks.
The Knicks had no life heading into Saturday’s game against cross-river rivals New Jersey Nets. The pulse of the fans was low. Lin went to the scorer’s table and checked into the game. He became the defibrillator and revived this ball club. Since then, the Knicks have kept “Linning.”
Over the last five contests, Harvard graduate and NBA afterthought Lin has come out of nowhere in the truest sense of the expression. The Knicks could not find him on their own bench a week and a half ago and now he has essentially become the point guard of the future. The New York area has become enamored with his gutsy, fearless play and his quiet leadership. “Linsanity” has taken over, not only in Madison Square Garden, but every arena he steps in.
This sort of swift-moving phenomena occurred in recent New York sports memory. Back in 2007, a hard-throwing Yankees reliever by the name of Joba Chamberlain captured the hearts and minds of Bombers fans during that season. Lin has had that same effect. Within one day of his monster 38-point performance against the vaunted Lakers, his jersey and “Linsanity” shirts were made available for purchase at the Garden, online and at stores.
The potential caveat for Lin, as discussed by the experts and fans alike, could be the return of Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. With the return of those two, the Knicks will continue to thrive. With a true point guard to effectively run the Mike D’Antoni offense, Melo will not have to hold the ball in isolation anymore, which has been a problem so far this season. Since Stat is a pick-and-roll player, not having a point guard who could effectively execute the play has greatly affected his offensive production this year. Lin, who runs the pick-and-roll to perfection as proven by Tyson Chandler’s recent offensive output, will help Stat be the offensive force he was during the pre-Melo days.
It’s evident Lin has not only pumped up the fanbase, but he also has his teammates excited. Landry Fields has put up big numbers since Lin’s insertion into the starting lineup. Steve Novak, a role-player, has been getting open looks. Bill Walker has been playing increasingly better.
Chandler has been the biggest benefactor though. He and Lin run the pick-and-roll so well and that has boosted his offensive numbers.
Lin has done what no NBA player has ever done. He scored 89 points in his first four games in his career. Michael Jordan never did that, neither did Kobe Bryant nor Lebron James. Is that stat a prophecy of things to come? Who knows? Jeremy Lin is already a legend.
NOTE: On VaLINtine’s Day, Jeremy Lin showed that he loved us Knicks fans by hitting a game-winning three-pointer with half a second left against the Toronto Raptors. That should be a sign of great things to come.