Lin the Knick of time

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After the season the New York Knicks have been having, the emergence of Jeremy Lin couldn’t have come at a better time. Both Carmelo Anthony and Amare’ Stoudemire are out and the Knicks were already pretty far back in the standings even when those two were in the lineup but Lin is showing how important a good point guard is to Mike D’Antoni’s offense.

Having a point guard that can run the pick-and-roll, push the ball in transition and break down the defense with penetration makes the game so much easier on the other four guys on the floor. If you don’t believe me then watch the last three games Lin has started.

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Then go back and watch the last three games Anthony and Stoudemire played together. Knicks’ players do a lot of standing around, no one is sure what to do with the ball and there are virtually no fast break points. Anthony does a decent job of distributing the ball but the offense becomes stagnant the more Anthony has the ball in his hands.

So where did Mr. Lin come from? Lin was not drafted coming out of Harvard but Donnie Nelson of the Dallas Mavericks was intrigued enough with Lin’s game to offer him an invitation to play in the Maverick’s Summer League team.

Lin made the most of his opportunity and really turned heads when he outplayed rookie John Wall when the two went head-to-head during a Summer League game. Lin would receive offers from four teams but would choose to sign with his hometown team the Golden State Warriors. That ended up not being a very smart move since he would see little playing time on a guard heavy roster that featured both Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry.

Lin played two stints in the NBA Developmental League last year then would be waived by the Warriors during the offseason so the Warriors would have enough room to make a run at DeAndre Jordan. The Houston Rockets would claim Lin off waivers only to waive him again when they signed Samuel Dalembert. Lin would finally find a home when the Knicks claimed him off waivers on December 12th of last year.

Things this season hadn’t been much different than last season as Lin found very little time early on. Rookie Iman Shumpert was playing well and so was Toney Douglas which meant very little minutes were left for Lin. Despite the Knick’s poor record, Lin would once again be sent down to play in the NBADL on January 18th.

But something happened during Lin’s third stint to the D-League. A frustrated Lin would drop a triple double on the Maine Red Claws just three days into his D-League assignment. The Knicks would call him back up three days later.

D’Antoni was still hesitant to play Lin despite the slumping play of Shumpert. Lin would play a total of 39 minutes during the first seven games after being recalled from the D-League. Then Lin would come off the bench to spark the Knicks to a win over the New Jersey Nets. In 36 minutes off the bench, Lin would score 25 points and dish seven assists while adding five rebounds and two steals.

Next game Lin would be inserted as the starter and he would reward his team with 28 points, eight assists, two steals and most importantly another win. Then on Wednesday night he would continue his stellar play by scoring 23 points and adding ten assists against John Wall, the guy he made his name off of in the 2010 Summer League. Oh yeah, the Knicks would win that game also.

So is Lin a fluke? His numbers will definitely drop when Anthony and Stoudemire come back and the Knicks face stiffer competition than the Nets or the Washington Wizards but for the most part Lin has a game that is tailor-made for this offense. If nothing else he has proven that he is a better option than any of the other point guards they currently have on the roster.

Roosevelt Hall is an NBA Featured Journalist for The Sports Blitz. You can also follow him on Twitter @sportmentalist.

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