It’s no secret that I love the sport of basketball. Raised in Indiana, it is in my blood. Some of the best high school and college players come from this state. Unfortunately, I have a dire hatred for the NBA. The product is terrible and the concept of team is non-existant. It is a league full of ego and self-centeredness. One only has to look at how Lebron James handled his free agency to see that.
So while I go out of my way to avoid watching ESPN’s SportsCenter and seeing only NBA highlights while two major sports are currently going on, it is impossible to miss the impact that Jeremy Lin is having on not only the New York Knicks, but the NBA as a whole.
Lin has been an on and off again player having gone up and down from the minors. He was a superstar in high school however. His senior season he led his Palo Alto High School team to a 32-1 record. They won a California state title over a much better team. He averaged 15 points per game.
He went to Harvard and played basketball there earning two All-Ivy League team awards. He graduated with a degree in Economics in 2010.
He went undrafted in the 2010 NBA Draft. Let’s be honest here, no one goes to Harvard with the exclusive intention of being a pro basketball player right? Right?
Well he ultimately signed with his hometown Golden State Warriors for pay significantly less than what other teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, were offering him. Not exactly what a model NBA player would do right?
Lin rarely played for the Warriors, being on the inactive list most of the season. However, whenever he managed to get a couple minutes of playing time, the home crowd would give him a mighty ovation. He became a fan favorite who didn’t play.
Ultimately, the lockout occurred, he was moved around and finally waived by the Houston Rockets in December of 2010. He was picked up by the New York Knicks immediately.
After another demotion to the NBA-D League, he was recalled to the Knicks on January 23, 2012. He was nothing special in the minimal time he played. In fact, he had only played 55 minutes with the Knicks on the season….until February 4 that is.
That night against the Nets, he went off and put up career highs in points (25), assists (7) and rebounds (5). After the game, Knicks Head Coach Mike D’Antoni said Lin has a point-guard mentality and “a rhyme and a reason for what he is doing out there.” His reward? A start in the next game.
Against the Jazz a few nights later, he went for 28 points and 8 assists. Who was this kid? He was essentially a no namer to the majority of fans and here he was making headlines. Surely this was just a fluke……
Two nights later against Washington, 23 points and 10 assists…his first career double-double! Are you freaking kidding me?
Consecutive start number 3 saw a formidable opponent in the Lakers. The result? 38 points. THIRTY-EIGHT! He led all scorers in this one and led the team to its 4th consecutive win. Unfortunately, they had to travel to Minnesota and play the very next night thanks to the shortened NBA season.
He only put up 20 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but in the process set ridiculous records including being the first player to score 20 points and 7 assists in each of his first 4 starts.
Then there was last night at Toronto…
How do you not appreciate what this kid has been able to accomplish? The Knicks have now won 6 games in a row because of him. Not only is he scoring, but he’s got the Knicks playing as a team. He’s been a huge factor in moving the ball around as a good point guard does.
They go for 7 straight tonight against Sacramento and quite honestly, I’ll be looking for this game on NBA TV. I’m intrigued at his ability to play a style of basketball that isn’t typical to the NBA. Perhaps players like Lin will bring in more NBA fans, or those like me who have swore off the NBA since the turn of the century.
The question of course is how long can this pace be kept up? With Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony back playing again, one would assume the number of touches would decrease, along with his points per game. However, if that ratio continues with assists, it would show a direct correlation with his production to the team.
Oh, and I’m going to predict that his jersey sales have gone up by about 3000% in the last week.