Apr 5, 2012; Orlando, FL, USA; New York Knicks point guard Toney Douglas (23) attempts a jump shot against the Orlando Magic during the second quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE
Go back and watch videos of the "Linsanity" streak-- seriously, it's fun-- and pay close attention to the moments in which Jeremy Lin makes a wonderful, improbable play, forces an opponent timeout, then strides back to the bench in celebration. Of the teammates launching themselves off the bench to embrace him, I guarantee you that one of the first and happiest faces to appear will be Toney Douglas. Mike Breen always pointed it out during broadcasts. Douglas-- the man who, after weeks of poor play, found himself utterly abandoned while Lin shone in his place-- never looked jealous or forlorn in the slightest. Quite the opposite. Toney confirmed those sentiments when speaking to Marc Berman after the Knicks' win over the Magic:
"When Jeremy had his turn with Linsanity, I was there for him,’’ Douglas said. "I was happy for him. He’s my teammate. I would never think of it in a negative way. We were winning games, he was going good and I was proud of him. He had been through a lot coming from the D-League and he took advantage of his opportunity. I texted him the other day to see how his surgery went. He’s still my teammate. I know people say it’s an individual league, but at the end of day, we’re a team and a family.’’
I was working out everyday as if I was playing, stuck with my routine and stayed ready. I knew at some point the team was going to need me. I got my opportunity back and I’m just taking advantage of it.’’
Through serial benchings and rumors that there were issues with his health and personal life, Toney stayed supportive and just kept showing up and preparing as if he was still the starter (that's the most important thing in life, you know). And now, with Lin's stupid butthead meniscus returning the favor, Douglas has the opportunity to capitalize on that persistent work. It's possible that Toney won't ever relocate his jump shot, make savvy decisions with the ball, or have a consistent impact on defense, but he did start to show signs in that Orlando game.
Anyway, if Toney never finds his way back into the everyday rotation, it won't be for lack of commitment. Whatever else happens, I'll take some creepy paternal pride in that fact (even though Toney's three years older than I am). That's just how it is at P&T. Douglas has had a rough year and has paid for his errors, but he dealt with the entire situation like a goddamn professional, and now he seems ready for a chance to redeem himself. I've seen a lot of folks disparage Toney, which, given his play this season, is fair, but I really admire the guy's character, have borne witness to his talent, and am hopeful that he'll make a comeback. Do what Toney Douglas do, y'all.