FanPost

Lin's departure (if it happens) may be more expensive than Dolan thinks



Okay, so as of this writing we're still waiting on an OFFICIAL word for whether or not the Knicks will re-sign Lin. It's a silly political game of cat-and-mouse, "grown-ups" acting like children all around. . . so let's not get into that. As an aside, what if I told you that by not signing Lin, Dolan is losing not one, but two players?

The name of the second player is Steve Novak. The sample sizes are small, but Lin's sample size is small (so gimme a break). Fact is, before Lin's emergence, Steve Novak was a bench warmer. He had one breakout game, but that's about it. The evidence is so overwhelming I won't even have to mention it here (you can look up any stat site and it'll pop out at you). A strange thing happened after Lin's now-legendary 2/4 game against the Nets. . . Novak caught fire. But not only did Lin bring Novak out of a funk, even after Melo and Amar'e returned and Woodson took over, Novak kept on scoring. . . until Lin went down. From 2/4 through 3/24, Novak shot 95/193 (49.2%), 77/158 (48.7%) from 3-bomb land in 25 games. He average 11.0ppg. After Lin's last game, he shot 52/111 (46.8%), 44/97 (45.4%) from 3-town in 17 games. His average dropped to 9.4ppg. This may not seem like much, but ALL the numbers went down though he actually averaged MORE minutes over the last 17 games. Per 36 minutes, his scoring average dropped from 19.0 to 14.8. That's actually a significant drop-off considering A) Lin was replaced by veteran PG Baron Davis, and B) Novak is a shooting specialist.

OK, OK, so they're not quite losing Novak, and small sample sizes are small. But Novak will clearly miss Lin more than any other Knick. There's a tactical explanation: Lin often found Novak on his iso plays. When Lin attacked the paint and the defense collapsed on him, he'd kick out to Novak who'd fire an open 3. Kidd and Felton are competent point guards, but they aren't Lin. Felton's not the man who left NY and Kidd's 3-point shooting won't free up Novak on the perimeter. Without Lin, even with an experienced PG like Davis, Novak had trouble getting open. He got the ball less, he shot less, and missed more. While that doesn't make him incompetent (honestly, 45.4% from downtown ain't bad), it's a blow to what he's paid to do.

The reason why it's "more expensive" is that Novak was paid to do one thing: score. For his money he's not really known for doing anything else, and there's a reason why D'Antoni benched him until he discovered Lin. If you're paying a scoring specialist $15 million to shoot 3s, that's a pretty expensive 9.4ppg. I mean, I like the dude but he didn't get re-signed for his defense, rebounding or passing. If Dolan cares about money at all, you have to consider the wisdom of re-signing a guy and then destroying the system that he thrived in. It's like a restaurant buying a fryer and then firing the cook. Yeah, it's cheaper, kinda, but you're not really getting good value anymore.

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