FanPost

The End of Linsanity

Sup, P&T. I've been lurking here for a long time and used to comment a bit a few years ago, but this recent Jeremy Lin situation has gotten me thinking and I figured I'd share some Lintresting (damn, I'm going to miss those puns) stuff with y'all.

The Knicks let Jeremy Lin walk away to the Houston Rockets, and almost any way you look at it, that was a pretty terrible decision. The amount of irreplaceable revenue that Lin generates, his global influence, the excitement he brings, his superiority over all other possible options, his unique on-court skills, his youthfulness, his intelligence, and how he simply seems like a great person in general have been the major points that people have made to object to the Knicks' decision, and they are all very sensible claims that have been widely talked about and that I don't feel the need to rehash here. However, I do have a few other thoughts on the Lin decision that I have not seen mentioned anywhere else.

The Miami Heat just won the NBA championship, and look to be the team to beat for the immediate future. The team that came closest to knocking them off was the Boston Celtics. The Celtics, a veteran team with championship experience, had the guile, skill, and toughness to compete in that series. But there was one player who made a huge difference in that series for the Celtics and seemed to completely flummox the Heat.

That player was Rajon Rondo. A young, energetic point guard who not only can create for others, but can also take on the scoring load himself with the ability to get to the rim, isolate, and work in transition (Hey, that sounds a lot like Jeremy Lin!). Without Rondo, the Celtics would have been much easier for the Heat to handle, especially with Garnett playing so much due to lack of frontcourt depth and Ray Allen hobbling around on a badly injured ankle.

There's no guarantee that Jeremy Lin will ever be as good a player as Rajon Rondo. It's probably not even likely. But if there's even like a 20-30 percent chance of Lin becoming as good as Rondo, don't the Knicks have to take that chance and keep Lin, all other things considered? As unlikely as it is that Lin will ever be that good, the chances that a Felton/Kidd point guard combination (which I planned on calling "Chunk and the Drunk" until seeing how much Felton had slimmed down. Raymond Svelton?) approaches that level of productivity are even smaller. Out of every possible option that the Knicks had at point guard, Lin has by far the greatest potential, and since Lin wanted to stay with the Knicks and it only came down to a slight (to Dolan) difference in money, it should've been a lock that Lin was re-signed. A Knicks team with Lin on it has a much higher potential ceiling and a greater ability to win a championship than a team without Lin, and the potential floor with or without Lin is basically the same.

Also, on Raymond Felton: I will be rooting for Raymond Felton to do well here. He'll probably get crap from a lot of people because he's the player directly replacing Jeremy Lin, but he's not the guy to take out your frustrations on. Felton played hard in his first stint with the Knicks, he has said all the right things so far, and most importantly he has seemingly gotten into good shape, showing that he really does care about making a big impact on the floor. As fans, we should support him. However, for those who have trumpeting Felton as a far better basketball player than Lin because Lin only performed well in a small sample size while playing or Mike D'Antoni: the most productive Raymond Felton has ever been in his career was during the half a season he played under Mike D'Antoni, and besides that he's never really been better than an average NBA point guard. So, it would obviously be contradictory to dismiss Lin's success with the Knicks as irrelevant because it was merely over a few games under D'Antoni and then simultaneously assume that Felton will be as productive as he was while he played a few games under D'Antoni just because Felton's back in New York. It's far more likely that Felton will resemble the Felton that has been in the league for seven seasons, which is a decent but not great point guard. And since Lin has been above-average in his only NBA experiences, and he's still so young with room to improve, Lin seems more likely to play at a higher level than Felton going forward, which is just one more reason why keeping Lin would've been the best choice for the Knicks. Dammit, Dolan.

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