If you've read my stuff before, this is the part where I transition to telling you that things aren't as happy-go-lucky as they appear. But let's face the facts: I'm as Linsane as anybody else in these parts, if not moreso. (Can't you see the resemblance?) Against the cross-town rival Nets, Lin came off the bench and legitimately outplayed superstar point guard Deron Williams, netting 25 points on 10-19 shooting, with 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals in 36 minutes. The minutes, points, assists, and rebounds were all career highs. Last night, the former Harvard standout eclipsed that performance in his first NBA start. When the Knicks won the jumpball, the crowd was silent...until Lin received the ball from Anthony. Standing O. As Mike Breen so eloquently put it, his spirit has lifted the team, the crowd, and the city (well, the non-Giants fans, who NEED uplifting.) 28 more points at a 10-17 clip, and 8 more assists, in 44 minutes = 3 new career highs.
The final number is the most important: 44 minutes. As I've mentioned before, these aren't your average 44 minutes, where you can take a breather by hiding on defense or throwing some stand-still passes on offense. These are 44 minutes in a D'Antoni offense, as an attacking point guard, while guarding the opposing PG in this relatively new, no-hand-check era of NBA basketball. Anyone who watched the game on TV last night could see that, save for the momentary adrenaline rushes, Lin was dead tired by the 3rd quarter. And what happens when you get tired? You make mental errors. Lin eclipsed a 4th career statistic last night with 8 turnovers. While beating a decent Utah Jazz team with Amar'e grieving in Florida, Melo hurting his groin, and Tyson in foul trouble all night is nothing short of remarkable, it's important to take a step back and see what the future holds for the New York Jeremy Lins.
But he's not a perfect player. The first thing I noticed was that he isn't particularly strong on the dribble. Although he uses a nifty hesitation move to create space between him and his defender, there were times when Devin Harris and Deron Williams (both decent on-the-ball defenders, but not elite by any means) nudged him off of his track, enough to spoil the rhythm of D'Antoni's spacing-craved offense. However, I believe he'll improve in this area, especially if MDA is smart enough to stick Shumpert (a gifted on-the-ball defender) on Lin in practice. Then again, with the condensed schedule and Lin's game minutes, who knows how hard practices will be run anyway.
I also noticed that Lin has a tendency to make many decisions while mid-air. This is a Walt Frazier no-no, but more importantly, it is truly reserved for athletic behemoths like Derrick Rose, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade. Many times Lin was very close to traveling violations because of these mid-air passes and field goal attempts, and this will have to be corrected in due time.
|Obviously in need of a confidence boost.|
Jeremy Lin: FIVE MAMBINOS
Anything less would be insulting.