With Jeremy Lin putting up video game numbers of late… and set to face the Knicks tonight… his electric tenure at Madison Square Garden and subsequent controversial departure have been big topics of discussion.
I might as well chime in, right? Right. And I have too much to say to put this on Twitter… it’d take about 43 tweets.
So here’s my take:
On Lin as a Player
- Lin is a nice player. He’s a talented scorer, and he can create opportunities for teammates. But his game has significant holes… he’s a terrible defender, and he turns the ball over far too much.
- His jump shot – long considered a hole in his game – seems to have improved significantly.
- I don’t think you want him to be your primary ball-handler, because of the turnover issues. And I don’t think he makes a ton of sense in a backcourt with James Harden, because he has the same weaknesses in the turnover and defense departments. (Note that Lin’s strongest play this week came with Harden sidelined.)
- Ideally, I think you use Lin as a sixth man, or in a two point guard backcourt paired with a “three-and-D” guy (Mario Chalmers?) or a pass-first floor general type.
Which brings us to…
On Lin’s Exit from MSG
- I think the Knicks intended to re-sign Lin. I think they intended to develop him as a player with Jason Kidd serving as mentor and sometime backcourt partner.
- I think they badly mis-read the marketplace and were caught totally flat-footed by Houston’s “poison pill” contract offer. Once that happened, they had no choice but to let Lin walk.
- Ultimately, the Knicks deserve the criticism they’re still receiving for losing a valuable asset and getting nothing in return. But given the sequence of events, I’m not sure that was ever possible.
- Who engineered that poison pill contract? That might be the most interesting question – but I’m not sure we’ll ever know. Was it Daryl Morey alone, reacting to the Knicks’ public statements about their intention to re-sign Lin? Were Lin and his representatives involved? Did Lin want to get out of New York and out of Carmelo Anthony’s shadow? I doubt we’ll ever know… unless and until one of the parties involved writes a tell-all book. (Hey Jeremy… if you need a ghostwriter, give me a shout.)
What if Lin Was a Still a Knick?
Would Lin fit on today’s Knick roster? Absolutely. As I said earlier, I believe Lin’s ideal role would be in a double-PG backcourt. As you may have heard, the Knicks run a lineup like that on a fairly regular basis.
Obviously, the roster might look a lot different if the Knicks had re-signed Lin, but for the sake of this hypothetical, let’s assume that they brought Felton back and signed Prigioni even after making a deal with Lin. Maybe Lin and Felton would be tonight’s starting backcourt… and maybe Knicks Twitter would be begging Mike Woodson to use Lin with Prigs more often. (Actually, that second part seems like a given.)