Tuesday, 14 February 2012

All I do is Lin, Lin, Lin

Ahhh, Jeremy Lin. I've been resisting the urge to write about Lin for pretty much the entire past week. I mean, every man and his dog has had something to say about Linsanity, so it's a pretty tough task to come up with something that hasn't already been covered. So, with that in mind, I'm not even going to bother. What I'm going to write about, like many before me (and probably a handful after me) is why #Linning is a trend, and is not here to stay.
Lin has put together a pretty impressive 5-game stretch, averaging 26.8ppg and 8apg at an elite .531 FG%, good enough to earn him the eastern conference Player of the Week award and a cult-following that at times seems has gone global.

But alas, it won't last. Lin's recent statistical explosion is seemingly a perfect storm, where the planets have aligned and moved every obstacle from his path. Don't get me wrong, I applaud his work ethic, his drive and his professionalism, and his story is compelling. Just don't be fooled into believing this is the introduction - this is the crescendo, and it's all down from here.

Sadly, it won't be a case of a sudden and dramatic drop in talent or level of play that will spell the end for Lin. It will be the return of all those obstacles that stopped him until now: the return of Amare and Carmelo, two offense-first guys that will chew up nearly all of Lin's touches; D'Antoni's preference for veterans over youths and Baron Davis' looming comeback - expect Diddy to assume a progressively larger role as he rounds into basketball shape and most of all, scouting reports.  Toney Douglas, Iman Shumpert and Mike Bibby have all had their turn at the point for New York, and all have had initial success in prominent roles before fading back to the bench. Eventually, teams will expose Lin's lack of shooting range and  ability to finish in traffic by going under screens and reducing fouls, forcing him to be the distributor that, despite his impressive assist totals, he is not.

When forced to pass, Lin turns the ball over once for every 1.73 assists, averaging 4.6 TOpg in the same 5 game stretch. By comparison, Steve Nash (to whom some have prematurely and outrageously compared Lin) turns the ball over once for every 2.86 assists.

Lin's story is a happy one, one that should inspire and allow others to believe that one day, their day might come too. A commenter at Bright Side of The Sun, in this fan post, said it best:

"Everyone needs to calm down
In April of 1991, Kevin Johnson suffered an injury that would keep him out of the next several games. At the time, the only capable ball handler was rookie Negele Knight.
Thrust into the starting lineup with no backup, Knight took the court against the Golden State Warriors. In his first start of his career, Knight played over 40 minutes and racked up 22 points and a whopping 19 assists. Knight continued to surprise over the next four games:
@ LAL 25 pts, 9 ast
GSW 27 & 10
DAL 17 & 11
SAS 27 & 8
In that stretch, Knight made "believers" out of Suns fans.
He then went on to greatness, playing 4 more years in the league, then killing it at City Square Athletic Club in downtown Phoenix, getting schooled by relatively unknown smallish point guards that never played in the NBA, College, High School or even the local Y.
Knight strung 5 games together that made him look like a future all-star point guard. Then he fell to earth with a thump.
I am not suggesting that Lin is Knight. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

I, along with every other Lin critic could end up being wrong, and as a sometimes-fan of the Knicks, I'm also rooting for him to keep it up. Just don't expect it.

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