Column: From Linsanity to Lineffective
>>>CORRECTION: Lin was born in California.
Last season’s emergence of Jeremy Lin had most people believing the 6-foot-3, Taiwanese Harvard grad could actually ball with the best.
Lin averaged 21.5 points and 10.6 assists per game on 49.6 shooting last season during an eight-game stretch for the Knicks and sparked a global phenomenon dubbed “Linsanity” by the masses which cemented his status as a faux-superstar. He even had a game where he lit up Kobe Bryant and the Lakers for a career-high 38 points in a 92-85 victory.
However, as I predicted in a previous column, those numbers fell back down to Earth once Carmelo Anthony returned to the Knicks lineup and Lin was forced to share the ball. He finished his 2012 campaign missing the last 17 games due to a knee injury and finished the season averaging 14.6 points per game to go along with 6.2 assists.
But I couldn’t predict what would happen next.
After the offseason madness cleared and the Knicks refused to match the Rockets’ backloaded offer designed to ruin their salary cap, it seemed as if Houston landed a budding star for the next four years. Lin, who was once cut from the Rockets before blossoming on the Knicks, received a 3-year, $25.1 million contract to return as their starting point guard. Lin said it was “God’s plan” for him to come back to the team.
Unfortunately for Houston, it seems as if God’s plan is for them to lose because Lin’s production so far has been woeful at best.
Through 12 games so far, Lin is putting up 10.2 points per game on an abysmal 34.8 percent shooting and is taking a major backseat to both James Harden and Chandler Parsons on the offensive end.
So what’s going on? Well, it’s simple: Lin is being exposed and is playing like the third string point guard he came into the league as. He’s shown an inability play without the ball in his hands, turns the ball over nearly three times per game, and he’s proven himself to be both a below-average defender and shooter as he’s only hitting 24 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.
Lin’s play is nowhere near worth the money he’s getting. He has a long way to go to earn his paycheck and the only reason he got such a large contract is because fans and media alike prematurely dubbed him a superstar. He was a fluke.
Don’t believe me? Lin even said it himself:
“I’ve been exposed a lot early on in the season and have a lot to work on,’’ Lin said in an interview with the New York Post. “I’m young. I’ve started 30-something games my entire career. It’s something I have to keep in mind. I’ve felt better before but it’s just a process.”
Could his recent play be chalked up to being a learning process for a young and upcoming player? Or could it be attributed to his inability to share the ball with superstar-caliber players?
Either way, two things are for sure: the Knicks made the right call this offeseason by opting to bring in Raymond Felton to start as their point guard, while the Rockets are probably kicking themselves for passing on the chance to sign Goran Dragic, who’s averaging a career-best 16 points and 7 assists per game, instead of signing Lin.