Jeremy Lin is For Real – Because He’s Smart


Jeremy Lin
is the mortar to Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire’s bricks.

Look at Lin’s obese point total the last four games – 25, 28, 23, 38. He’s shooting 58% from the field, and the Knicks have won all four of those games.

However, his physical game doesn’t impress me as much as mental game. As his shot efficiency indicates, Jeremy Lin makes smart decisions. He plays defense, he takes the open shot, he finds the open teammate, he gets to the free throw line.

Compare those numbers to Carmelo Anthony’s his last four full games:

Points – 25, 26, 26, 11
FG% – 44%
Knicks win/loss – (2-2)

(Yes, those two losses came against Boston and Chicago, but Lin’s dominance against the Lakers allows the juxtaposition.)

In today’s sports world, teams buy this false notion:
The more star players, The more wins, The more Championships

Dear New York Yankees, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, & Philadelphia Eagles,
It doesn’t work like that.

Jeremy Lin is a special player. Midway through the fourth quarter yesterday, Lin hit a long two right in (I think) Pau Gasol’s face, then two possessions later hit an open three from the corner. The crowd was nuts.

The next play is a Jeremy Lin fast break. He goes up strong, and when everyone expects a hard foul and two Lin free throws, he hands it off to Billy Walker for the uncontested layup.

Without any proof, Carmelo Anthony, Toney Douglas, Iman Shumpert, Billy Walker, and almost everyone else on the Knicks (and league for that matter) would go up strong that next play – maybe get the And1, and get the crowd even MORE into it.

But that pass did it for me. It proved will always make the smart play, unaffected by outside forces. With Lin calling the shots, the team will stay focused and won’t get lost in the heat of the moment, which has been a huge hole in the Knicks game since they acquired Anthony.

Fans are obsessed with points, home runs, touchdowns… but not equally important aspects like assists, base hits, and blocking. Even if Lin doesn’t average twenty points per game this season (he won’t), his game translates into winning basketball. It seems to me Lin would be okay with averaging five points and eleven assists per game. Contrarily, point guards like Allen Iverson and Stephon Marbury would not, and it’s why they never won an NBA Championship.

Jeremy Lin is not the most athletic player on the Knicks. He doesn’t have the best shot, he’s not the strongest, and he turns the ball over. But sports teams need to learn championships require the perfect mix drink of talent, not five shots of Tequila.

The Jason Kidds, the David Freases, the Derek Jeters. It’s the player that brings something different to the table and doesn’t look for attention. You can argue the Knicks are a better team without their two best players. Right now they are, but Carmelo and Stoudemire will make the Knicks better…

….so long as they play Jeremy Lin’s game.

It’s Time to Fire Mike D’Antoni – Here’s Why

The Knicks are playing .500 basketball since Carmelo Anthony came to the Knicks last February and .500 basketball since acquiring the most prized free agent, Tyson Chandler, this offseason.

That’s unacceptable. Here’s three reasons why the New York Knicks need a new head coach.

1) Defense Wins Championships

Of the last ten NBA champions, nine have finished in the top ten in defense during the regular season. Five have finished in the top three. Mike D’Antoni is notorious for his “All Offense, No Defense” coaching system. D’Antoni’s Suns lead the league in scoring from 2004-2007, but never made it further than the Western Conference Finals. While “the best defense is a good offense” is a popular aphorism, it doesn’t work in the NBA.

In the nine full seasons Mike D’Antoni has been a head coach, he has finished in the bottom three in defense six times. His teams have never allowed fewer than 102.8 points per game, yet no NBA champion since the 1995 Rockets has allowed more than 97.2 points per game.

2) Too much indecision

In a less objective argument, the Knicks have no fluidity right now. In their embarrassing loss two nights ago to (ironically) the Phoenix Suns, I saw a lot of stuttering instead of playing, watching instead of moving, and thinking instead of reacting. The Knicks are playing like they have too many superstars – a 60 minute game of roullete, “OK lets give it to Amar’e in the post, then Carmelo on the wing, then Amar’e for an elbow jumper…”

Before Carmelo came to the Knicks, there was more motion. The Knicks let the game come to them instead of trying to force the action. They need to get back to those fundamentals, and I think D’Antoni is too lost to do so.

3) Amar’e and Carmelo do not fit into the “seven seconds or less offense”

D’Antoni preaches shooting the ball – every shot is a good shot. It works when Steve Nash is your orchestrator, but not with the Knicks’ inexperienced backcourt. Telling Carmelo Anthony to shoot! shoot! shoot! is like letting a bull loose in a china shop. D’Antoni’s system fails to regulate Anthony’s shot selection – hence we see Carmelo pulling up for contested 18 foot jumpers instead of working off the ball for the better shot.

Carmelo is shooting 41% from the field this year, his worst output since his rookie season.

Comparably, Amar’e is best off the dribble or when he’s open for an elbow J. For either one of those things to happen, you need to let plays develop – you need to settle into the half court offense, which the Knicks rarely do.

Lastly, Amar’e’s knees will give out. I don’t know when, but he won’t be playing basketball at 35 (in 2019). Amar’e Stoudemire is a beast of a man, yet injury prone. He wears goggles every game because of a retina injury he suffered in Phoenix, his knees are weak and his lower back is a time bomb. In a system that requires constant running, a more relaxed offense would mean more minutes for Amar’e and more effective play from the Knicks’ superstars. In this condensed season, this point is magnified.

Hopefully the Knicks will be getting Baron Davis back soon. His experience at point guard and ability to shoot the three are just what the Knicks need, but I’m not convinced he’s the savior of the franchise. The Knicks will win more games with Baron Davis than without him, but they won’t be a better team – they’ll be a less worse team. As mentioned earlier, Mike D’Antoni does not have a winning system. Even if Baron Davis stays healthy (he won’t), the Knicks are destined at best for the four seed in the Eastern Conference, and if they’re lucky a second round exit.

Why not promote defensive specialist Mike Woodson to the head coaching position? Anthony and Stoudemire are elite on the offensive side – it’s their defense that needs work. If Woodson can round off their game on the defensive side, then you have a realistic chance to compete for an NBA title.