Linsanity Has Left the Building
By HOWARD BECK
The great lesson of Linsanity — at least, as we understood it in February — is that expertise can be flawed and impressions faulty. Jeremy Lin taught us not to assume too much, especially as it pertains to Jeremy Lin.
The Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets will attest to this.
Yet as we survey the ever-changing, perpetually dysfunctional Knicks landscape, it is hard not to draw one hard conclusion: It’s the end of Linsanity as we know it.
The sudden and surprising change in head coaches almost ensures it.
Lin blossomed because he played in a system that perfectly suited him, for a coach who believed in him and needed him. Lin restored the aesthetics and the excitement to Mike D’Antoni’s frenetic offense and restored faith at Madison Square Garden.
But D’Antoni left the building Wednesday, taking his speedy, free-flowing offense with him. His replacement, Mike Woodson, is an old-school coach and Larry Brown disciple who emphasizes defense, ball control and isolation play. He does not push the tempo, or rely heavily on the pick-and-roll. He holds a tight leash on his point guards.
He prefers veterans to rookies. He wants the offense to run through his stars. He will run most of his plays for Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire.
None of this bodes well for Lin.
“Woody’s inclination would not be to play him,” said a person who has worked with Woodson.
This will be a delicate matter for Woodson, who has 23 games to establish himself, right the ship and get the Knicks in the playoffs. Despite his recent struggles, Lin remains wildly popular at the Garden, and with fans around the world, who were captivated by his incredible, come-from-nowhere rise.
Lin is beloved by most of his teammates, who appreciate him for reviving their season with a seven-game winning streak and what seemed like a million uncanny clutch plays. But circumstances have changed, and Woodson cannot afford to be sentimental.
The Knicks have lost 8 of their last 11 games, leaving them in a dogfight for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. And Lin is no longer the dominant force who carried them in February. His production over the last nine games — 14.4 points and 7.3 assists — was solid, but he shot 37.7 percent and averaged 4.2 turnovers over that stretch.
In his first game under Woodson on Wednesday, Lin had 6 points, 6 assists and 6 turnovers. That he struggled so badly in a 121-79 victory seemed like a bad sign. Woodson, according to his former associate, will not tolerate many six-turnover games from his point guard.
This is where D’Antoni was so critical to Lin’s success. D’Antoni not only provided the platform, but he also gave Lin the freedom to explore, to create and to make mistakes, to make the aggressive pass and to take the open shot, without fear of reprisal.
Anthony was never comfortable in a Lin-centric offense. He bristled over having to “sacrifice for the system,” which ultimately led to D’Antoni’s resignation. But Anthony remains the Knicks’ most dynamic player and the one most critical to their long-term success. So as Woodson edits the Knicks’ playbook, it is a certainty that Anthony will not be asked to sacrifice much of anything.
In Atlanta, where Woodson guided the Hawks to three playoff appearances, the emphasis was squarely on his stars: Joe Johnson and Josh Smith. He ran so many isolation plays for Johnson that his offense became known (derisively) as Iso-Joe. Those plays will now belong to Anthony.
“His best players get the most shots,” the former associate said. “Melo’s going to love it. Amar’e’s going to love it. And the other 12 guys are not going to like it so much.”
Lin could lose the starting job to Baron Davis, a seasoned former All-Star who is bigger, stronger and a better defender. Toney Douglas, whose strength is his defense, could get another look under Woodson, after being benched by D’Antoni. Mike Bibby, who played for Woodson in Atlanta, could also win a greater role.
It seemed telling when Woodson referred to the 23-year-old Lin, a virtual rookie, as being “in a learning stage.” He then invoked Red Holzman, “who taught me that rookies were to sit and listen and learn,” when Woodson was a Knicks rookie in 1980.
Lin’s unusual journey, from Harvard to the N.B.A., with stops in the Development League and on various couches, has taught him to be an optimist. While he acknowledged that D’Antoni’s offense “was perfect for me,” he said he can adapt.
Yet with D’Antoni gone and Anthony back in the forefront, Lin may never get the same opportunities to shine. The Knicks have no room for error, nor does Woodson, who is coaching for a contract and the permanent job.
Lin is auditioning too, for the entire league, as a free-agent-to-be. A few weeks ago, it seemed a certainty that the Knicks would re-sign him, even if they had to use their entire midlevel exception. But D’Antoni is gone, the offense is changing and everyone has an interim title. A new coach and general manager could decide to spend the money elsewhere.
Lin has crushed conventional wisdom before. He may do it again. But in the Knicks’ twisted universe, there are no certainties and, for now, no room for Linsanity.
Good analysis. I think youre right in that baron davis could take his starting spot and lin could start to fade out in new york. But i would also be willing to bet that nba gm's everywhere have taken notes on not only lin's playing ability but his economic impact. Small market teams are chomping at the bit the pick up lin in the off season. i think hes going to end up alright, the kid can play.
And at the same time it was never here. When a team down on their luck starts winning games with only one person as the possible answer, it becomes a story. (see teebow) But when they start losing again, the smoke clears. I think he's still popular with NY fans, but people out here used to ask me every day I worked if Lin was playing. Now I don't get the same question anymore.
Either way, I can't argue with Woodson's approach. Its time to get that team back on the right track. And with defense in mind, the Knicks might actually look the way they were supposed to when Amare and Melo first banded together. Maybe...
You mean he's not the next superstar at point guard?
There were people actually declaring him a top 15 PG.
One thing I've never really understood is why hoop analysts seem to think that your offense and defensive schemes need to be linked. First, they don't. There is some influence about how much you try to offensive rebound versus getting back, but most of the time the two parts of the game are very separate. You can have a D'Antonio offense and a Woodson defense if you want. Woodson was already in change of the Knick's defense for the entire season, so he has presumably put in his schemes already. I doubt D'Antonio fought him on any defensive principles that Woodson felt strongly about. He did not get Amare or Melo to play defense before this point and there is no reason to think that he can now. If the Knicks want there defense to be better, it is simple, play Jeffries more and Melo/Amare less. Play Shumpert. Never play Bibby ever again.
Now Woodson can change the offense if he wants. If he wants to run ISO plays for two guys who are shooting 40%, he can do that. Melo should be able to deliver closer to his career average of 45%, but Amare may just not have the physical ability to create quality shots consistently.
Lin can fairly easily decrease his turnovers, if he is no longer asked to score 20 points and initiate most plays.
Bottom line, if the Knicks don't win, Woodson should be fired. This team, at very least, needs to win half their games for the rest of the season. Even that won't get them into the playoffs probably, which will be a disaster.
Scouting is all it takes man. Lin's success is similar to why you can't hype of guys in college hoops who have a great nonconference run, because in the conference slate teams scout more intense. Teams didn't really know what Lin was capable of early, but as they figured out his weaknesses (lack of a left hand, mediocre jumper, prone to picking up his dribble...or overdribbling etc) and he's struggled to have anywhere near the same success. Simple
lin will follow dantoni
I mean I stated along with few others that once the scouting report is out on him, he will be back to an average guard, while his production lasted alot longer than I expected, I still knew he would come down from cloud 9 sooner or later.
I'm not surprise Jeremy Lin is sad to see Mike D'Antoni leave. D'Antoni is a point guards dream coach. Nash is a obvious example, but Ray Felton was playing pretty damn well when he was in NY before he got traded.
Well at least the World got to see Lin play for 2 weeks before Carmelo Anthony came back from injury. He has to continue to improve his game. Going to his left, handles, shooting. Remember this is only his 2nd year out of college, so he can still continue to develop.
I hope the Knicks resign him and pay the man. Remember he is making league minimum. It would be a smart business decision. Remember he is making league minimum. If not, this time around Lin will have options unlike before. Lin is a hot commidity. Team need his popularity, the NBA needs his popularity.
D'Antoni is out of a job, he quit before he got fired. Lin is not going to sit out a year or 2.
The New York market is the biggest and best for Lin's popularity, but the Knicks is not the best place for his game anymore.
I think Jeremy Lin is smart enough to adjust. He has some skills that will not fade. Also He has done a lot without a training camp. I believe he is a legit starter and in time maybe a year or two, he will be a top 6 or 7 point guard. He will not be the type of player that Rose, Wall or Westbrook is but will be more like a Kidd, Nash, and possibly Payton was without the glove like D.
Although Lin may not a prototype point guard... regardless of how the Knicks treat Lin now that D'antoni is gone, Lin carrying the Knicks to their best stretch of the season was not a fluke. It's the Knicks loss that they can't grasp the fact that Anthony is over-rated.
Indiana... during that stretch Lin played like a top 15 pt. guard.
I honestly think the best they played was with Lin dominating and no Melo at all. I am not saying Lin is a top 5 PG cause I don't believe that, but I think Melo is overrated and no team is going deep or winning a titile with him as their best player. Results is what matters to me and the results I saw during that stretch spoke for itself. The results when Melo came back spoke for itself. Knicks have two overrated guys leading their team. I would never build around Melo. Melo is a piece to me.
Thank God time has finally come. I was starting to loose my mind with all that Lin &$#%#&@!. Not only were casual fans thinking he was one of the best PG's in the league, but most people on here were also thinking that he was. I remember getting into arguments because I said he would never be more than a 14 point and 6 assist point guard, and I was being generous on that to avoid argumentation. People on here were claiming that he was in the running for MVP. That he was way better than Carmelo Anthony. The way the TNT crew acted like he was far superior to everyone in the rookie game, like he was Blake Griffin or something, was sickening. I would have taken pretty much every single player in the rookie game over Lin to start a franchise. Thank God is all I have to say because that whole "Linsanity" thing everyone went through made it kind of sickening to watch NBA analysts and sportscenter and everything involving basketball besides the gameplay itself for a while.
There is NOOOOO WAY he will ever be a top 6 or 7 point guard. I don't get how you all still believe this guy is that good. The guy does not have that much potential. I don't think he will ever get that much better than he is today. He's not that bad, I mean he can be a fringe starter if you don't have anyone better, but top 6 or 7? Lets take a look at that.
4. Rajon Rondo
5. Russell Westbrook
I assume that you know that those 5 will be better than Lin, so I am guessing that you can see Lin being better than all these other point guards right?
And that is leaving out ALOT of old players like Tony Parker who will still be better than Lin in a few years and leaving out ALOT of young players like Brandon Knight who will still be better than Lin. Jesus even Conley, Teague, Collison, Lawson, Lowry, etc. There are SOOOO SOOOO many PG's who will be better than Lin you are CRAZY!
So you are saying all of those pt. guards you listed are better players than Lin... just not playing as good as Lin?
"Linsanity" was a great story for the NBA, but everyone knew the hype wouldn't last. It was just a fad. It was "cool" to to talk about Linsanity and get involved.
I think it's safe to say that we won't see Spike wearing anymore throwback Harvard jerseys lol.
But I think Lin will be fine heading forward. He's humble, works hard, etc.
Lin is a great story... but he's still a damn good basketball player also.
No, I'm saying all those players are better than Lin and are playing better than Lin and will be playing better than Lin for the rest of their careers.
You are dreaming... and need to sharpen up a bit.
I'm glad to see the world come back to reality...As much as I love the Story, it became very annoying as a fan of the game...Players have great stretches all the time and never get the hype Lin got...
I think a lot of NBA players feel the same way as me and the other users who got sick of the Lin Media Hype...