There are many skeptical analysts and fans about the sensation that is Jeremy Lin. There is certainly some logic/reason for this, as the sample size is simply too small and two to three games does not make a player.
I questioned whether he could sustain such a high level of play after hisfirst sensational game against the NJ Nets. Logic and history suggested that once teams actually prepare for him and adjust defensively, he would struggle. Still, like most, I believed the Knicks at the very least found a temporary solution until they can get Baron Davis back.
After watching Lin lead the Knicks as a starter for two more convincing victories, however, I am now fully convinced that a star has been born.
What I am not sold on are those that claim that Lin is one of the following: fluke, competent, solid second stringer, and regress to the mean(whatever that means).
There are eight(considered a lucky number in Chinese culture) strong reasons to believe Lin’s accomplishments are far from a fluke or a one week wonder:
1. Sees the floor and understands developing plays, as well as knowing who to pass to in what situation
2. Excellent decision maker on the pick and roll and executes the pass
3. Excellent ball handler; keeps dribble alive and low; effective hesitation dribble
4. Plays at a controlled and comfortable pace and stays patient. Stays within the flow of the game
5. Ability to score and finish at the rim with a variety of moves makes him a multidimensional asset
6. Defensively sound and gets after it; good help defender
7. Size. At 6’3″ and 200lbs, he is actually one of the bigger point guards in the league with deceptive athleticism and quickness
8. Selfless. Lack of ego allows him to only care about the correct plays instead of focusing on any personal agenda on the floor
The qualities listed aren’t flukes or the result of a hot streak. They are permanent qualities that aren’t going to suddenly disappear. The description of his qualities formulate to a point guard that can dominate games if given the reigns.
He has been given the reigns.
Mike D’Antoni certainly seems to agree, and what he thinks is relevant because none of this happens if D’Antoni doesn’t give Lin a chance to play. And so much of the NBA is about the chance and opportunity to showcase talent.
Mike D’Antoni: ”I think it’s for real. The things that are real are his vision, which won’t change; his speed, which won’t change; his knowledge of the game, which won’t change. I think it can only get better.”
Some of Lin’s weaknesses include the following: a suspect jump shot, lack of range, and weak going to the left. The fact of the matter is, there is no player that doesn’t have weaknesses. Everyone has flaws, and to write off a player because of certain weaknesses would be a mistake. I remember when doubt rose about a certain Frenchman point guard that could not shoot consistently early in his career. How did that turn out?
Another argument brought up is the fact that Lin’s ridiculous streak of dominance came against terrible teams. The problem with that argument is the Knicks have been one of those terrible teams. They were supposed to be astronomically bad when both Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony were lost for various reasons. It was supposed to be the reason for why the Knicks would lose games in their absence, not an excuse for why Lin would dominate because of it.
Of the three games Lin dominated, two of them were mostly played with the following lineup: Lin, Fields, Walker, Jeffries, Chandler. On paper, it is arguably one of the worst if not the worst NBA lineup in the league. Lin should be praised the way he praises the Lord for winning despite such dire circumstances. Anyone simply looking at who the Knicks played to get the wins isn’t looking at the circumstances of why the Knicks should not have won.
The one argument I can agree with is the fact that he is unlikely to continue this torrid pace. He has averaged 25 points, 3.7 rebounds and 8.3 assists on a blistering 58% from the field. Though that likely wraps him up for a player of the week honors, it would be foolish to believe those are sustainable averages especially when the starters come back.
Just because he can’t sustain those types of numbers, it does not mean he can’t sustain a dominant level of play which is what matters the most. He does not have to average 25 points per game to be as equally as effective as he has been.
Remember, this is not some 29 year old from overseas that is about to pass his prime. He is only a second year player at the age of 23 with an accomplished background. There are reasons to doubt his current pace, but there is no reason to doubt his skill sets that allowed him to accomplish the current pace.