The now non-interim head coach of the Knicks went on The Michael Kay Show earlier this week, and proclaimed that, “Without a doubt,” Jeremy Lin would be the starting point guard for the team next season.
Don’t get too excited folks, his word does’t mean much.
He is the second member of The Knicks organization to come out with these sort of statements about Lin. The GM Glen Grunwald flat out told reporters that he believes Lin is his to resign. This comes weeks after the news that Lin’s Agent will hear all offers, and it will not necessarily be the Knicks.
On the bright side, Lin is still likely to sign with The Knicks due to him being a restricted free agent, and that no other team can offer him more than the Knicks can, (thanks to our pal Gilbert Arenas, and his special claus in the CBA).
The real question is how will Lin return. There are two options: The arbitrator assigned to decide if bird rights are transferred when a player is picked up on waivers rules in favor of the players, which would allow the Knicks to sign him without their Mid Level Exception, or we have to use our MLE due to the the opposite ruling.
If we have to use our own MLE than I agree with Woodson that he will be our starter. But. What if we have the money available to try and convince another free agent point guard to come to the Big Apple in addition to Lin?
Lin and is patented ‘Linsanity’ certainly impressed people around the league, but is he the best choice for our team? He can drive effectively using his 6-3 frame, and take a lot of contact while doing so. He has better than average court vision, and made some spectacular alley-oop passes during his streak.
His downside comes in two key areas: outside shooting and turnovers. While his shooting improved as the season went on, and he did make some big shots (see toronto buzzer beater), we still need someone who can spot up a three when ‘Melo passes out of a double team. The turnovers are something I believe will be worked out as he becomes more comfortable, but what if it does not? The Knicks already are one of the worst turnover teams, and maybe we need a floor general who can limit those mistakes. Also, his less than stellar defense is to be noted, but he can hold his own.
I support Lin 100%, and I do think his is starting material in the NBA contrary to other people’s beliefs, but look at these names: Steve Nash, Aaron Brooks (restricted), Kirk Hinrich, Raymond Felton, and Goran Dragic. All of those point guards have been starters in the past, and have proved, albeit some more than others, that they can get the job done.
Of course everyone looks at Steve Nash as the goal, but he is also the least likely due to his contract demands. Nash could be a game changer for this team if it meant we didn’t have to give up our future (Lin) to get him. I also have said in the past that I would like to see what Raymond Felton could do, but I think Lin would beat him out for the starting role.
When it comes down to it, it’s about which Lin will be our starter. Will it be the Linvincible version who can score when needed to, and average around 10 assists a game, or will it be the 12 points/6 assists Lin who could be easily replaced.
It is all speculation until free agency opens, so until then wear your Lin jersey with pride.