Jeremy Lin: Does He Need a Mentor or Playing Time?

It’s been  a crazy 24 hours for the New York Knicks when it comes to their point guard situation.

May 3, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd (2) brings the ball up the court against the Oklahoma City Thunder during game three in the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the American Airlines Center. The Thunder defeated the Mavericks 95-79. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

They went from possibly acquiring Steve Nash in a sign-and-trade to watching Jeremy Lin sign an offer sheet with the Houston Rockets (ESPN). Then they went from potentially targeting Raymond Felton (NY Daily News) to eventually signing Jason Kidd away from the Mavericks (ESPN).

In writing this, I’m basically looking at what Lin needs more to improve, a mentor or just more experience. It’s nice to have both, but which is really more important to the future of Lin?

Kidd says he’s in the Big Apple to mentor the young Lin (NY Daily News), but while that’s fine and dandy, it’s not exactly what Lin needs to improve.

He doesn’t need a mentor as much as he needs playing time.

Having Kidd around will be good for Lin, but that’s not going to eliminate his mistakes on the court.

A veteran point guard to learn from is nice to have, but Lin had a pair of those last season in Baron Davis and Mike Bibby, who have a combined 28 years of NBA experience.

No, what Lin needs the most is just the opportunity to play. Nothing is more valuable to a young player than experience.

Whatever concerns there are about Lin’s game—turnovers, shooting, defense, etc.—won’t be cured by Kidd being around. The only way Lin becomes a complete guard is with more playing time.

While having Kidd mentoring Lin is nice, what the Knicks need more is a productive guard off the bench.

At this point in his career, it’s unclear how much Kidd has to offer, not only to Lin, but to the Knicks as a team. He will turn 40 next season and is coming off the worst season of his 18-year career. He averaged a mere 6.2 points and 5.5 assists per game while shooting only 36.3 percent from the floor in 2012.

In addition to mentor duties, Kidd is going to have to produce when he’s in the lineup, and there’s no guarantee he still has enough production left in him to warrant being Lin’s backup.

The entire Kidd-Lin thing is a nice story, but it’s not necessary.

Lin’s a smart kid. He will learn from playing time. Plus, learning from his mistakes is the best teaching tool.

Did the Knicks need a veteran point guard around?

Certainly, but one that they are certain has three years of productive basketball left in him might make a little more sense than simply signing one capable of mentor duties.

Follow Matt Shetler on Twitter for news, reaction and analysis from around the NBA.

Topics: 2012 NBA Offseason, Jason Kidd, Jeremy Lin, New York Knicks

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