For a 25-game stretch last season, New York Knicks’ point guard Jeremy Lin not only captured the attention of basketball fans in the Big Apple, but the story of his rise to stardom was a great story across the world.
What was dubbed “Linsanity” was something truly special and the type of thing that sports fans don’t get the opportunity to witness very often.
But that was then and this is now and it the road back to sanity has been quite the roller coaster for both the Knicks and Lin.
The Knicks wet in a different direction in the offseason at point guard with the likes of Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni and in the span of a few weeks, Lin went from a potential franchise point guard in the Big Apple to donning Houston Rockets red.
As the Knicks prepare to get their first look at Lin as an opponent Friday night, it looks like they made the right decision allowing the fan-favorite to leave as a restricted free agent.
It’s funny how things like that work out.
The Knicks currently sit with the best record in the NBA (8-2), while the entire national luster has worn off of the once shining star as Lin has taken the turn from potential superstar back to average point guard.
Coming off a win Wednesday against the Chicago Bulls, the Rockets come in to Friday night’s matchup at 5-7 and Lin has had his moments, but overall he’s been nothing more than an average guard. Through 12 games, Lin boasts averages of 10.0 points, 6.3 assists and 4.4 rebounds. He’s also averaged 1.93 steals, cut back on his turnovers (2.63) and is playing to a PER of only 12.0.
Those aren’t bad numbers by any stretch, but they aren’t the numbers that would have been needed from Lin for $25 million in New York.
That was clearly a dollar figure the Kicks couldn’t have invested in an unproven commodity.
Instead, they got Felton much cheaper and with him has come averages of 15.7 points and 6.9 assists per game. He has taken much better care of the basketball, averaging 2.3 turnovers per game and is posting a PER of 18.5.
Felton is a better decision maker and gets the ball moving well in the Knicks’ offense, something no one was sure if Lin could do or not.
In addition, he’s shooting the ball much better than Lin. Felton is shooting 43.8 percent from the floor and 42.2 percent from behind the arc, which are very respectable numbers. Li on the other hand is shooting a paltry 33.3 percent from the floor and only 22 percent from 3-point land.
That was another concern with Lin in a Knicks uniform and he’s proven so far to be a below average shooter.
As these two teams prepare to meet Friday night, there will be plenty of attention around Lin facing his former team, but while it will be blown way out of proportion, it really shouldn’t.
This much is clear, the Knicks made the right decision are much better off because of it. With Lin at the helm instead of Felton, this team wouldn’t be sitting at 8-2 right now.
It’s almost sad to see Lin go from “Linsanity” back to sanity, but it’s something all Knicks’ fans had to expect would happen sooner rather than later anyway.
It was a great story while it lasted, but for the Knicks it’s not about great stories, it is about winning and for Felton and the Knicks, there’s no better way to prove that than to get the best of Lin Friday night.
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