The last three games have been great to the New York Knicks, they were missing 2 of their biggest stars and may have discovered a new one. Emphasis on may have, by no means am I anointing anyone to superstardom in just three games. The Knicks may have saved their season if not at least cured their horrible excuse for an offense by signing Jeremy Lin. It is no secret that Mike D’Antoni’s explosive offense was nothing if not for the outstanding play of Steve Nash in Phoenix. Last year the Knicks had Chauncey Billups, as a veteran point guard he made the system work for him. The Knicks have had no such luck this season in terms of getting solid play from the most important position on the floor. They drafted Iman Shumpert from Georgia Tech this year, Shumpert is a combo guard. While he was able to handle the ball well, he was also learning how to run a team. This inexperience as a floor general has caused Carmelo Anthony to run the offense, which is a burden to a player who does not have the mentality to do so. Melo is an assassin, best used as a weapon for mass destruction. Having him initiate the offense makes him much less dangerous to the opposing team, it made the Knicks offense extremely stagnant.
Enter Jeremy Lin, a second year player from Harvard. Lin was not drafted, however he did make an impact in the NBA Summer League a year ago suiting up for the Golden State Warriors. Obsevers showed up to a game to watch top pick John Wall, instead they watched as Jeremy Lin outplayed him up and down the floor. Fast forward to last night, the 3rd consecutive game that Lin started for the Knicks. Wall had a chance to avenge his performance in Summer League, instead Lin went off and led the short handed Knicks to a win over the woeful Wizards. Lin compiled 23 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, and just 2 turnovers. The game before that against the Jazz; Lin had 28 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, and 8 turnovers. In his first game of this 3 game win streak against the Nets; Lin had 25 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and just 1 turnover. The numbers aren’t what impress me the most, it’s his ability to run a team and routinely make the RIGHT play. Lin plays with the savvy of a veteran, hardly ever is he rushed into mistakes or bad shots. Take note of his field goal percentage, for a perimeter player it’s incredible: 52.6% vs NJ, 58.8% vs Jazz, 64.3% vs WAS.
What makes Lin so effective is the way he plays the pick and roll, as many of you know it is a HUGE part of NBA basketball. Although it’s an extremely limited sample size, Lin’s effectiveness in P&R situations is nothing short of astonishing. Out of 50 P&R opportunities involving Lin, 52% of the time the result is a score per Synergy Sports. He is ranked 3rd in the league as a P&R ball handler, when he does keep the ball he shoots 65.6% in those situations. As one could tell by the number of assists in the past 3 games, Lin is equally adept at setting up the Roll or Pop man. Lin is a horrible shooter from beyond the arch, he’s only hit 1 in 11 tries. The good news is that inside the arch he is deadly, shooting 52% from the field overall.
Lin’s play has energized the Knicks, he’s led the team to three wins without the big guns. What’s important as the Knicks go forward is how Lin impacts the offense when Melo and Stoudemire are reintegrated. Amare should be back Monday, from the days with Nash we can guarantee he’ll benefit from Lin’s ability to run the P&R. The question is Melo, if he is willing to trust Lin than he will get back to being the old Melo that Knicks fans have been longing for. Having a distributor on the floor will only enhance Melo’s effectiveness, he should be far more efficient as he will go back to playing OFF the ball and will no longer be responsible for running the offense. It’ll definitely be something to keep an eye on as the season goes on.
How do you think the Knicks will fair when STAT & Melo return? Leave your Comments below!! As always, thanks for READING!!!