I’ve decided to end my blog silence with a topic that’s been pressing on my heart – Jeremy Lin’s free agency.
Yes, I have a newborn in the home as well as a new church plant to deal with, but this is what I choose to write about. Clearly, I still have Linsanity.
Anyhow, what I’m about to write might go against popular opinion in New York, and it actually pains me to admit what I’m about to say.
But alas, I must admit, as a pure Jeremy Lin basketball fan, I think Lin should go to the Rockets.
Before I go into why, you should probably know that 1) I personally would like for Lin to stay in NYC and come to Hope Church NYC, 2) I am unabashedly only a Knicks fan insofar as Lin is on the team, and 3) I am not a Rockets fan in particular (for anyone wondering, my team is the LA Clippers).
With all that said, I think Lin should go to the Rockets, and here’s why:
1. Lin thrived as the lead player during Linsanity – and so did the Knicks. The numbers don’t lie. Sure, they may have played weaker opponents, but Lin still played exceptionally well against playoff caliber teams (Lakers, Jazz, Mavs) and players (Deron Williams) while playing with equally anonymous players (Novak, Shumpert, Jeffries – Chandler being the only exception).
The Knicks were 8-1 when Lin played the role of lead playmaker until Melo returned in a loss to the New Jersey Nets.
The last game in which the Knicks were “Lin’s team” was when he lit up Dallas for 28 points and 14 assists.
In those nine games with Lin as the lead guard, he averaged 25 pts/game and 9.2 assists/game.
Plus, anyone who followed the Knicks run during that time period could see there was an obvious enthusiasm on the team and a raised level of play.
Lin never had an opportunity to be the lead player for the Knicks after Melo returned. I’m trying to state this without being biased here…
2. With Melo and Stat around and with Woodson coaching, we will likely never see Lin in a lead role again.
There are a lot of folks talking about how overrated Lin is and how his play tailed off as the season progressed.
Lin’s numbers did regress, as did the Knicks’ stats as a whole, but I’d argue that it was because of the changing dynamics on the team that demanded that Lin change his game, NOT because Lin isn’t capable of leading a ball club.
Now, I say this as a completely biased Lin fanatic – in my opinion, Lin was not the main reason for the drop-off in performance by the Knicks.
Lin had to change his game to accommodate Melo, Stat, and eventually Mike Woodson.
I think I can speak for millions of Lin fans (and a few Knicks fans) out there when I say that I wish I could have seen how far Lin could have taken the team as the lead player.
“There’s no way he’s Melo! There’s no way he’s an elite guard! Lin got exposed against Miami!”
You might say all of these things, but the sad thing is, we never had a chance to see if Lin could be an elite lead guard.
His game had to change when Melo and Stat came back, and Woodson made it clear that he didn’t think too highly of Lin.
But again, the sad thing is, we never had a chance to see if Lin could be an elite lead guard after he lit up the World Champion Mavericks for 28 and 14.
3. I want to see how well Jeremy can do as a lead player for the whole season. As a huge Jeremy Lin fan who reveled in the euphoria of Linsanity, I need to see how Lin can do when given the chance to be a lead player for an entire season.
I know there are a bunch of people out there who claim Lin is overrated, but the ONLY data we have of Lin as a lead guard is the 8-1 streak they were on.
This website is super helpful when talking about Lin’s impressive statistics and how anyone who discounts his accomplishments are not looking at the data (perhaps they’re looking more at his race?).
I’m convinced that Lin can never be the same player he was for the Knicks when Melo and Stat were out because Melo, Stat, and Woodson will not allow him to be. I’m sure anyone who watches the Knicks will agree with me that Lin’s game clearly changed when Melo and Stat came back, and then even more when Woodson became the head coach.
The Rockets, however, just might allow Lin the opportunity to be the lead player for their team, and that excites me.
Seeing this possibility excites me more than all the positives of Jeremy staying in NYC (being a global icon, watching him play regularly, having Jeremy come to Hope, etc).
I want to see Jeremy flourish as a player, and I think he has a better opportunity for that on the Rockets.
4) And quite frankly, the current Knicks team with Melo, Stat, and Woodson leading the charge is just not as fun to watch.
You can tell me if I’m biased, but honestly, the Knicks are not a fun team to watch anymore.
Am I missing something? Please tell me if you disagree.
I’m actually really curious to hear if anyone thinks this version of the team is as fun to watch as the no-name version during Linsanity…
All in all, I’m sure the Knicks will match the offer, and I’ll continue to watch and root for the Knicks and Jeremy, constantly wondering what was during Linsanity and what could have been if someone had the guts to let Jeremy be Jeremy on a basketball court…
And I guarantee the Garden won’t be nearly as electric as it was back in February 2012.