3-on-4 with Jeremy Lin: Defining, Understanding and Tempering Linsanity

LINSANE [lin-seyn]

Adjective

  1. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a person who comes out of nowhere, utterly prepared, and exceeds expectations
  2. describing a person who gives new life to an organization
  3. pertaining to someone who nonchalantly inspires people from all walks of life while transcending racial barriers
  4. a person who saves Mike D’Antoni his job, who drops 38 on Kobe and the Lakers, who confidently hits a game-winner and who is suddenly playing exquisite basketball

LINSANITY (lin-sa-ni-tee)

Noun

  1. the state of being seriously Linsane

Three years ago, Jeremy Lin sat a few seats from me while I took the Boston T (its railway and the city’s most popular means of transportation). He had a hoody jacket on that said “Harvard Basketball”. I knew him then mainly because he and his Crimson teammates were having a fairly good season (later on they would beat my school, the Boston College Eagles who just came off a big upset of UNC at the time) and because I had a sense of pride for all New England sports teams.

After what he’s done right now, I feel a sense of hollow regret; I should’ve asked for an autograph or even talked to him. But just like in 1985 when Portland committed the “biggest blunder” in NBA history by passing up on the unforeseen greatness of The Greatest Ever, I wouldn’t have known three years ago that this Asian Harvard kid would be all he is right now. In fact, even the coaches of Ivy League schools like Cornell and Stanford did not even recruit him when he was a senior in Palo Alto HS.

The Linsanity that’s been going on as we speak is such a beautiful thing because no one saw the collision course that a scrawny, but ultra ready kid from Harvard and a team on the brink of utter disappointment was on.  It was ironically a cliché and a blue moon at the same time; everyone hopes for something Linsane to happen to them but it rarely does.

It would be nice for Linsanity to go on forever; but it won’t. However, to make this cosmic occurrence last, I think we should all temper the Linsanity so we expect real achievable things both from Jeremy Lin and from ourselves.

So for now, the least we could do is to understand Jeremy Lin as a basketball player. Here are a few questions answered by my guests and yours truly to help you understand where Jeremy Lin is right now and where he might bring the Knicks.

1. FACT OR FICTION: Is Jeremy Lin for real?

Joe Silva, Ateneo de Manila Blue Eaglets Head Coach: FACT

Jeremy Lin is for real. He has a good outside shot, decent athletic ability and is a very intelligent player. Not to mention his skills are above par. If he wasn’t skilled he wouldn’t score that much.

Miguel Papa, L.A. Lakers fan and Pateros Baller: FACT

Jeremy Lin is legit because he has uncanny court sense. He knows when to shoot, when to pass, where his teammates can do most damage, and which match ups to exploit. He knows how to read defenses, and is focused on winning the whole game.

Miakka Lim, PBA courtside reporter/FTW host: FACT

Jeremy Lin is for real. Although a lot of people would say that he fell into the perfect opportunity (cause he dint get a spot in Dallas and GSW), I think for him to be able to carry a highly touted NYK in 6 straight games and turn things around like how is doing- thinking that he came from outta nowhere says a lot about the heart and confidence of this guy. Jeremy isn’t even athletic but he is a smart player and he knows what works for him. It’s crazy. I don’t think you’ll find another player in the league that would step up like he did!

Bekshoot: FACT

109 points in his first 4 starts; that’s the most in NBA history (above the likes of Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and Billy Ray Bates). I think his best skill is his decision-making, not necessarily passing or attacking the basket. If you can make Tyson Chandler and Steve Novak look like All-Stars, be the best player on the court while playing against the Lakers, and hit a game-winning 3 then no question, you are for real.

2. Is Linsanity>Ricky Rubio

Silva: IF

If he can sustain what he did the past five games then maybe Linsanity is better than Ricky Rubio! But Ricky Rubio who turned pro at age 16 is a world famous star already. And he has proven to everyone what he can do. So it would be hard to top what he has already done.

Papa: In some ways

Lin is better than Rubio in terms of fundamentals. Both players have a good feel for running a team’s offense, but given each player’s options, Lin is maximizing the production of people around him better. Unlike Rubio, he is focused on make the right play, and finishing a play, rather than getting into the highlight reels.

Lim: Rubio

As much as I would want to say Jeremy Lin, I’d have to go with Ricky Rubio. That guy has been a pro since he was 14. Enough said!

 Bekshoot: Small sample of games

If you only look at his past 5 games then you can say he is better than Ricky Rubio. But that shouldn’t be the case. Ricky Rubio has been the second best player in Minnesota after 27 games and even this sample isn’t enough. Maybe we can pick either of them at the end of the season. But for now, I think Jeremy Lin is a better scorer (has better potential because of the scoring ability) and penetrator while Rubio is a better passer.

3. Jeremy Lin, Melo and Amare will lead the Knicks to a deep postseason run.

Silva: Conference Semis

What the Knicks need is a pass-first point guard someone like a Jason Kidd who doesn’t hog the ball and they found that in Lin. both Melo and Stat have to buy into the system that has been winning games for them. If Melo and Amare get their acts together I can see this team gunning for a conference semifinals berth at least.

Papa: “Deep” is relative

We have yet to see NY’s new big three play together. Amare and Melo will have to learn to be effective without using up possessions, and as a team, NY needs to learn solid, consistent, team D. Going back to the question, the Knicks can make a push for a deep playoff run but tough match ups with the Heat and Bulls in the East can end their interesting season.

Lim: Yes

Yes, and that’s what’s going to make NYK lethal in the playoffs maybe. Just don’t let Melo play with the ball for too long. lol!

Bekshoot: Nope

Looking at the Eastern Conference playoff race, I see the Knicks finishing 6th at best even if Melo and Amare mesh well with Lin. They will draw either Philadelphia, Indiana or Orlando in the first round. Those teams are tough match-ups for them and I see New York losing in 6 or 7 games in the first round. But their best chance is against Orlando considering all the talk of Dwight leaving.

 

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