New York im­proved with­out Lin­san­ity

Lin

Austin American-Statesman - - NBA - Con­tin­ued from c Lin by the num­bers Knicks G MPG PPG APG Jeremy Lin had a tri­umphant run with the Knicks last year be­fore a knee in­jury ended his sea­son. So far, he’s been steady but un­spec­tac­u­lar with the Rock­ets. rock­ets RPG SPG FG%

lars at Lin in July and were maybe just as sur­prised as so many oth­ers when the Knicks let them have him. They could have kept Lin sim­ply by match­ing the Rock­ets’ of­fer, which was widely con­sid­ered to be a fore­gone con­clu­sion, and the big-mar­ket Knicks could have af­forded him.

In­stead, they traded for Fel­ton, and signed Ja­son Kidd and Pablo Pri­gioni, and no­body can ar­gue now. The Knicks are the best in the league in tak­ing care of the ball — a Lin weak­ness even dur­ing his high­est point — and they have the best record in the East­ern Con­fer­ence with Fel­ton and Kidd start­ing to­gether in a two point guard back­court.

“I’m not tak­ing any­thing away from what we had last year, those guys gave us all they had, but to win at a big level in this league you’ve got to have good point guard play. I think Ja­son Kidd and Ray­mond and Pablo have fflled that void that we were some­what miss­ing last year,” Knicks coach Mike Wood­son said.

The Knicks were go­ing nowhere with­out any­one to run former coach Mike D’An­toni’s of­fense and just days from need­ing to cut Lin or guar­an­tee his salary for the re­main­der of the sea­son when D’An­toni turned to him in a Feb. 4 game against the Nets. Lin scored 25 points off the bench, was pro­moted to the start­ing lineup two nights later, and the phe­nom­e­non known as Lin­san­ity was born.

An un­drafted player

14.6

11.0 from Har­vard who had been cut three times al­ready and was so un­cer­tain of his NBA fu­ture that he had slept on team­mate Landry Fields’ couch the night be­fore his break­out be­cause he had re­fused to get his own place with an un­guar­an­teed con­tract, Lin be­came an im­me­di­ate hit with fans around the world. The ffrst Amer­i­can­born player of Chi­nese or Tai­wanese de­scent made a mas­sive im­pact for the Knicks at the box of­fice and mer­chan­dise stands, not to men­tion what he did for them in the stand­ings.

A sea­son’s worth of high­lights were packed into just a few weeks: the dou­ble-dou­ble in a na­tional TV rout of de­fend­ing cham­pion Dal­las; the 38 points to out­duel Kobe Bryant in a vic­tory over the Lak­ers; the 3-pointer in the ff­nal sec­ond to win a game at Toronto. He be­came a me­dia sen­sa­tion, ap­pear­ing on the cover of Sports Il­lus­trated in con­sec­u­tive weeks, and brought the Knicks more pos­i­tive at­ten­tion than

2011-12

2012-13

35

22

26.9

32.4

6.2

6.1

3.1

4.1

1.6

1.8

.446

.397 they had re­ceived in ages.

Lin ended up need­ing knee surgery in March that ended his sea­son af­ter just 25 starts. Wood­son had in­sisted Lin would be back, even af­ter Lin and the Rock­ets had agreed to a con­tract that was worth about $28 mil­lion over four years. The terms were then amended to about $25 mil­lion over three years, the ff­nal year worth nearly $15 mil­lion but would cost the Knicks more than twice that in lux­ury tax pay­ments un­der the new col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment.

So they let him go, and Lin has had some solid mo­ments, but few that in­di­cate he could turn into a $25 mil­lion player. He matched his ca­reer high with 38 points in a loss to San An­to­nio and helped the Rock­ets rout the Knicks in Hous­ton last month, but was av­er­ag­ing about 11 for the sea­son while shoot­ing un­der 40 per­cent from the ffeld. He’s even oc­ca­sion­ally re­placed by Toney Dou­glas, an­other former Knick, in the clos­ing min­utes of close games.

PAT SUL­LI­VAN / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

ALLEN EYESTONE / PALM BEACH POST

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