Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Linsanity: the Hype

      A few weeks after the NFL season ended, it seemed like the sports world was bound to get a break from the media's obsession with an athlete, correct? Wrong.  Ever since Jeremy Lin's insertion into the Knicks line-up in the first half of the February 4th match-up against the New Jersey Nets, the media has fallen in love with the first Asian Basketball player to achieve prominent success in the NBA since the departure of Yao Ming.  Jeremy Lin, in many regards, has become America's sweetheart, as he continues to impress game by game.  Is his performance, however, being over-hyped a bit? I think yes.  Don't get me wrong, Lin is a very good basketball player with lots of skill and potential, however any good basketball player in a Mike D'Antoni system is very likely to appear a bit greater than they actually are.
     No knock against Lin's talent, but D'Antoni has been known to elevate the offensive play of many players.  Take for example two time MVP Steve Nash: in Dallas, Steve served as a Robin to Dirk Nowitzki's Batman.  In Phoenix, however, under D'Antoni's run and gun offense, Steve Nash became known as the best point guard in the league for at least two consecutive seasons.  After D'Antoni's departure, Nash's numbers, although still good, have decreased.  Not to say that Steve Nash isn't a good player without D'Antoni, but he is certainly better with him.  Another beneficiary of Mike D'Antoni's offensive genius is Joe Johnson.  Pre-D'Antoni, Joe Johnson was known as a decent player in the NBA, but never thought of as an All-Star.  Within D'Antoni's system, he was able to elevate his game to a level that warranted a star-player caliber deal from the Atlanta Hawks.  The list goes on and on; my point is that though Lin is a good player, his numbers are only this great because he is playing in a D'Antoni system.
      Another reason why I think Linsanity is a bit over hyped is due to the fact that the Knicks haven't faced that many solid teams during this stretch.  What about Lakers and Dallas? At this stage in the season, neither the Lakers nor the Mavs have established a consistent identity as a formidable team.  Yes, both teams are over .500 and will most likely make the playoffs, however, these teams have been inconsistent all season long and are not nearly the teams the were in the past.  With that being said, although Lin played great against those teams, I'm not all that impressed with it.  Both teams struggle defensively at the point guard position with aging veterans in Derrick Fisher and Jason Kidd.  Most point guards that go against these teams usually have a field day statistically, therefore I'm not overly impressed with Lin's performance against them. It is what was expected if you ask me.  His struggle against the Heat, and a quicker younger Mario Chalmers proved that going against elite talent will present problems for the upcoming phenom.
     To me, the most impressive game in Jeremy's young career is by far the game against the Raptors.  Although not necessarily against a  good team, Lin showed in that game that he possessed something that a lot of great players of this game past and present lack: a clutch gene.  To pull up for a high risk three in a situation where going for a high-percentage two was probably the safest thing to do shows how gutsy the Harvard graduate is.  That, to me, was a sign of fearlessness that the Knicks will definitely need come play off time.  Although those shots will most likely go to Melo with his return, it is nice to know that they can count on somebody else who can deliver in the clutch, and that to me is the most impressive trait of Jeremy Lin.
    With all this being said, I think that Linsanity is slightly over hyped.  Jeremy Lin is a good player but this whole Linsanity craze is not all that it seems to be.  I think Lin will be a solid point guard in this league for a long time, perhaps like a Mark Jackson, but I do not think he'll be able to achieve superstar status like a Derrick Rose or a Gary Payton.  That's not me being a hater, that's just me telling it like I see it.  As long as he continues to improve and work on cutting down his numerous turnovers, New York might have found themselves a point guard for years to come.  Will he become a Hall of Famer or a superstar? Probably not, but don't be surprised if he makes a few All-Star teams due to fan votes.

Photo Credit:

No comments:

Post a Comment