The truth is that the newest member of the New York Knicks, Jeremy Lin, has shown flashes of excellence throughout his college career, the 2010 NBA Summer League, and with his brief stint with Golden State Warriors, but the 23 year old point guard played in just 29 games last season and failed to accumulate 100 total points. That shouldn’t and doesn’t define him as a player; his game is more focused on the pick and roll and quality defense (Lin tallied a steal in all but seven of his games last season.)
Now, ironically enough, Lin might see his first action in a Knicks uniform against a depleted Golden State backcourt, where Stephen Curry may sit out. Granted, its unlikely New York’s first Asian American product since Wat Misaka (in 1947) gets a lot of burn before even completing a couple of practices with the team.
The reason though that Jeremy Lin isn’t likely to be the Knicks point guard in April or May is because of the unexpected depth they already have at the point guard position. Mike Bibby, Iman Shumpert (expected to return in 2-4 weeks), Baron Davis, Toney Douglas, and Carmelo Anthony are all ahead of Lin on the depth chart as point guards. One is a hybrid point-forward and can’t be expected to defend point guards well (Melo), one is really shooting guard being forced to play point guard (Douglas). Three others are “banged up” (Bibby, Shumpert, and Davis).
So that makes the claiming of Lin on the waiver wire a smart move. Will it be a move made for the long term? Probably not. But was it a move the Knicks needed to make in order to put a decent roster in the backcourt? Definitely.
It’s important to keep expectations in check for Lin’s arrival to Knicks nation. He went undrafted. He was not supposed to do anything in the NBA. He just wanted a chance to play for an NBA team. What better way to do it than to play with two, possibly three, All-Stars in Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler.
With that being said, there is a good chance Lin’s skills work well in Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system, where there is a heavy reliance on picking, rolling, running, and gunning.
The addition of Lin maxes out the Knicks roster at 15, but have no fear, the mini mid-level exception the Knicks can still offer is not in jeopardy. The team can always cut him or possibly even send him down to the D-League.